Wearing a Mask? Make Sure to Wash It This Way

Woman in face mask
Photo by fizkes / Shutterstock.com

We should all wear cloth face coverings in public to help tamp down the spread of the coronavirus, according to organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the type of masks recommended by the CDC won’t do much good if we don’t keep them clean. The CDC says you should wash them after every use.

To do it right, remove the mask carefully and toss it into the wash. Use the warmest water allowed for the fabric used to make the mask.

If you don’t plan on doing laundry right after wearing the mask, you can wash it by hand. The CDC recommends creating a bleach solution consisting of:

  • 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) household bleach per gallon of room-temperature water, or
  • 4 teaspoons household bleach per quart of room-temperature water

Soak the mask in the bleach solution, letting it sit for five minutes. Then, rinse it with cool or room-temperature water. You should not use the mask until it is completely dry.

If you use a bleach solution, make sure to choose a bleach intended for disinfection as not all are. Check the label to be sure, and do not use any bleach past its expiration date. And of course, never mix household bleach with any cleanser, especially ammonia.

Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after removing your mask, which might have become contaminated with the virus. For more, read “Beware These 7 Hand-Washing Mistakes.”

If you wear glasses, you know that the combination of a mask and spectacles is a recipe for foggy frustration. For tips on eliminating this problem, check out “5 Ways to Keep Glasses From Fogging When Wearing a Mask.”

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