N95 masks have never been more important and in shorter supply. Reusing this vital piece of PPE requires a fast and effective means to decontaminate masks. UniMac announced that specific models of its hugely popular 75-pound capacity tumble dryer can, with the correct programs, be used for viral decontamination of N95 masks and quadruple their useful life.
Over the last several months, researchers at Stanford University, working in conjunction with the N95DECON organization, proved out the findings. This method of decontamination builds off evidence provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which showed that submitting N95 masks to dry heating cycles (70C/158F), similar to those demonstrated by Alliance’s dryer, reduces the SARS-COV-2 viral load by three orders of magnitude. With the proper programming and just minimal additional supplies, N95 masks can be decontaminated three times without harming the fit and filtration of the PPE. Alliance Laundry Systems engineers and lab technicians logged hundreds of hours testing possible solutions, before arriving at the current solution. Fit and filtration testing was completed independently at the NIOSH labs. The research findings are detailed in a final paper currently in peer review. Lab results and test data have now been submitted to the FDA for emergency use authorization (EUA).
Because of the tumble dryer’s unique heater box design and air flow pattern, it can reach and hold the correct viral decontamination temperature. Consistency of temperature is the key to decontamination. Therefore, the UniMac model is uniquely positioned for viral decontamination – temperature must be maintained and constant no matter where the mask is located in the box that is secured in the cylinder. The process can return masks to service in under two hours.
With more than 100,000 of these UniMac units installed and more being built each day, the heat decontamination process is readily accessible to almost all communities across the United States.
To learn additional details about the process, tumbler models included, and videos showing the process, visit our N95 decontamination page.