Storage of N95 masks

by Kiwi82 Kiwi82, BSN, RN Member

Has 17 years experience.

Hello fellow nurses,

What are you using to store your N95 mask for reuse? The hospital where I work gave us paper bags. There are a few videos on FB and Youtube circulating around with someone demonstrating the usage of a plastic container. I feel like this isn’t the best option as this creates humidity which will not allow the mask to dry. I’ve heard from some coworkers that they will use a glass one or I have also heard about poking holes in the top. None of these options seem safe to me but I’d like to hear your opinion on it.

Another question.. if your hospital is sanitizing masks, what is the process? What is used? How are they collecting/returning them?

Thank you and sending good vibes to all of you out there. These sure are trying times. I hope this *** ends soon.



Specializes in Critical Care, ICU, Rehab. Has 6 years experience. 40 Posts

Plastic container method, just to make it easier to put on and take off while keeping it... I dunno "in place" and not just flipping around a bag. No lid, place container in paper bag. I suppose it's just an illusion if trying to preserve the "clean" side from contamination



2,453 Posts

There are obviously multiple issues with this, but it is our reality.

I think the biggest challenge is not storage, but how to don a contaminated mask. There is no right way, but I do wonder if there is a consensus as to least risky.

And- for the hospitals that don't cover sick nurses unless there is known unprotected exposure- pretty sure that contaminated mask would be known unprotected exposure.


Kiwi82, BSN, RN

Has 17 years experience. 133 Posts

Right, that’s where I need some insight. This is a crappy situation all around. Just wondering what others are doing, trying to make the best out of this nightmare! Throwing the mask in a paper bag just seems like you’re going to contaminate the inside either way... just wondering if there is some way that we could do it to minimize the risk somehow ?‍♀️
we are putting a surgical mask on outside of N95 to “protect” it and that surgical mask is one time use.

Hope you’re doing well!

Edited by Kiwi82



2,453 Posts

My best idea:

Glove up or clean hands.

Assume the straps and outside of he mask are liberally coated with covid.

All focus on donning is around not touching the inside of the mask after touching the outside or the straps.

Doff or clean hands.

If anybody knows of a great technique, or a video on this, please share.


cecile9155, BSN, RN

Specializes in Skilled Rehab Nurse. Has 6 years experience. 89 Posts

Nothing because I have yet to be provided one.