When Do We Change Masks? – Part 2, by ShepherdFarmerGeek

(Continued from Part 1.)


Another option would be to expose your contaminated masks to sunlight. The UV component in sunlight will kill viruses. And if you position the mask just right, as the sun moves across the sky it will irradiate the entire face of the mask without any part being shaded and untreated. (You could even hang your masks from a clothesline if you clip the clothespin to one of the tabs where the strap attaches to the mask proper.)

Unfortunately, for the Shepherdess and I and many other preppers, the weather here in Spokane does not cooperate with this strategy for much of the fall/winter season. It will be too cold, too cloudy, too windy or rainy or snowy to make sunlight sanitation work. And I don’t trust the moose either. But if you’ve got sunlight – put it to work!

Just don’t put the mask on the dash of your car – the lamination of the windshield will block most of the UV light. And if your side windows are tinted that too will block UV. You could make a little aluminum-foil-covered cardboard frame to hold the mask, and cover it with Glad or Saran wrap to keep the dust and bugs and bird poop out of it. Just make sure the frame doesn’t shade your mask!


Here’s what we know:

1. We’ve known for decades that ultraviolet light works, especially the higher frequency end of the band, UV-C. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultraviolet_germicidal_irradiation Even at low power output, UV-C light tears the living daylights out of bacteria and protozoa and viruses (and you, and your eyes if you’re not careful, and pretty much anything living). https://www.americanultraviolet.com/uv-germicidal-solutions/faq-germicidal.cfml#germicidalLamps

2. “…for influenza virus, dozens of UVGI [UltraViolet Germicidal Irradiation] disinfection cycles could be performed on respirators without the UVGI affecting their performance.” The filter fabric begins to weaken against tearing (and weakens more the higher the UV-C exposure) but it doesn’t affect the filtering efficiency (until the fabric gets too weak and tears) and it doesn’t affect the head straps as much. Simply testing the fabric and straps prior to wearing the mask should be adequate. This seems to be the only downside. (1)

3. See: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4699414/ We know that a workable sanitizer can’t be too powerful or the mask just comes apart on the first sanitation cycle. So it has to be a relatively low power for the mask to survive 50 cycles [in the proposal at the link]. And at that low power, the cycle takes less than 60 seconds. This is really our only clue as to how long the sanitizer needs to run. Several of the devices I reviewed had a minimum run time of 5 minutes (300 seconds) and I’m satisfied that that will be an adequate time. Run it longer if you like! (2)

So, sounds great, right? What we need then is a (a) reflective box with a (b) UV-C bulb (or a bulb that produces the whole UV range –A, -B, and –C) and a (c) wire rack to hold our contaminated filter masks up so the light can bounce around and even get under to dose the inside surface of the mask as well as the outside.

In a perfect world it would be wonderful if there was a timer on the UV bulb so we didn’t have to rush back to turn it off. And it would be awesome if the whole thing required so little power that we could run it from a battery pack, our little solar panel, the truck’s power port (cigarette lighter), from out trailer’s batteries or the USB port on our laptop or PC. THAT would be awesome.

And yes, such devices exists (and I have no connection with any companies whatsoever!). I bought one from Amazon in early March and when I last checked they were sold out. A familiar story with pandemic supplies. Here’s the link.

I would expect that this product will come back on the market as soon as they can make more of them, so keep checking back if this is something you really want.

So is that the end of the story? Heck no! WalMart sells a nearly identical unit for half of what I paid on Amazon.

It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that the Amazon model has, but it has what you need: a reflective box with a UV-C light, a nice little grille in the bottom and it runs on USB power. If you don’t buy one of these before even WalMart runs out then you at least already know the components you need, right? Where can you find those UV lamps? Pet supply stores! Aquarium supply stores! And a lot of the fabric insulated “lunch boxes” are already lined with reflective aluminum. Make. Your. Own. Just remember this WARNING: Never look at an operating UV-C lamp.

And there are at least a dozen other products on Amazon that could be used to sanitize a filter mask – I checked! Just measure your masks and make sure the device has enough room to fit a mask without scrunching it up. Most of these devices are used for barbers or manicurists, but many are used to sanitize children’s toys or baby bottles or towels. They’re not perfect, but they’ll work!


So, with a UV-C filter mask sanitizer of some sort in hand you should be able to re-use your filter masks many times. How often? I have no idea, sorry! We’re expecting to reuse them maybe 5 to 8 times, especially as we utilize the “Extend Your Supply” strategies. If we had 10 to start with, now we’re looking at 80 wears! Treat your masks carefully and you shouldn’t have any issue with mask supplies. Inspect each mask (and your goggles) carefully each time before you wear them to make sure that the headbands will hold and the filter fabric is intact!

