Information On Washing Face Mask

If you’re following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the coronavirus epidemic in the U.S., you likely already know to wear either a homemade mask, bandanna or some other cloth face covering when running essential errands, namely as a way to protect others from developing a COVID-19 infection.

But equally as important as wearing a face covering is cleaning it properly after you’re back home. To make sure you’re following protocol as recommended by infectious disease and other medical specialists across the nation, read on for a look at some of the tips

Washing machine 

The first and most obvious method of cleaning a facial covering is by throwing it in a washing machine.

“A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering,” says the CDC, noting the mask should be “routinely washed depending on the frequency of use.”

Viruses on clothes and fabrics are typically inactivated when washed in water at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, as per the World Health Organization's (WHO's) guidelines. But most at-home water heaters only reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This means it is extra important to use detergent, as well as chlorine or color-safe bleach to help decontaminate the fabric as best as possible, according to Popular Science.

Then, after washing, make sure to dry to mask at high heat in the dryer.

Boiling it 

Placing the face mask in boiling water is also an option, namely if a washing machine is not available. 

“Use a large pot and enough water to make sure it doesn’t all evaporate away. Leave the mask in the water for several minutes and swirl it around occasionally with tongs,” explained Digital Trends.

Ironing the face mask at high heat can also be helpful when attempting to disinfect it, Dimitar Marinov, an assistant professor in the department of hygiene at the Medical University of Varna, told the Huffington Post.

Hand washing 

Hand washing the mask is also a possibility. Lather the fabric with hot water and soap and scrub it vigorously for at least 20 seconds, and use hot air to dry it.

When worn properly, a person wearing a non-medical mask or face covering can reduce the spread of his or her own infectious respiratory droplets.

Non-medical face masks or face coverings should:

  • allow for easy breathing
  • fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops
  • maintain their shape after washing and drying
  • be changed as soon as possible if damp or dirty
  • be comfortable and not require frequent adjustment
  • be made of at least 2 layers of tightly woven material fabric (such as cotton or linen)
  • be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping

Non-medical masks or face coverings should not:

  • be shared with others
  • impair vision or interfere with tasks
  • be placed on children under the age of 2 years
  • be made of plastic or other non-breathable materials
  • be secured with tape or other inappropriate materials
  • be made exclusively of materials that easily fall apart, such as tissues
  • be placed on anyone unable to remove them without assistance or anyone who has trouble breathing

Limitations

Homemade masks are not medical devices and are not regulated like medical masks and respirators. Their use poses a number of limitations:

  • they have not been tested to recognized standards
  • the fabrics are not the same as used in surgical masks or respirators
  • the edges are not designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth
  • they may not provide complete protection against virus-sized particles

they can be difficult to breathe through and can prevent you from getting the required amount of oxygen needed by your body.