• New Hampshire fire officials warn residents against putting masks in microwaves
  • There is a growing trend of using microwaves to sterilize masks
  • Firefighters say it could burn the masks and start a fire

A microwave is a convenient kitchen device that can accomplish in seconds the tasks that used to take several minutes. Sterilizing face masks, however, is not among those tasks. New Hampshire fire officials have posted a warning against putting in microwaves the face masks used amid the COVID-19 pandemic in an attempt to sterilize them.

coronavirus masks should not be placed inside microwave firefighters warn
coronavirus masks should not be placed inside microwave firefighters warn Klaus Hausmann - Pixabay

A Grim Warning

In a post on their Facebook page, firefighters said that putting masks inside microwaves could set the area ablaze. The post read, “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.” Photos of extremely burnt masks accompanied the post.

According to firefighters, cloth masks can heat up rapidly and catch fire. In the case of disposable masks, they have a nose wire made of metal that can cause a spark and a fire. According to experts, at the very least, it can break your microwave, and at the worst, a fire can break out in the kitchen.

Face Mask Required

Federal and local governments in several states in the U.S., such as New York, are requiring residents to cover their faces with face masks or scarves if they go outside. You can now see residents with face coverings whenever you visit public places in these states. Some businesses are even refusing entrance to those who are not wearing a face mask or cover.

Since surgical masks are in short supply, residents have been encouraged to make their own out of cloth or fabric materials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called for such cloth masks to be “washed routinely” in the washing machine. In the case of the New York State Department of Health, they advised that masks should be frequently changed and laundered if they are already wet or soiled.

Disinfecting Masks

The CDC has said that masks washing these masks with detergent will sterilize them. After washing, you can simply hang it to dry, meaning there is no need to put them inside microwaves. The warning posted by the NH State Fire Marshal’s Office (NHFMO) came about after reports of an emerging trend that involve placing masks inside microwaves for two to three minutes.

The Colorado River Fire Rescue also posted a similar warning telling residents not to put any face mask in the microwave for any amount of time. Tennessee’s Greeneville/Greene County Office of Emergency Management also posted their own warning, urging people not to microwave their homemade masks.