So now our “Assisted Re-entry” strategy looks like this (you decide for yourself how far you want to take this stuff!):
1. Wear a mask and goggles at the store (or to visit your Mom in the Care Center). And we’re wearing lightweight windbreakers over our clothes, with the windbreaker hood UP.
2. When you get back to the car, open the driver and rear car doors and take off the windbreaker, fold it up and put it in an open cardboard box in the back seat.
3. Take off the mask and put it in the box. And finally take off your goggles and drop them in. (We’re using a bigger box because there will be times that both of us will be out and about and we want the box to hold all of our items.)
4. Get a sanitizing wipe out of the dispenser/package and meticulously wipe down your hands. “Wet Ones” with benzethonium chloride have been our go-to wipes, but they’re pretty much off the market for now.
5. Now put the lid on the box. Only the inside of the box has potentially be exposed to the viruses.
6. Use the wipe to wipe down the wipes dispenser package. (Hey, you touched it when your hands were contaminated!)
7. Use the wipe to wipe off both car door handles. Be meticulous! Put the wipe in the trash. All the viruses on it should be inactivated at this point.
8. Take your car key(s) and wipe them down as well. Maybe you need a fresh sanitizing wipe by this point? To make this quicker and more efficient our car keys have been isolated from the rest of our keys so we only have to handle and sanitize the car keys.
9. Finally! Take a non-alcohol / non-sanitizing facial wipe. (We’ve chosen these so that its not irritating to the Shepherdess’ facial skin.) Do a preliminary wipe of your face, wiping away from your mouth, nose and eyes whatever wasn’t covered by your protective gear. Second wipe, in the trash. And keep your hands away from your face for the trip home!
We’re not sanitizing our face at this step. We’re physically wiping/scraping away any virus-containing particles that could blow off our face and into our eyes, mouth or nose on the trip home. (Or be accidentally rubbed into our eyes by our hands!)
10. Drive home.
11. Before unloading anything from the car, get decontaminated by your spouse. This is the “assisted” part of this strategy. Grab the box from the back seat.
12. Just inside the door to your house, your spouse holds out the UV sanitizer box and you plop your mask inside. The box gets plugged in and starts doing its thing for 30 minutes. (30 minutes might be overkill, we don’t really know yet!)
13. You sit on a chair and take your shoes off. Your spouse lightly sprays their underside with Lysol or diluted bleach and sets them in a boot tray at the door for the next day.
14. Your spouse takes the folded windbreaker and carefully sets it in some designated place out of the way. (Viruses don’t remain viable as long on fabric surfaces, but we don’t know exactly how long with the COVID-19 virus, yet. Could be as little as 12 hours.) Or your spouse can walk it into the laundry room and into the open washing machine to wash. A Tychem suit is p-r-o-b-a-b-l-y overkill…
15. Pants off and your spouse folds and also sets them aside for a day or two, or sets them aside to carefully hang up outdoors in the lovely, sunny weather (if you live in Yuma), or wash them. After a day or two (?) of just sitting your pants should, theoretically, be safe to wear again.
16. Spouse washes his/her hands in hot soapy water.
17. You walk to the sink and take your goggles out of the box. You wash your goggles off with hot soapy water and set them (why are goggles plural?) out to dry. If you like, after the mask is done in the UV box drop the goggles in for their own turn.
18. Wet a fresh facecloth and get it a little soapy with your favorite facial soap (too soapy makes it hard to wash the soap off your face!). Wash your face, initially wiping away from your mouth, nose and eyes. Be generous with the water and wiping. Rinse off the facecloth and wash the soap off your face. Toss the facecloth into the washing machine for later washing.
19. Wash your hands and forearms for at least 20 – 30 seconds and dry on a towel.
20. Go get dressed! If modesty is an issue, keep a nice bathrobe in your decontamination area to wrap up in.
That’s it! I realize that’s an insane number of steps. But if you do it by the numbers (and make up your own order and steps) eventually it won’t take any time at all. Think it through. What could be contaminated?

(To be concluded tomorrow, in Part 3.)


  1. I must say this is the first UV light system that makes sense to me that should work. The reflective aluminum is perfect for reaching all surfaces. One of the reasons there is so much eye burn in the OR has been the reflection of the light off of the stainless steel instruments. Now we have a safety google that prevents that. Living in the south does give the advantage of using sunlight. When I was a young girl, I remember my mother would drag our mattresses and pillows out every spring in the sun as part of spring cleaning. I am sure that practice came from grandparents that faced TB,Typhoid etc. epidemics. I two am using a similar cardboard box method and have one inside my door to drop small items in until I can wipe them down. One of my frustrations has been establishing routines that work. I think once everyone finds out what works for them this will get easier. For instance, getting into the car without anyplace to dispose of those gloves makes you come up with a solution next time. Thanks so much for a great article. Yesterday as I was reading Part 1 I was thinking what a gifted writer you are. I look forward to reading Part 3.

      1. People in a boat or canoe can get sunburned on the bottom of their legs from reflected sunlight. Both aluminum and iron (steel of any kind) reflect UV radiation quite well. A friend of mine got a “sunburn” from arc welding once. Ditto for myself.

  2. Looked into UV, and even at the higher end of the spectrum, or 100nm wave lengths, it is unable to penetrate the thickness of an eye lid, and therefore, unable to penetrate deep enough into the mask’s filter substrate where the virus might remain. Unless any method is well tested, it is a risk not worth entertaining, unless there is no other option. Chemical means are well tested and documented. And tests of viability on various surfaces are documented for various well studied viruses, including Covid-19’s closest kin, SARS-Cov-1 and SARS-Cov- 2. For the sake of safety, 9 days at room temperature or higher, is my standard. There is documentation I’ve lost track of, that finds the virus remains viable for 9 days, and longer, when temperatures approach 40F. Better too much, than not enough. Viability at temperatures of 86F and up, is reduced to less than 9 days.

    Even though I appreciate innovation, if the method is not tested, do not try this at home. A chemical means can saturate thoroughly. Although UV-C, or ultraviolet in general, is well known to kill viruses on surfaces, it cannot penetrate deep into a substrate, or material the thickness of any eyelid. Unless a study is found that specifically shows testing of this method of sterilization of N95 masks, please to do not use this method. Better safe than sorry. I would dig up the documents that support my opinion, yet they have been shared here multiple times in the recent past, and I now must use my time more wisely. It pays to pay attention best as one can, and read the blog daily, as there has been extensive, and early, and important investigation shared.

    1. Florida here so hot and sunny. Wore a mask out once. Put it in a ziplock bag. Labeled it Clean on (9 days from last use). Also have put it out in the sun and heat for a few days. Figure with the 9 day wait and also a few full days of heat and Florida sun that would just help the cause even more.

      Going out tomorrow with a clean mask and will start that process again. Have two “used” masks and keep the rest new for long term / others.

  3. I’m wondering if putting the mask in a zip lock then out in the sun for a day would work? Or even in the reflector from my solar oven? Keeps rain and dust off. Allows UV to it. It does raise the temp. I wonder if that would be too high?

  4. ShepherdFarmerGeek: I’m a retired nurse and that was pretty thorough! People like you are how we will get through this. Thanks for all the work you put into your article.

  5. Tunnel Rabbit and ShepherdFarmerGeek, I read through your assisted re-entry again a second time. Then We used your article for our morning family meeting after an opening prayer.

    Here are our thoughts for your critique.

