Virus Outbreak: Rice cookers effective mask sterilizers, study says

Taipei Times
Date: Feb 15, 2020
By: Su Meng-chuan and Wu Hsin-tien  /  Staff reporters

Using a rice cooker to “dry steam” surgical masks for three minutes can have a sterilizing effect, an

Masks are pictured before being steamed in a rice cooker in Taichung on Monday.
Photo: Su Meng-chuan, Taipei Times

experiment by Chung Shan Medical University Department of Occupational Safety and Health associate professor Lai Chane-yu (賴全裕) and his team showed.

However, after dry steaming, the mask would have a lower filter efficiency compared with new masks, Lai said on Monday, adding that the method should only be considered if there is an insufficient supply of masks or they need to be reused in an emergency.

The team conducted several tests for cleaning N95 respirators, and found that a 70 percent alcohol solution, bleach, high-pressure sterilization and rice cooker were all effective sterilization methods, Lai said.

Dry steaming masks for three minutes using a rice cooker can kill up to 99.7 percent of germs, he said, adding that this method lowered the mask’s filter quality by the least — about 10 percent.

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