How to Clean and Care for Your Face Mask

Mar 16 , 2021

How to Clean and Care for Your Face Mask

How to Clean and Care for Your Face Mask

Across the globe, the pandemic is still affecting many nations. While Australia is kicking some serious COVID goals as part of the 'new normal,' we continue to wear face masks, even on a voluntary level, in many situations.

While they come in all shapes and sizes, with elastic or ties and made out of fabric, they need to be well cared for with regular laundering, unless, of course, they are disposable face masks. We think it's well worth knowing how to effectively care for them to ensure you are not carrying any harmful bacteria.

Before we share how to sanitise, we suggest when using fabric coverings that you have more than one. Two is great, but more is better if you are out and about frequently for work or leisure, especially if you are riding public transport or paying a visit to your local medical centre.

 

Step-by-step for Cleaning Your Mask well

 

Whether you are wearing one voluntarily or because it's mandatory in your state, reducing the risk of spreading germs during what is still a vulnerable time is essential.

 

How to Clean and Care for Your Face Mask
 

While the disposable option should be binned after each use, for other types going through the following procedure will help minimise the risk. While there are no hard and fast rules as such, the most widely recommended method includes:

  • Any scarves, bandanas and fabric face coverings are best washed with regular laundry, as long as you're using hot water
  • Once the cycle has finished, tumble drying adds further heat to them, helping kill off the germs if it's on a high setting
  • For people who are sensitive to detergents or have allergies, using an unscented detergent can help make the situation comfortable
  • Handwashing is also an option. Use hot water with an antibacterial soap and scrub for a minimum of 20 seconds, then pop it into the dryer at high heat.

 

    Best Storage Solutions

    Once they're washed, you need to be mindful of how you store them. While it may be convenient to hang over the rearview mirror, it's not an ideal solution and may pick up contaminants. It's recommended that you:

  • Use a dust-free, dry place such as a drawer, bag or breathable container
  • Keep in a paper bag in your purse, car or bag when going out, so you always have one close by
  • Store each family member’s masks separately if possible, because if people are rifling through them, there is a greater risk of contamination.
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    How to Clean and Care for Your Face Mask


     

    Dos & Don'ts

    While the cleaning process is essential, we have some tips to help you protect your respiratory system by correctly wielding your protective shield.

    How to Clean and Care for Your Face Mask  

    Tip 1: Use a hand sanitiser or wash hands before taking it on and off, and when you touch it.

    Tip 2: If not obvious, mark what the inside of the shield is.

    Tip 3: Keep paper bags on hand for storage when you take them on and off.

    Tip 4: Remove using the ear loops, so there is less chance of cross-contamination from the part covering your nose and mouth.