    1. If a person must indeed go into civilization now, then your procedure is the way to go.

    2. That being, the risk of failure is truly unknown. The nanosize of these virus particles are everywhere. Today’s research is claiming cardboard holds the virus for a period of time, last week it was sneezing and the week before it was elderly only and the week before it was the UK herd immunity which was scuttled after they ran the Italy casualty models.

    3. Hence, my oldest son’s view was as follows, he is 26. “Every day the info and facts change. We are better not “sheltering in place” but literally 100% isolation for 20 days to give us peace of mind on the other side that at present we are all healthy and allow for science to articulate what “Novel” means in this situation” if that can be done in the short term. At a minimum we will know more than we know now.

    4. We went back to JWR article from July 2009 which was excellent. We do not believe that all of us have the skills or dexterity to follow the SFG/shepherdfarmergeek protocol. Therefore that’s the route we intend to take effective immediately, full isolation. Prior to this, we had a designated person wearing gear go out every few days. No more.

    5. We agreed to use our chalkboard to write items we are missing and to use painters tape in items we did, in fact, use.

    Thank you, all thoughts are welcome.

    1. Squirrel 44, Good job and good analysis. Yes, I’ve even botched my own procedure once – it’s not easy to do and takes time. That’s one of the reasons why I wrote it to be a two-person routine. And that was one of the reasons for the relative success of the African Ebola outbreak treatment a few years back – the nurses (my daughter was one of them, for a year) had another person to help them meticulously don and doff. Every time.

      You’re quite correct that this is a moving target and it’s been hard to know who even to believe. There’s a lot of good science being done on this, and a year from now we’ll know more about this virus than any other pathogen in human history. Unfortunately that’s not going to help us now… 🙁

      All we can do is make our own best decision based on the available evidence, and trust God’s Providential plan for our lives.

      1. The 2 person route is the way to go. The way I was taught to don and doff PPE is to have 1 person read the steps aloud and watch as the other person follows instructions. This is to insure that no steps are missed and that they are done correctly and in order. Your list is very comprehensive and extremely well thought out. Having 1 person read and watch while the other don/doffs decreases your chance of making a mistake.

  6. Looked into UV, and even at the higher end of the spectrum, or 100nm wave lengths, it is unable to penetrate the thickness of an eye lid, and therefore, unable to penetrate deep enough into the mask’s filter substrate where the virus might remain. Unless any method is well tested, it is a risk not worth entertaining, unless there is no other option. Chemical means are well tested and documented. And tests of viability on various surfaces are documented for various well studied viruses, including Covid-19’s closest kin, SARS-Cov-1 and SARS-Cov- 2. For the sake of safety, 9 days at room temperature or higher, is my standard. There is documentation I’ve lost track of, that finds the virus remains viable for 9 days, and longer, when temperatures approach 40F. Better too much, than not enough. Viability at temperatures of 86F and up, is reduced to less than 9 days.

    Even though I appreciate innovation, if the method is not tested, do not try this at home. A chemical means can saturate thoroughly. Although UV-C, or ultraviolet in general, is well known to kill viruses on surfaces, it cannot penetrate deep into a substrate, or material the thickness of any eyelid. Unless a study is found that specifically shows testing of this method of sterilization of N95 masks, please to do not use this method. Better safe than sorry. I would dig up the documents that support my opinion, yet they have been shared here multiple times in the recent past, and I now must use my time more wisely. It pays to pay attention best as one can, and read the blog daily, as there has been extensive, and early, and important investigation shared.

    1. Tunnel Rabbit, this is not “innovation,” brother. This is a method that has been in use for some time and has been thoroughly tested as noted in the links. The majority of the virus-laden particles are embedded in the filter mask fabric at the front surface or not very deep. Allowing UVC light to penetrate from BOTH sides will reach deeply into the mask.

      There is a BIG difference between penetrating a fibrous filter mask and penetrating living tissue containing water and other solids such as an eyelid. An eyelid is roughly 1mm thick. How thick is a filter mask? And allowing UVC to penetrate BOTH sides?

      Think about it: even if a virus-laden saliva droplet is embedded in the very middle of the mask and, somehow, escapes being inactivated by the UVC exposure, it’s still stuck in the INSIDE of the mask. This makes handling the mask safer, much safer. And that’s what this whole UVC sanitizing strategy is all about: being able to safely handle a mask that’s been exposed to COVID-19 and re-use it.

      Is it safe “enough”? That will be everyone’s decision to make.

      Hold a flashlight up to a mask. Does light penetrate it? Why is that? In a porous/fibrous mask there are pathways that the light can be reflected along. It’s not so much penetrating a solid object (like an eyelid), it’s penetrating something more like a mesh. Penetrating.

      You’re welcome to your own opinion of course, and we all have to make our own choices. If you’re requiring testing specifically on COVID-19 viruses versus UVC light then that testing might be a while in coming. But there is plenty of evidence that UVC kills viruses (and other pathogens) of all kinds.

      Waiting out the virus is clearly an option, as I mentioned. Treating it with heat is also an option, but runs the risk of damaging/warping the exhalation valve flap unless preppers can MONITOR the actual temperature, keep it heated for an extended period of time, and test the flap afterwards.

      Dousing the mask with liquids runs a risk of clumping up the fibers and reducing the filtering efficiency. We know – from laboratory experiments – that UVC does NOT affect the filtering effectiveness. It’s there in the links above. So, pay your money, take your choice.

      1. If the testing you are referring to includes SAR-coV-1 or 2, then I might accept the results. Virus size is very important. However I would not risk having a ‘live’ virus embedded in the mask. High tech in not always the best tech. People need stupid simple, especially when performing a routine, yet critical task under pressure, or when just plain tired. Mistakes are easily made, and if your security team is sick, when it needs to be 100 percent, that is no good. Practical is king.

        Already discussed, were the pros and cons of the chemical method of sterilizing the mask. It is effective, fast, and poses the least risk, and requires no electricity, and only common materials. It would be SOP for my folks. Fitment issues pose more of risk than does the less effective filtering, and the 20 minute time limit a new N95 mask is effective for. A new N95 mask will not filter airborne Covid-19 anyways, but only that from spittle, and borne on water droplets that are usually larger than 5 microns. I’ve written about this in the comments in Part 1, and elsewhere. I am afraid that these points are lost on most persons, and they will opt for the easy high tech route. it is a complex issue, and that most sadly do not have time for. They will ignore the fitment and time limit issues, and have a false sense of security anyways.

