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Fire Departments Are Urging People to Stop Microwaving Their Face Masks

There is one right way to sterilize your face mask, and it includes soap and water—not the microwave.

People are zapping their face masks in microwaves in an attempt to kill germs. As a result, fire departments across America are issuing warnings about why you shouldn’t do this, NY Daily News originally reported.

“The NH State Fire Marshal’s Office (NHFMO) would like to remind everyone that microwaving their masks to kill germs is a fire hazard and an extremely bad idea. Cloth masks can overheat quickly and catch fire. Disposable masks also have a metal nose wire and can cause sparks, a fire, and/or break your microwave,” warned the New Hampshire Fire Marshal’s office.

In the comments, several people explained that a post circulating on Facebook encouraged people to clean their masks in the microwave.

“The reason people are doing this is because it was posted all over Facebook to sterilize your masks stick them in a Ziploc bag in your microwave for one minute. Apparently there is also no common sense,” one person wrote.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends that everyone wear a cloth covering outside the home to avoid spreading COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. These face masks should also be washed regularly.

“They [masks] should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use. A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering,” the agency writes.

And remember: hand hygiene is key. Always wash your hands before touching your face, or removing your mask, to avoid getting sick.

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