While wearing a face mask can help protect you from the coronavirus, not washing or improperly handling your used facemask could result in unwanted exposure. Many people have turned to reusable facemasks as a way to keep them handy and save on costs.
In order to be effective, and prevent exposure, reusable masks should be cleaned regularly, if not after each daily use. Here’s how to best protect yourself and ensure your mask is clean.
Proper Handling and Application
Before you put on your facemask, wash your hands. By doing this, you eliminate the possibility of transferring germs from your hands onto the mask.
You should also wash your hands once you remove your mask and wash it regularly.
Washing Your Face Mask
You have two choices in order to wash your mask effectively. If you only have one washable mask, or just a few, washing them in a load of laundry may not be the best option. You can wash your mask by hand – or in the washing machine with your other laundry.
To wash your mask in the washing machine, it is safe to wash with your other clothing. Your standard laundry detergent will wash away the germs, eliminating the need to add other chemicals. In addition to the laundry detergent, you should wash in the warmest water setting.
Most masks can also be put in a clothes dryer depending on the material – or you can simply air dry your mask by hanging it up. I do this frequently and my masks dry very quickly, making them wearable just a short time after washing. Keep in mind that linen and cotton masks can shrink if they are dried at a high temperature.
To wash your reusable facemask by hand, which could even make it last longer. To do so, you’ll need a disinfectant bleach. Regular bleach isn’t strong enough, so ensure that the bleach you choose states that is for disinfecting.
Do not wash your mask in straight bleach – it will ruin the mask. Mix four teaspoons of bleach for every quart of water, or five tablespoons per gallon. Once you have your mixture, place your cloth face mask in it for five minutes.
After five minutes, remove the mask and rinse it thoroughly in cool water. You can also soak the mask in clean water for a few minutes without bleach and then rinse it to get rid of any bleach smells. Dry your clean mask in the dryer or air dry.