How to Use Your N95® Respirator
N95 respirators must form a seal to the face to work properly. This is especially important for people at increased risk for severe disease. Wearing an N95 respirator can make it harder to breathe. If you have heart or lung problems, talk to your doctor before using an N95 respirator.
Some N95 respirators may contain latex in the straps. If you have natural rubber latex allergies, see the manufacturers’ website for information about your specific model.
Your N95 respirator may look different than the one in these pictures. As long as your N95 respirator has two head straps (not ear loops), these basic instructions apply.
It is best to put on your N95 respirator with clean, dry hands.
Always inspect the N95 respirator for damage before use. If it appears damaged, dirty, or damp, do not use it.
Hold the N95 respirator in your hand with the nose piece bar (or foam) at your fingertips. If yours does not have a nose piece, use the text written on it to be sure the top end is at your fingertips.
Place the N95 respirator under your chin with the nose piece bar at the top.
Pull the top strap over your head, placing it near the crown. Then, pull the bottom strap over and place it at the back of your neck, below your ears. Do not crisscross the straps. Make sure the straps lay flat and are not twisted.
Place your fingertips from both hands at the top of the nose piece. Press down on both sides of the nose piece to mold it to the shape of your nose.
To check for gaps, gently place your hands on the N95 respirator, covering as much of it as possible, then breathe out. If you feel air leaking out from the edges of the N95 respirator, or if you are wearing glasses and they fog up, it is not snug. Adjust the N95 respirator and try again.
If you cannot get a tight seal, try a different size or style. Even if you cannot get the N95 respirator sealed against your face, it will provide protection that is likely better than a cloth mask. Check for gaps every time you put on your N95 respirator.
After you remove your N95, wash your hands with soap and water, or hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if soap is not available.
Do not wash your N95 respirator or put it in the oven or microwave to try to sterilize it. Replace the N95 respirator when the straps are stretched out and it no longer fits snugly against your face or when it becomes wet, dirty, or damaged. Throw it in the trash.
N95 is a certification mark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) registered in the United States and several international jurisdictions.