        Consider every aspect possible, and see how it works, or does not work together, and not simply one part of the picture. UV-C is not for me! There are several points where that method poses risks. If they missed the discussion in Part 1 or elsewhere, they will probably missed again. If they would have prepped properly they would have plenty of masks, or they could self isolate.

        The hospitals have let their staff down by not having emergency stock piles of PPE like hardcore preppers do, as the insurance companies worry about profit, promotion, and a paycheck rather than lives. If I were a nurse or doctor, I would not tolerate those working conditions. Let the administrators do your job for a day.

        1. Tunnel Rabbit,

          Dude, let it go. I put my used N-95 mask on the grille above the bottom of the UV-C sterilizing tote, facing the bulb in the lid. I close the lid, push the button to run it for 15 minutes and it does the job. Voila! – irradiates both sides of the mask. It DOESN’T get simpler than that.

          I respect your personal risk tolerance. Everyone will be different about how much risk they feel comfortable with. But distinguish between your personal feelings and the actual science of the thing, please!

          No one is saying that an N-95 mask is perfect. If it was it would be an N-100 mask (PAPRs come close!). That’s why we need Defense in Depth (my comments below). If nothing else people should just totally isolate themselves and be done with it. But not all of us have that luxury.

          Still waiting to see if there’s medical research specifically about dousing filter masks with alcohol or bleach…

          1. I did, yet now I have to make a last statement that specifically addresses, or may resolve the concern others may have. My analysis is of a technical/practical nature, and attempts to consider all aspects conceivable, as oppose to a single factor. Also, it can be easily deduced that a 21% bleach, or a 70% alcohol solution will kill the virus embedded in an N95 mask after 30 seconds of contact, given the documented test results already shared many times.

          2. ShepherdFarmerGeek, thank you for this series.

            Regarding research on alcohol or bleach, I have read that the bleach smell is difficult to remove from masks even after rinsing and drying. But alcohol, including isopropyl, should never be used to clean/decontaminate N95, N99, P100, etc respirators for reuse, the alcohol removes the electrostatic charge between the filter layers significantly reducing filter efficiency. It’s not only the mesh size of the filter material but also the electrostatic charge between the filter material layers that traps particles. If the electrostatic charge is removed filter efficiency drops significantly. See here for example, where isopropyl was used to eliminate the charge. https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/99824O/spurious-research-on-electrostatic-filter-performance-2001.pdf

            Also here: https://spectrum.library.concordia.ca/977685/1/Mahdavi_MASc_F2013.pdf Quoting, “Presence of the electrostatic attraction mechanism in NIOSH-approved filters has been investigated by Martin and Moyer (2000). They measured the efficiency of three models of N95 and one model of each N99, R99 and P100 filters, under two conditions: as received (without treatment) and dipped in the iso-propanol (IPA) (for charge removal purposes). The maximum penetrations at MPPS were less than 5% for N99 and N95, 0.03 % for R99 and 0.001 for P100 filters when the filters were not treated. However, for the case when the filters were dipped into the IPA, the maximum penetration changed to 33-55, 50 and 4%, respectively (Martin and Moyer, 2000).”

            The same effect where alcohol removes the electrostatic charge significantly reducing filter efficiency is mentioned in these papers/studies as well:

            Stay safe everyone.

        2. I’m a physical scientist with experience in filter media (specifically airborne particulates, usually mineral dust 0.1 um to larger, and masks). The UV-C AND chemical disinfectants approaches both have their pros and cons. Nothing is perfect or guaranteed in life nor in cleaning disposable masks; it’s all about improving one’s survival statistics by layering up whatever you have the resources to do. That said, a properly arranged UV-C light box with good open spacing and under-item light access is excellent at killing virus and penetrating around all sides of the masks. Chemical cleaning is also effective (with bleach and the other CDC/EPA recommended cleaners) but may clump fibers, essentially opening bigger gaps between them which are more likely to allow passage of small droplets. Furthermore, some separate layers may stick together if “wetted”, also reducing the filtering labyrinth. I myself purchased a strong UV-C light months ago in case I needed to sterilize a contaminated bathroom or other full sized area but will now fabricate a box and line it with aluminum foil and a timer. I’ll use all these ideas as time, materials and demand require. These various efforts all help, and survival is a mixture of many factors we both can , and can not control. Do your best, stay calm, and care for each other! We’ll get through this.

  7. Part 2

    I may reduce the amount of time I would use to let the virus degrade from previous 9 days, to 3 days after I read this article posted by K.B., M.D. Read and decide for yourself:


    Again,as discussed in Part 1 posted 2 hours ago, and is still waiting for moderation, until we see testing, as found in this link, I would not use UV to sterilize an N95 mask. UV-C is not proven to penetrate deep enough into the filter material of an N95 mask. However, search the web as see what can be found. The idea is certainly appealing, yet risky IMHO.

    1. Tunnel Rabbit, I’m very sorry, brother, but I just don’t see any specific references to COVID-19’s viability on filter mask media in your article. (Of course I’ve been up since 0400 so maybe I’m not quite awake yet…) It’s conclusions boiled down to “the virus can remain viable in aerosols for multiple hours and on surfaces up to days.”

      Could you please give us the text from the article that specifies COVID will become inactive within 3 days on a filter mask? Thank you!

      1. Hi ShepherdFarmerGeek,

        There is none. I would letting others decide for themselves, whether or not, if 3 days is an adequate period of time to let the virus degrade naturally on any surface. And if not, then I would store the mask for 9 days at room temperature, that I believe is enough time to allow the virus to degrade, or become deactivated, and harmless naturally, thereby preserving the original filtering capability of the N95 mask. This method preserves the mask, yet if taken inside where it is warm, even if in a plastic bag, there is the risk of accidentally contaminating the home. This is why I would prefer using chemicals, alcohol or bleach, to quickly decontaminate outside the home, before bring it indoors.

