How to clean a face mask during the coronavirus outbreak

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How to clean a face mask during the coronavirus outbreak

Out of an abundance of caution, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a face mask or covering any time you go to grocery stores, pharmacies or other places where social distancing is hard to practice. Some states have also enacted similar rules and guidelines regarding when to wear face masks.Since N95 respirators and surgical masks should be reserved for health care workers, many people have been putting their DIY skills to the test by creating their own cloth face masks right at home.As a reminder, the CDC urges that select individuals aren’t required to wear face coverings, including children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. Making or buying a face mask is just half of it. To ensure that you and your loved ones are staying as safe and healthy as possible, it’s also important to clean cloth face masks regularly to limit the spread of germs. There are differing reports on whether or not coronavirus can live on clothes. Harvard Health suggests that the disease is more likely to live on hard surfaces (think: countertops and door handles), than soft surfaces like fabric. Regardless, the CDC, along with the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, urges that you give cloth face masks the same level of care as your regular laundry, which means you should wash and dry them often per the CDC’s guidelines.How to Clean Face Masks The CDC has general guidelines on how to properly clean most masks: Fabric face masks should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of useA washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face coveringIndividuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth when removing their face covering and, wash hands immediately after removingHowever, these one-size-fits-all guidelines don’t necessarily take into account the different types of fabric and filters used, especially in DIY masks. Carolyn Forte, Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, suggests that all face masks should be washed with hot water in the washing machine, and tumble dried on high heat. More delicate masks that are handsewn may need to be washed by hand. If so, lather masks with soap and scrub them for at least 20 seconds with warm to hot water before tossing in the dryer. For peace of mind, iron masks on the cotton or linen setting to kill any remaining germs. There aren’t any hard and fast rules regarding how often you should wash face masks because it’s really depending on the frequency of use, according to the CDC. If you want to be extra cautious, clean your face mask after each use.

Out of an abundance of caution, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a face mask or covering any time you go to grocery stores, pharmacies or other places where social distancing is hard to practice. Some states have also enacted similar rules and guidelines regarding when to wear face masks.

Since N95 respirators and surgical masks should be reserved for health care workers, many people have been putting their DIY skills to the test by creating their own cloth face masks right at home.

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As a reminder, the CDC urges that select individuals aren’t required to wear face coverings, including children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Making or buying a face mask is just half of it. To ensure that you and your loved ones are staying as safe and healthy as possible, it’s also important to clean cloth face masks regularly to limit the spread of germs. There are differing reports on whether or not coronavirus can live on clothes. Harvard Health suggests that the disease is more likely to live on hard surfaces (think: countertops and door handles), than soft surfaces like fabric. Regardless, the CDC, along with the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, urges that you give cloth face masks the same level of care as your regular laundry, which means you should wash and dry them often per the CDC’s guidelines.

How to Clean Face Masks

The CDC has general guidelines on how to properly clean most masks:

  • Fabric face masks should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use
  • A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering
  • Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth when removing their face covering and, wash hands immediately after removing

However, these one-size-fits-all guidelines don’t necessarily take into account the different types of fabric and filters used, especially in DIY masks. Carolyn Forte, Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, suggests that all face masks should be washed with hot water in the washing machine, and tumble dried on high heat. More delicate masks that are handsewn may need to be washed by hand. If so, lather masks with soap and scrub them for at least 20 seconds with warm to hot water before tossing in the dryer. For peace of mind, iron masks on the cotton or linen setting to kill any remaining germs.

There aren’t any hard and fast rules regarding how often you should wash face masks because it’s really depending on the frequency of use, according to the CDC. If you want to be extra cautious, clean your face mask after each use.