In the face of the pandemic, masks have become a topic of debate and constant confusion amongst the general public. What type of masks we should use, when should we use masks, are cloth masks effective, etc., are all general queries that are being constantly raised by the people.
We already shared how the general public, should avoid using N95 and medical-surgical coronavirus protection masks as they are in shortage and must be saved for the frontline healthcare workers fighting the pandemic. We also discussed the various types of cloth masks available in the market that are safe to use and offer optimum safety from the virus spread when combined with practicing of other social distancing measures.
In this blog, we’ll help you navigate through proper washing, care, maintenance of your cloth masks for their safe, repeated usage.
Wearing masks in public is the new normal and people are now opting for cotton, double-layered masks as they are not only safe but also allow relaxed breathing that may be hampered with non-medical masks made of very thick or synthetic materials.
The next obvious step to wearing these cloth masks each day is to take care of them and wash them properly before their reuse.
CDC, that has already issued several important COVID masks guidelines, strongly recommends that cloth face coverings should be washed after each use.
So how to clean them correctly and what kind of disinfectants, soap, etc., should be used to sanitize them?
Let’s discuss them in detail.
How to remove coronavirus protection masks after use?
- When wearing a face mask, don’t touch it or your face
- As soon as you come back home, first, wash your hands and then remove the mask and then again, wash your hands.
- Do not leave your mask on any surface like kitchen top, dining table, bedside table, etc.
- Wash it immediately after every outing or use.
How to clean face masks?
Well, a cloth face mask to protect from coronavirus, can be hand washed or machine-washed for sanitization and reuse.
Here are some crucial wash care face mask tips to bear in mind:
1) Use Detergent or Soap
Whether you are handwashing or machine-washing the face masks, always use detergent or soap, preferably mild ones.
2) Washing with hot water may be a good idea
While it is not necessary to use hot water but as a general rule, hot water kills germs and viruses faster. Therefore, if you are machine-washing it you may use hot water and for hand wash, you may use lukewarm water.
3) Leave the mask in a warm place
In case, you do not want to wash it, you may put the mask in a paper bag and place it in a warm place for 2-4 days, as the virus becomes inactive in the duration is no longer infectious. However, we strongly recommend washing them after each use.
Well, as per CDC guidelines they have approved of using bleach for sanitization and cleaning of face masks. They recommend soaking the face masks in a bleach solution (4 tsp of household bleach per quart of room temperature water) and rinsing it thoroughly with cool or room temperature water.
However, you’ll need to be extra careful if you are opting for bleach cleaning of your masks. Using a highly concentrated bleach may not only damage your mask pores but if not properly rinsed out, the residue left on the mask may cause you respiratory problems. As the mask comes directly in touch with your mouth and face, you may inhale the residual bleach fumes that can damage your airways in the long run and/or may deteriorate any underlying respiratory condition.
Thus, personally for all of us, a quick hand or machine wash with detergent and water has been the easiest and safest cleaning regime and we advocate just the same for you too.
After washing your face mask, it should be completely dried before use. Dry your face masks under the sun with plenty of sunlight or in a hot dryer for best results.
The Key Takeaway:
As we begin moving around after lockdown relaxations, taking care of ourselves and of our community has become all the more critical in the face of this pandemic. Taking these small measures of practicing social distancing, wearing face masks when going out in public, and properly sanitizing them can all help us slow the spread of the virus. So, let’s all keep doing our bit.
P.S. If you have any questions or queries regarding cloth face masks, please feel free to ask us in the comments below. You can also check out our collection of cloth masks, headgear, and other protective materials on our website, here.