        If I have time latter, I may find the original source that indicates 9 days.

        1. I don’t believe anyone is debating the 9 days time. I reference it myself. It’s the maximum observed time for coronavirus viability on hard surfaces. Fibrous/porous surfaces are less, just how much less we do not know for sure, for COVID-19.

          You could help the debate by finding medical research showing filter masks do NOT degrade when soaked in alcohol or bleach. I couldn’t find anything.

          1. It is good to assume that the ability of the mask is degraded if wet. When moisture from breath builds up in the mask after 20 minutes or so, the same might occur (clumping, or matting), and that is why the mask is intended to be used only once. It may not be recycled, or reused, and be as effective as a new mask, making the point of all this discussion moot. So why not use the chemical method? It is likely degraded anyway, or will become increasingly degraded after several cycles. You’d have to go back and read my stuff elsewhere to see the rest of the debate, as my time for this is up.

        1. Yes, it is less than.3 microns. The mask is said to be good for particles that are .3 microns and larger. This is why we have a false sense of security when using these masks, and why disinfecting with bleach or alcohol is really does little to degrade the mask, that could also be damage by matting after the first 20 minutes of use.

  8. Humm, I have two of those giant foil lined food delivery bags (I use one to bring mom and dads meals to them) kinda like what an Uber eats person would use. I’m gonna try this!!
    Thanks for a great article!

    Rock on

    1. Lily, Please CONTINUE to track this information for the prepping community. It probably seems like such a little issue to some people, but to others like me it’s pretty darn alarming. There IS more going on with this pandemic than meets the eye…

      It appears that we’ve underestimated the degree to which the Deep State has infiltrated US health policy and refocused it on Globalism, turning even health policy into a tool for the New World Order.

      What could be accomplished during a nationwide pandemic that the DS can’t ordinarily do? Move things that normally would draw a lot of attention? Collect people they want out of circulation “for their own protection” because they’re “infected”? Fund some last Wish List items that wouldn’t survive scrutiny otherwise?

      Stampede the population into accepting measures we would never stand for otherwise? Crash our economy and tank the country enough to take us off the world scene as a Superpower and set the stage for a Globalist, one-world government (what could go wrong THERE)?

      We need to be asking these questions.

      And, yes, conspiracy theories drive me crazy. But conspiracies do actually happen and the record is VERY clear. Only time will tell…

      Here is safety:

      “The Name of YHWH [is] a tower of strength, The righteous runs into it, and is set on high.” – Proverbs 18:10, Literal Standard Version

      1. Honestly, I know a lot more than I’ve been able to tell. My husband keeps a tight reign on me. ;), for the very reason of “conspiracy theories/spiritual issues” He is a journalist and only wants verified facts.

        But the the spiritual doesn’t always have the “facts” to back it up.

        Though the powers that be, do delight in telling what will be taking place through their movies, TV series, cartoons, half-time shows, etc. It goes deep.

        The main thing is to know Jesus and to know His prophecies of the Last days.

        Do not accept a vaccine or a mark that would track you, do not give up your name and cell phone tracking info willingly.

        Be ready to witness of the saving power of Jesus at any time, at the unction of the Holy spirit. Be ready to give your life. Above ALL do not fear what man can do to the body, but fear Him who determines whether you have eternal life or not, (Paraphrased)

        This is only the beginning. Any freedom they take, they will not give back. We are going into a major police state lockdown and all countries are following suit.

        WATCH what Israel is doing and then watch the other countries quickly follow suit. ILTV and TV7 Israel News are great English resources of information. ILTV airs live on YouTube at 2PM Eastern time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0G-kIA7iAn4. I also listen or read Steve Quale, Steven Ben Nun and Mike Adams. WATCH. These men are watchmen on the Wall. Paul Begley, also gives a lot of news of things happening.

        For more spiritual insight, I also listen to Glynda Lomax of Just Praise Him Ministries, Barbara Francis of God’s Healer 7, Julie Whedbee, Latter Rain 333, God’s handmaiden https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc_QZiUaynMr9dPXfa3h3gg

        Use discernment with all of these people. Sift through what they say. Ask God for discernment and truth. A lot is legitimate. Much of what they said would happen, during the past two years or more, IS beginning to take place now.

        There is a whole lot more to this virus than meets the eye. It is the perfect opportunity, to capitalize on people’s fear.

        Something to think about, if everybody is locked down in their homes, how can we actually verify the number of people actually dying??? Personally, I want to stay isolated. But really, how will we truly know what is happening unless we see people drop dead with our own eyes?

        The Powers that be, the Elite are capitalizing on the virus in order to establish their Global governance. It will get extremely ugly. Unless God hides us for His purposes, we are going home to the Lord, soon.

        Repent and get your heart clear before the Lord God. Be ready in season and out of season to proclaim His word and salvation to all who would ask why we have such hope and peace during times of trouble.

        Just a little silly family thing to share to lighten your day: When I see something and mention it to Jim that’s a little bit out there, Jim will often say,

        “Wow, you are Radical Mrs. Rawles. Are, are you one of THOSE people that read THAT Blog! You know the Survival Blog?” The words usually include a big hug.

        I answer and say, “Um, actually, Mr. Rawles, we are the editors of that Blog”. 😉

        Be safe and at peace, Watch!


        1. So re; Israel, they were really early to try to block those from countries that were experiencing this infection such as China, from entering. Too late they reacted after tourists from S Korea, Greece etc brought it with them. Others did eventually follow what they did early on.

          Re: the use of cell phone data. This is quite controversial there right now. They say they want to use it not to enforce quarantines but to track where infected people were to try to find who else might have been exposed. I think this is hopeless given the ever increasing numbers of the infected there and likely won’t happen. Everyone knows that Shin Bet etc has access to this data but would generally only use it for security purposes. The idea of using it to track contacts of the infected is giving people there pause. But again, look at how many of our liberties we gave up after 9/11 here in order to feel “safe”. So one never knows what people will be willing to put up with to feel “safe”.

