I'm still pretty new at cooking things in an Instant Pot, but now I've discovered there's something else I can do with this magical appliance-sanitize masks.

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Of course you won't find a 'sanitize mask' button on the front of your Instant Pot, but if you find the 'rice' setting or the "PO3" on Farberware, that's what you'll need.

According to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, a study they completed found that 50 minutes of dry heat in an electric cooker, like a rice cooker or Instant Pot, decontaminated N95 respirator masks inside and out while maintaining their filtration and fit. Dry heat at a sustained temperature works better than ultraviolet light, researchers say

N95 masks aren't cheap, so this seems like a great way to keep using them safely and effectively.

Here's what you do.

  1. Fold a hand towel and put in the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  2. Place single or multiple masks in the pot.
  3. This is important- DO NOT ADD WATER. It's the DRY heat that will do the sanitizing.
  4. Maintain 212 F  for 50 minutes during one cook cycle to completely sanitize.

Watch the video for step by step instructions.

Feel like trying the technique yourself? All you need is a cooker, a paper or cloth towel, and the right setting. Just remember that, unlike just about everything else you cook in an Instant Pot, you don’t add water.