Eggs, Styrofoam, your sister’s Barbie doll … some things just don’t belong in the microwave.
Another of those things is face masks, we’ve now learned thanks to the pandemic.
Fire departments in several cities have been alarmed by the latest false information to be spreading online, namely that face masks can be disinfected in the microwave.
As more and more health officials and governments recommend and enforce the wearing of face masks, people have been looking for easier ways to clean them, such as in the microwave.
“This is a major fire hazard,” says one fire department in the US state of Virginia on Twitter. “Please DO NOT place masks in the microwave for any period of time.”
There are reports of masks being sanitized in microwaves, this is a major fire hazard, please DO NOT place masks in the microwave for any period of time. Instead, follow CDC mask cleaning guidance https://t.co/8jKq2rxKS9. Thanks and stay safe. pic.twitter.com/2ps1B98q3y
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) April 20, 2020
Another fire station in Massachusetts posted a photo of a burned-out kitchen, warning people to “a troubling trend in which people are microwaving masks in an effort to kill the germs.”
The problem is that some face masks have a wire running through the seam, allowing the edges to be shaped around the nose and cheeks for a tighter fit.
Rescue services in Germany explain that the metal in the mask will cause sparks in the microwave, which can then set fire to both the mask and the microwave.
The fire brigade in Munich says firefighters have already been called out several times for fires caused by face masks in microwaves.
Health officials advise regularly cleaning fabric face masks by ironing them or washing them at 60 degrees with a heavy-duty detergent, by hand or in the washing machine.
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