          1. Ani,

            I have seriously mixed feelings for Netanyahu. On one hand he seems like the caring father that everyone wants on the other hand he is probably also a huge entity of the Elites and one of the driving forces behind the Global NWO. Did you listen to this morning’s report from ILTV, or yesterday’s? I can’t remember exactly, I am seeing too many videos. But they tracked an individual that had left quarantine and arrested him.

            Israel is saying that they are going to use the data, only to source and track the spread of the virus, but it is going to be much more than that. Just wait and see. As you said, just like 9/11 they are going to remove freedoms, subtly and not return them. 🙁

            People are sheeple. They have been taught to be fearful of everything and to expect the government to take care of them. Pretty soon they will be demanding the government to implement draconian laws to keep them safe. Most of America has lost her independent self-reliant spirit. And those of us who will refuse to submit/who wish to remain independent and providing for their own on their own land will be hunted down as the villains. group mentality, no room for independent thinkers. Enslaved. Oy va voy!


        2. >But the the spiritual doesn’t always have the “facts” to back it up. Though the powers that be, do delight in telling what will be taking place through their movies, TV series, cartoons, half-time shows, etc. It goes deep.

          >The main thing is to know Jesus and to know His prophecies of the Last days.

          >Do not accept a vaccine or a mark that would track you, do not give up your name and cell phone tracking info willingly.

          >Be ready to witness of the saving power of Jesus at any time, at the unction of the Holy spirit. Be ready to give your life. Above ALL do not fear what man can do to the body, but fear Him who determines whether you have eternal life or not, (Paraphrased)

          >This is only the beginning. Any freedom they take, they will not give back. We are going into a major police state lockdown and all countries are following suit.

          Ain’t all that the Truth. Amen.

        3. Each of us can be judged on earth by our track record. Jim’s is amazingly good, its outstanding actually. Quite frankly, I shared his July 2009 article with a colleague and it pretty much walks a person through all of the situational steps here today. Exactly predicts the current situation.

          By implementing many of the lessons from Patriots, Jim’s book, our family is not only able to have resilience thus far, but we are able to help others both those near and far and in several cases, by direct connection with Todd and the various characters in Jim’s book around cooking, cleaning, water and planning ahead. Our 3rd son is writing code to 3D print parts that will replace China made consumable parts (air grills) in medical equipment – they can start shipping tomorrow. Our daughter is writing a blog around OTC meds.

          I do have a thought for our threaded dialogue. Many of us “know more than we can say”. Many of us have theories which will be proven or tweaked in the coming months. Jim and you show us that we can all show leadership as follows, just like you do with your Garden journals and other articulation of your daily actions.

          Maybe I’ll write a more elaborate article on our “guideposts”. Until then our basic rubric at present for our pre-staged group of friends and church members and also community health providers (EMT’s, CERT team members, volunteers in the local sr. center and our own church):

          1. We can shape “I am doing X,Y and Z” because of a potential threat of “A,B or C”.

          2. We can state “I don’t have all the answers and I am seeking to fill in gaps around D,E and F so my friend, so if you see those answers in your daily life, hit me with a text to talk it through and I’ll do the same”. Maybe over the course of a few days, we will fill those knowledge gaps.

          3. We can pray and be thankful for what we have.

          4. We can embrace being a learning iterative human who strives for my husband’s goal of ELM…Effort + Learning = Mastery

          5. We can be humble around what we don’t know.

          6. We can be willing to be more (overly) conservative (like Tunnel Rabbit) on certain items we don’t know especially if that path costs us little and potentially saves a lot.

          7. We can be clear and firm around what we are willing to offer others so that waffling by others doesn’t punch a hole in our own metaphorical life raft.

          And finally, the movie Jaws has the best saving ever. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” for this crisis.

          Thank you Lily for all you do for this blog. We don’t live in Idaho or the Northwest so we are not familiar with the personal on-the-ground politics. We just focus on the technical content of the blog and hope to contribute in a small way.

          Take care.

          1. Well said TR,
            I am the first one to say that I am “struggling” with this. I am a business analyst by profession. My job is to have a “plan” whether it be “A”, “B” or “C”. This event is really testing the scenarios of my plans.
            I have always preferred the “water-fall” approach to planning but I can now see the advantage of “agile” planning.
            I rely on this site to help fill in the gaps. We can all learn from each other. I would love to go back in time right now to talk to some of my relatives that have passed on that lived in the time of the Great Depression. I also have JWR’s Patriots and TEOTWAWKI among others. I recently sent a copy to a friend in CA. (Last October, his birthday). He called me this past weekend to thank me so much. He wondered “how I knew the timing to send it to him”. I told him I didn’t but based on where he lived I thought it would be a good reference.
            It doesn’t matter where we are in our preparedness. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say I am a 6, maybe a 7. But the information I gleam from here is invaluable!
            On a lighter note, I have been thinking of movie “quotes” lately. Remember the Red Dawn remake when they were all sitting around talking about what they missed? The one guy said “Call of Duty” and the other guy said “Dude, we are living the Call of Duty!”
            I know this isn’t the Call of Duty (well actually never played but I don’t think it deals with pandemics!) but it just seems to “fit”.
            Stay strong everyone, be calm.


    Defense in depth.

    No one layer is responsible for total defense

    1. Prep & Plan: collect adequate food, medicines, and supplies

    2. Boost & Nourish: immune system and overall health/nutrition status

    3. Blockade & Minimize: minimize eye access with goggles, respiratory system with mask

    4. Extend & Avoid: strategies to extend mask life

    5. Sanitize & Restore: hands and face, mask and goggles

    6. Wash & Vape: direct-to-virus post-doff medicated saline nasal washes & essential oils vapor

    7. Trust & Follow: Stress reduces immune response. Trust God’s providence and guidance.

    N-95s are not perfect, likelihood of some tiny virus leakage

    Two saline nasal sprays
    – one with GSE (2 drops) + Betadine (5+ drops)
    – one emptied and replaced with colloidal silver

    3 to 5 minute post-doffing deep inhalation of Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Cinnamon, Bergamot essential oils vapors. (This Quest began with a friend’s observation “…we need to have a way to prevent the virus from surviving when it attaches to the lining of the airways and lungs.”)

