Now that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended wearing face masks in public to slow the spread of COVID-19, when combined with every day preventive actions and social distancing in public settings, it’s important to know how to properly put on/take off, store and clean reusable cloth masks.
CDC recommends that people wear masks in public and when around people who do not live in your household.
Wear Your Mask Correctly
Wear a Mask to Protect Others
Take Off Your Mask Carefully
Storing A Mask
When going to the bathroom, taking a drink or eating, place your mask on a clean paper towel (exterior of the mask facing down with the ties placed away from the inside) Alternatively store your mask in a clean paper bag or a sealed plastic bag.
Leaving your face mask in your car or hanging it from your rear-view mirror is “a bad idea”. Because that mask has already been used and if there is any particulate material on there, you are essentially allowing it to waft through the inside of your vehicle.
After the mask is placed in the bag, washing your hands or use hand sanitizer thoroughly.
Most disposable masks are officially designed for a single use — especially in higher-risk environments. But you can reuse them, especially if you are just out and about in an area with a low prevalence of COVID-19.
Medical-style disposable masks can be steamed or exposed to sunlight to kill the virus more quickly. Between uses, leave the mask in a paper bag for at least three days. During that time, any virus on the mask will gradually decrease.
For non-medical masks, such as home-made cloth masks or other non-medical versions, the CDC suggests the masks should be cleaned routinely in the washing machine. However, ensure you are not using fabric softeners when washing your masks.
Experts do not recommend using cleaners, especially disinfectants on masks, as you could end up breathing them in the next time you use it.
N95 masks contain filters that can be damaged with improper cleaning, but they can be safely steamed.
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