Since face coverings are now mandatory in shops, supermarkets and on public transport across England and Scotland there is a good chance you will have a selection of reusable, washable face masks which you don’t leave home without. However, when they require a clean are you washing them properly?
The masks supplied by Coverd are washable up to 50 times, so just as you regularly clean your clothes, you will need to wash your reusable masks to stop them getting dirty and contaminated. As well as the risk of spreading COVID-19 if you don’t wash your masks you could risk skin issues from dirt and bacteria being transferred from your mask to the delicate skin on your face.
So what’s the best way to look after your mask? The Coverd team has put together some practical tips on how to wash your mask, how to hand wash your mask and how to store it.
How often should I wash my face mask?
Most medical experts advise that you should wash your mask after every use.
Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Maryland has the following advice “I would say it’s best to wash them after use,” so maybe at the end of every day before you use it again,” Dr. Adalja states. “If you’ve been out all day, you should probably wash it again.” This way, it’s clean and ready to use next time you leave the house.
Also, if your mask becomes noticeably soiled, or if you’ve coughed and sneezed into it, it’s probably a sensible idea to wash it as soon as you can…and of course remember to wash your hands immediately after you touch it.
Whilst all Coverd masks feature silver ion antibacterial technology which kill up to 99% bacteria, we still recommend washing our masks regularly to reduce the risk of COVID-19 cross contamination.
Why is washing my face mask so important?
Because the face mask itself can become contaminated. Since it touches your nose and mouth, it’s possible any viral particles on the mask could get into your respiratory system and infect you. As Dr. Adalja from the John Hopkins Center for Health Security in Maryland explains “You’re always touching it with your hands, you’re taking it on and off, and setting it down in different places that might be contaminated with the virus.” It is therefore important to remember that a face mask isn’t a failsafe way to prevent infection, the mask itself could act as a vector for transmission if it is not properly maintained and cleaned.
What’s the best way to wash my face covering? Do I need to wash it separately?
The best and easiest way to wash your mask is in the washing machine with some standard fabric safe detergent. You can wash it with other clothes with similar colours so it’s not necessary to wash it on its own.
Can I hand wash my face mask?
You can safely hand wash your facemask. If you do not have a washing machine at home, it is perfectly safe to wash it by hand with regular hand soap and water. Johns Hopkins Medicine recommends scrubbing it thoroughly in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before rinsing the mask with cold water and leaving to dry completely.
How should I store my face mask when I’m not using it?
At Coverd we would recommend using our re-sealable bags for your mask. Whilst leaving your mask in the bottom of your handbag so you don’t forget it may seem like a good idea, it could result in the transfer of germs and bacteria to other items in your bag and vice versa. You should therefore store it properly in a safe re-sealable bag. If you take your mask off, you should try to avoid putting back on until after you’ve washed it.
How many face masks should I buy?
We would definitely recommend buying more than one. Having at least two face masks ensures that you will always have a spare one when the other’s in the wash. At Coverd we have a wide selection of reusable washable masks in popular colours and camouflage designs to ensure you have plenty of fashionable options. All our masks come with adjustable and/or elasticated ear loops.