Fire Departments across the country are reporting that there has been an increase in fires reported in microwave ovens due to face masks being placed in them for sterilization purposes. This is not a recommended practice by microwave manufacturers. The metal in the nose forming area of the mask can heat up and cause a fire. Depending on the manufacturer of the mask there may be more metal located in the mask that can increase the potential for fire. The Centers For Disease Control has an informational brochure available by CLICKING HERE
Recently, there have been many social media posts recommending to place the mask in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. Metal in the microwave rapidly heats up and the fabric surrounding the metal can easily ignite and spread beyond the microwave. DO NOT place any face masks in the microwave for any amount of time. There is no evidence that this will properly sanitize the mask. "According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a hot spin in the washing machine is the best way to clean and sanitize cloth face masks. Officials also recommend washing with a high-grade detergent and a small amount of bleach to disinfect the masks of any germs." Serious burns have been reported because masks were donned as soon as they were removed from the microwave. The metal in the mask can stay hot for a period of time and can be harmful to the wearer.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact The Guilford Office of The Fire Marshal.