Covid-19 Research

Original Article

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Comparative Evaluation of Microorganism Disinfection Methods for N95 Respirators

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Satoshi Mitarai*, Jun Noda, Satoshi Gondaira, Ikuo Uchida and Rikio Kirisawa

Dates: Received: 2024-01-17 | Accepted: 2024-01-25 | Published: 2024-01-26
Pages: 083-088


Background: An excessive demand for N95 respirators occurred during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Therefore, health care workers were obligated to reuse N95 respirators, which were intended to be disposable.

Aim: The primary objective of this study was to establish a standard procedure for safe disinfection or sterilization that does not affect the performance of an N95 respirator.

Methods: As disinfection or sterilization methods, immersion in 70% ethanol, 0.1% hypochlorous acid, 0.3% peracetic acid, 0.2% alkyldiaminoethylglycine hydrochloride aqueous solution, hypochlorous acid water, or plant mineral-activated water, autoclaving, pasteurization and hydrogen peroxide plasma sterilization were used. After sterilization/disinfection, the filtration capacity of each N95 respirator was examined.
Findings: The performance changes in the N95 respirator caused by each sterilization/disinfection method differed for each manufacturer’s product. Seventy percent ethanol, 0.1% sodium hypochlorite aqueous solution, 0.3% peracetic acid aqueous solution, autoclaving, hypochlorous acid water, and plant mineral-activated water significantly deteriorated the performance of N95 respirators. Performance degradation (increased permeability) was observed in 0.2% alkyldiaminoethylglycine hydrochloride aqueous solution and hydrogen peroxide plasma sterilization, and the permeation performance significantly deteriorated by 50–70% in all N95 respirators tested. Only pasteurization resulted in no deterioration in performance, even after five repeated sterilizations.

Conclusion: Verification of sterilization/disinfection methods for the reuse of N95 respirators has shown that the currently recommended hydrogen peroxide plasma sterilization is inadequate as it increases permeability by more than 50% with a single treatment. In this study, pasteurization was found to be the optimal sterilization method.

FullText HTML FullText PDF DOI: 10.37871/jbres1874

Certificate of Publication


© 2024 Mitarai S, et al. Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0

How to cite this article

Mitarai S, Noda J, Gondaira S, Uchida I, Kirisawa R. Comparative Evaluation of Microorganism Disinfection Methods for N95 Respirators. J Biomed Res Environ Sci. 2024 Jan 26; 5(1): 083-088. doi: 10.37871/jbres1874, Article ID: JBRES1874, Available at:

Subject area(s)


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