How well does your N95 mask fit?

February 8, 2022 | Deirdre Lockwood

Expert tips for getting a good fit from your mask, and when you should replace it

Learn how to put on your N95 or KN95 mask and get a good fit in this video with DEOHS Assistant Professor Marissa Baker.

Tips for wearing an N95 or KN95 mask:

  • Improve the fit by pinching the metal nose clip around the bridge of the nose.
  • N95s have straps that go around the back of your head. For optimum fit, one should be above your ears and the other below your ears (around your neck).
  • If you have facial hair, you will get a better fit if you are clean shaven.
  • Do not attempt to clean or disinfect an N95 or KN95. If you have, it is no longer effective and should be thrown out.
  • There is not a shortage of N95 and KN95s.
  • Find well vetted N95 and KN95 masks at Project N95.

Can you reuse nonsurgical N95, KN95 and KF94 masks?

Yes! Tips from DEOHS Assistant Professor Marissa Baker:

These masks can be reworn until the mask is dirty, torn or wet through the mask, or the straps are stretched out or damaged.

They will last longer if you rotate your masks by resting them for at least a day between uses. Some experts suggest resting them in a paper bag for several days to inactivate any virus, but Baker says this isn't necessary.

“Even during a surge, most people’s exposure to virus in the community and in most [non-healthcare] workplaces is pretty low,” Baker notes. “So honestly, the respirator will likely physically be damaged before it needs to be replaced from an exposure standpoint.”

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