    You can’t very well inhale your classic antiviral supplements (Olive Leaf Extract, Selenium, Zinc, Quercetin, etc. etc.), but you can inhale essential oil vapors (NOT the same as vaping…)

    This will get you started:
    http://www.altmedrev.com/archive/publications/15/1/33.pdf https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5552930/

  10. This series by ShepherdFarmerGeek and comments from respected SurvivalBlog contributors are awesome. Frankly, they put government ‘experts’ to shame.

  11. Update: “The more we learn about the coronavirus, the more nefarious it becomes. Most public efforts to are focused on detecting those with symptoms, like a fever. But new research shows that the majority of covid-19 carriers (50%-75%) are asymptomatic. So you’re much more likely to get infected by someone who looks and feels fine.

    To date it looked like only the elderly and immunocompromised were at risk of serious complications. Well, that assumption is changing. European doctors are reporting a concerning number of younger, healthy people getting sick, too.”

    From https://ncrenegade.com/editorial/new-studies-raise-the-coronavirus-threat-factor/

    SEE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=tmhsNdW24BM&feature=emb_logo

  12. This comment isn’t related to the article subject matter ( well, maybe a little bit, kind of, sort of ), and I’ve been to be all wet on a lot of things. But has anyone stop to think or wonder if maybe this is exactly what the chinese had in mind of doing to the U.S.?
    After all, you’ve seen how they treat their own people down though the ages

    1. I guess that depends on whether this virus escaped from the lab there or truly is natural. In any event, besides providing some serious material for a whole bunch of books, both fiction and non-fiction, this pandemic will provide lots of useful info to those who would wish to do harm to specific countries, regions, the world etc.

  13. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195670120300463

    Above is the article that states that SARS CoV can last up to 9 days on hard surfaces.
    Note that this is not the current nCovid-19 strain. I am listing this again for those who would like to read it as it was referred to above. Everyone can choose for themselves how many days they want for viral degradation. Tunnel Rabbit has posted for convenience the “3-day” article above which is specific to the current strain.
    Thanks Tunnel Rabbit. Everyone stay safe and well.

  14. I’m starting to think that trying to remain uninfected is futile. When you consider the numbers and that unless we achieve some reasonable level of herd immunity, we will likely just have Covid-19 take-2, and then maybe a 3rd go-round etc, unless one is really isolated and has a way to do that for a year or more and doesn’t associate with anyone who isn’t equally isolated, it would seem that we will all likely get it. So perhaps we should just hope for the best? Keep ourselves healthy so that if we do get it we have the best chance of not experiencing serious problems? Maybe if you’re already really elderly or sick this doesn’t apply and the best you can hope for is to be isolated and hope enough of the rest of us get it to develop herd immunity?

    I just can’t see that what is happening now in terms of trying to contain it will work. With stores shutting down, schools closing, the economy tanking, borders closed, I suspect many will just say this is ridiculous and we need to just accept that people will get sick and some will die. I dunno. And to reiterate a point i made yesterday, many of the younger people really don’t care. They don’t see it as a problem for them personally. They will not agree to refrain from socializing, working, going to school etc much longer. Was reading numerous online comments on the NYT from people suggesting that we have it wrong and it’s the elderly and sick that should self-isolate and the rest of us should just go on with our lives. I know that won’t actually work to protect this population but I think that sentiment will gain traction soon.

    1. And I guess I should clarify that I’m thinking more along the lines of the whole “flatten the curve” notion so that we don’t end up with too many people sick enough to need medical care all at once. Preferably those who are older or at risk would attempt to not get infected until enough others had and we achieved some level of herd immunity; I think the vaccine is a long-shot.

      And given what is happening at the beach, spring break etc with huge crowds of college age students as seen here, I can’t see how we are going to avoid really upping our numbers of infected anyway as all of these students head back home eventually.


      1. Tucker Carlson pointed out either last night or the night before that AOC has proclaimed that Millenials “will save us.”

        Yet, these same Millenials are the ones who were still packing the bars, restaurants, and night clubs until they were shut down in many places, and they are packing the beaches now. Yes, what we have heard so far is that the virus has less effect on this generation, but once they are infected, they will infect those who are far more vulnerable.

        To me, this is a clear indication that their politically correct virtue signaling is simply that, signaling, and that the actual message hasn’t been internalized. It’s just more liberal BS.

        1. I basically think they don’t get it, have the invincibility of youth thing going on and mostly don’t seem to give a darn about getting others sick. That’s sort of why I figure it’s pretty well hopeless and perhaps the best we can manage will be to have those most at risk try to self-isolate and hopefully we flatten the curve enough so the hospitals aren’t doing an Italy.

          Today I had 2 young heat techs here to my house to do needed heating system work. One had teens at home. Not sure about the other. Neither was worried about the virus at all and figured it wouldn’t hurt them, but what about the people whose houses they go into? I don’t think they even thought about that. I needed to get this work done and along with cleaning up after them(OMG…) I used wipes on the door handles etc. but who knows? it is what it is, but what if I were my mom’s age or immune compromised? Thus I figure it’s mostly hopeless except maybe for those who live in a really remote place and are set up for staying there a year(and who never have an emergency that requires a doctor or dentist etc).

          1. I have seen reports from Italy that an increasing number of younger patients are being treated for the virus. This situation appears to be a deviation from the previous pattern. Perhaps Millennials will be paying more attention soon.

            Yesterday, a dishwasher repairman came to our house. (Yes, I know. We could have just washed the dishes by hand and avoided the potential infection source.) Fifteen minutes before he arrived, we received a call from the repair company that inquired about whether or not anyone in our home had been exposed to the coronavirus or flu. My wife took the call and said we hadn’t (wishful thinking?) Had I taken the call, I might have said, “I don’t know. You tell me.”

            When the fellow arrived, I mentioned the phone call. He was probably 50. He was dismissive of the coronavirus, but said that he would not go into any home where people had been exposed to the flu or coronavirus.

