As many areas continue to recommend face masks to avoid the spread of COVID-19, these masks play a heavily vital role in slowing its spread to loved ones and family members. However, cleaning your mask is just as essential as wearing them. For those who are using non-medical, reusable masks, proper care is required to help prevent the spread, as these fabrics can become moldy, become hard to breathe in, and lead to less protection overall from the COVID-19 virus. Dirty, used masks are typically less effective than clean ones, and to practice, good hygiene, here are our recommendations for cleaning and storing your face mask.
What You Should Know When Caring For Your Mask
Even when new prospects come around for the latest on the COVID-19 vaccine distributions and slowing spread, this news can also result in less overall consideration for ourselves and others, leading to more leisurely approaches to mask care, hand sanitation, and social distancing. Remaining vigilant during this time is one of the best ways to slow the spread completely, and caring for your mask is just one out of the many suggestions we offer to protect ourselves for others.
If you need a refresher on how to care for and clean your mask properly, we’re here to provide a basic summary of proper protocols to implement into your routine to help slow the spread of COVID-19:
- Wear Multiple Masks: One mask can only provide so much protection, so having multiple masks at your disposal can help prepare you for emergency outings and regular work shifts.
- Make Sure Your Mask Fits: Your mask should fit close and snug to your face, as any gaps can lead to respiratory droplets leak from the edges of the mask and risk higher exposure. The mask should have at least two layers and should not contain any exhalation vents, un-breathable fabrics, or be a mask intended for healthcare workers.
- Wash Your Hands Before and After: Before wearing your mask, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your mask even while wearing it, and when taking it off, only touch the strings or loops to prevent direct contact with the front of the mask. Wash your hands after folding.
- Store Your Mask: If your mask is dirty or wet, then storing your mask in a plastic bag will help prevent any mold or dirt from developing in the fabric.
- Washing Your Mask: Make sure to wash your mask when it gets dirty, either with a washing machine or by hand, to help keep your mask clean for continuous use.
Masks Are Effective At Preventing COVID-19
Masks offer the best protection against the virus alongside washing your hands. Masks provide a protective layer against the virus by blocking respiratory particles from reaching others, creating higher source control and better outcomes. While wearing a mask can protect you from the disease, masks are most effective when everyone wears them. Masks are not a self-cleaning product – in today’s age, these masks present a vital, protective layer that helps physically distance ourselves from spreading the virus to others.