Steamed Up: Reusing masks is possible

Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), Taiwan’s Health minister and head of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) demonstrated on Sunday how to remove 95% of bacteria from a mask using a rice cooker.  He also demonstrated that he has never cooked rice in his own household.  (That’s forgivable.  The man was awake for two days straight back in February, organizing the response to the outbreak.)

For US hospitals short on supplies due to the Trump regime’s corruption, the ability to reuse masks could be invaluable.

Taiwan CECC head shows how to disinfect mask with rice cooker

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head on Sunday (April 5) demonstrated how to disinfect a used mask with a rice cooker.

As surgical face masks are still in short supply despite a massive ramp-up in production, Health minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) during a press conference on Sunday, demonstrated how to use a rice cooker to disinfect a mask for reuse. During a light-hearted presentation, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director-General Wu Shou-mei (吳秀梅) talked Chen through the simple steps of using a rice cooker to dry heat a mask to kill bacteria and viruses after use.

[. . .]

Wu states that a surgical face mask could be disinfected with the rice cooker method she demonstrated “four or five times.” According to Wu, research on the procedure carried out by the FDA has found that the bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) of the masks can be maintained at a level of 99 percent when dry heating the masks in this way, even after five times.

(Normally I avoid linking to “Taiwan News” because it’s credibility is somewhere between an anonymous blog and the Daily Fail UK. But in the absence of a better source, and because it was a government-run public event, I am here.)

Taiwan recently made masks compulsory on all public transit (subway, buses, taxis) with fines for those who refuse or neglect to wear one.  Many businesses are now requiring them or they will refuse entry.

On the bright side, the number of active cases in Taiwan declined today (fewer sick people added than people deemed recovered).  That does not mean it has peaked, however, after many people ignored safety protocols during the long weekend and visited tourist spots.  There could be another rise in cases.


  1. jrkrideau says

    Oh no, first it was toilet paper and now it will be rice cookers!

    Taiwan has been doing amazingly well.