            Of course, if he does get infected, for several days he will be visiting numerous homes and will be unknowingly bringing infection with him.

            I expect that most people have heard of Typhoid Mary, but don’t know the actual details. Here’s part of a Wikipedia article:

            Mary Mallon (September 23, 1869 – November 11, 1938), also known as Typhoid Mary, was an Irish cook believed to have infected 51 people, three of whom died, with typhoid fever, and the first person in the United States identified as an asymptomatic carrier of the disease.[1] Because she persisted in working as a cook, by which she exposed others to the disease, she was twice forcibly isolated by authorities, and died after a total of nearly three decades in isolation.[2][3]

            For “isolation,” read quarantine.

          2. I need a new furnace before next winter. I’ll have to be in the house when its installed, but I’m now thinking I will leave the house and live in the camper or at least not go in the basement for 3-10 days after they leave. Let time degrade any coronavirus particles they leave behind.

    2. Here are a paper and article on what might happen, consistent with your conclusion. Social isolation is about the only technique that works, but how do we get back to normal? A social isolation round seems to take around 8 weeks, though it might be able to shorten this with repetition. This is a real hit to the economy, too much of the population needs to work 52 weeks a year to survive, and we need at least some people to work to provide healthcare, energy, and food. What if those working people are the reservoir that start the next round. This virus spreads so easy. I personally don’t think PPE is going to be sufficient. We don’t have enough, it takes skill and training to use it right, I suspect there is a fatigue factor to using it, and a mistake or two is all it takes for the virus to get through. We need a vaccine to end it, and that is a ways off, if possible. Herd immunity might help over time if it can be developed and it isn’t a given. If too many people abandon social isolation millions will die, it will drastically thin out adults over 60, taking parents and grandparents from younger adults, really damaging families, everyone will lose friends, and there are economic consequences from the deaths, etc.



      1. Thank you Greg for both of those articles- they are great and I recommend people read them. I hadn’t seen the MIT one before. But yes, what they said is exactly what I have been thinking and realizing and why I said what I said. I think a lot of people who are already reeling over school closures, stores shutting down, job loss and all the rest are still thinking this will be all ok by April but I know it won’t.

        I wish we could better trust what comes out of China in terms of data as we would have a better take on what to expect as they reopen the locked down areas and people start getting back to work. If the number of new virus cases were to remain low a few weeks after this happens then we might be able to breathe a sigh of relief. If, as I suspect, the numbers spike, then we will have a better idea of what would happen here.

        1. I read about a doctor group, I think from WHO, who was allowed access to China. They confirmed that China was making progress. You can also look at Korea and Taiwan, maybe Hong Kong too. They are slowing down, sometimes significantly, spread of the virus. I think the virus can be clamped down, the question is for how long, how drastic the measures have to be, and the human and economic impact.

  15. So, we have an interesting item that we purchased many many years ago for alternative photography… specifically Platinum and Palladium photo printing. It is a UV light box, about 18 X 18 with 8 UV lights in it. Since we don’t have an electron microscope handy (that was on our list, but alas) we have no way of knowing how effective it might be, but will be using it for mail, masks, phones, etc. Since we are now in self-quarantine mode, outside exposure will be minimal to nonexistent, but we still get mail…

    1. Klaude, I’m a physical scientist (and posted above). But I was also a professional photographer and graphic artist who used UV light tables to expose various photo products in the pre-digital world. It’s my understanding that such light boxes are using UV-A and UV-B wavelengths (290 to 400 nm) which is NOT the type to disrupt vulnerable microbes. UV-C has shorter wavelengths and thus more energetic. Therefore, your light box may not be actually helping much. But if this is the best gear you have, then I’d leave masks in such a box for an hour or two, AND re-use tainted masks as little as humanly possible, AND follow careful procedures such as SFG recommends above. Thus, a “layered” approach which can all help. Best wishes

      1. Thank you Anonymous… this I had not researched, but that makes sense. The bulbs in the box I think are typical black-light bulbs, and very likely not effective… my thought was that the intensity of 8 bulbs might make a difference, but certainly not worth betting my health on. I did purchase a UV wand (Sharper Image) specifically designed for this purpose, and have been using it on every piece of mail that has come in and every box that arrives (along with copious amounts of lysol per the direct orders of my better half).

  16. About placing an N95 mask in an oven at 160 degrees, As has been mentioned in comments, ovens aren’t airtight, so viruses might find their way into the kitchen, and masks with plastic valves can be damaged.

    One thing that has not been mentioned is something I came across somewhere, but is something for which I cannot remember the source right now. Many ovens have erratic temperature settings. The less expensive stoves have more erratic oven temperatures. While the oven may be set at 160 degrees, that is not necessarily the actual temperature. While the temperature variances may not be particularly harmful in most baking, I wouldn’t want to bet my life on it. It’s likely that a separate thermometer inside the oven will need to be constantly monitored.

    Unless there is some override of which I am unaware (note: baking is not my “thing”) my oven won’t even allow a temperature setting of less than 170 degrees.

  17. I think the debate should be focused on a worse case scenario. The bug may only last 3 days instead of 9, but why take the chance that the research is wrong. Go for a 9+ day wait before reuse with zero chance it survived.

    If you have respirators rated for acid vapors they may be self cleaning. I believe those filters are impregnated with alkali to neutralize the acid. This bug has a lipid shell, so alkali would convert that to a soap and kill the virus. The filters I have are P100, and can handle HCl, HS, SO2, HF, and a few others. They’re rated for 8 hours of use, but should work much longer in a filtration mode.

  18. When we need UV to protect plants:
    It’s strong enough that eye protection is required so you don’t burn your eyes.
    Here in colorado most grow stores sell them.

    This is a FDA approved pathogen killer we use all the time:
    It’s is professional strength, so it has to be diluted from 500-100 to one.
    No comparison to bleach in effectiveness.
    At the dilution rates it won’t burn your skin. Straight out container it will chemically burn you quick.
    Also easily available at grow stores in marijuana legal towns.

    For spraying rooms down we use biomist:
    Again, get your 99.9% alcohol at the grow store, compressed CO2, and spray away the viruses.

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