With face masks becoming a regular everyday item for us, many have been pondering the question on how to wash your face mask safely.
The UK government has now explicitly informed the public about a necessity to wear a mask, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends that if you’re heading out, you must wear a mask to help stop the spread of the disease in the case that you do indeed have it.
With the growth of non-medical masks growing around the public, we have put together a list of important points to consider when purchasing a face mask and keeping it clean & hygienic.
It must be importantly noted that the face mask that the general public and businesses should wear are NOT the medical grade masks that work in hospitals, it is heavily recommended not to purchase these. It’s not about the effectiveness about them, more so that we should be saving these pieces of ppe equipment for care homes and NHS staff- medical grade masks have turned out to be a valuable commodity during this crisis and we all must take responsibility during this time to save medical grade face masks for those who desperately need it to serve our front line.
1. Purchase a reusable face mask
It must be importantly noted that the face mask that the general public and businesses should wear is NOT the medical-grade masks that work in hospitals, it is heavily recommended not to purchase these. It’s not about the effectiveness about them, more so that we should be saving these pieces of PPE equipment for care homes and NHS staff- medical-grade masks have turned out to be a valuable commodity during this crisis and we all must take responsibility during this time to save medical grade face masks for those who desperately need it to serve our front line.
This should be a no-brainer but ideally, you should be purchasing reusable masks that can be washed and reused with ease. Single use masks are predominantly for the medical-grade ones that are used by medical staff – quite rightly as well as they must be disposed of due to the risk of the disease living on the mask. For everyone else, however, reusable cotton masks will do the job. Single-use non-medical face masks will be:
- Expensive as you have to keep purchasing more after each use
- Not sustainable as you keep binning them after single use
Ideally, you want to purchase face masks that are washable which leads us to our next point…
2. Wash your face mask daily
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing your mask daily and we agree with this. Ideally, you want to wash your mask after each time you use it e.g if you go to a supermarket for shopping, you should come back and throw your face mask in the wash. For millions of office workers that will be slowly returning to work, washing your mask after coming back from work should be non-negotiable before you go back the next day.
3. Use hot water
When washing your face mask, be sure to use a temperature of water high enough to kill any germs but not so hot that it deteriorates your mask – again, this is dependent on the material of your mask. We recommend a cotton mask as this can be washed at temperatures as high as 70 degrees which should be okay for this purpose. You can also steam the face mask using an iron to make certain that any germs are indeed killed.
4. Air drying is your best bet
It would be ideal to dry your mask in a tumble dryer as the high temperature will help to kill off any germs. However, a normal non-medical grade face mask is likely to have elastic loops that help to keep your mask on your face – in this case, air-drying is your best bet to ensure your elastic loop doesn’t get damaged. If you have a cloth tie for your mask, then you can disregard this and tumble dry them which will increase the chance of killing any germs.
5. Don’t let anyone come in contact with your face mask
This goes without saying but it’s critical that no one comes into contact with your own personal face mask unless they are washing it which should be done using gloves. This is especially important for those parents who will come home from work to kids who can come in contact with the masks.
So there you have it, 5 key points to consider when washing your face mask – we want to stress again how important it is to not purchase medical-grade face masks so that we can save these supplies for the hard-working Doctors & Nurses who have put in incredible shifts to get us through to this period.