COVID-19 has really changed the way people live. Most of our habits have given way to new ones to adjust to the new normal. Because of the nature of the illness, experts have released multiple recommendations to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19. The three most important and basic pieces of advice are for people to practice social distancing, frequently wash their hands, and lastly and more importantly, always wear a face mask when going out in public. COVID-19 travels through moisture droplets that can pass in the air between people that re too close, getting either in your mouth or your nose and airways. Face masks work by preventing this exchange.
Making Your Own Mask
While there are disposable masks, most people prefer to have cloth masks to reuse. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) strongly recommends the use of a cloth mask for the general public, especially in places where there is little to no social distancing. While you can easily buy cloth face masks from different stores, you also have the option of making one for yourself. There are several tutorials online, including the one provided by the CDC. Whatever the case may be, the most important thing is that it follows the requirements set by the CDC for face masks. However, whether you made it or bought it, you need to know how to wash a face mask if you mean to reuse it.
How to Clean a Face Mask
Aside from using a face mask, the next most important thing is cleaning it and making sure that it is disinfected, if it’s not disposable. You can either opt to hand wash or machine wash. Whatever you use, make sure that you are wearing gloves, and refrain from touching any part of your face.
How to Wash a Face Mask: Hand Wash vs. Machine Wash
When washing by hand, the first thing to do is to find a bleach that is intended for disinfection and contains sodium hypochlorite strictly within the range of 5.25%–8.25%. Also, you have to make sure that the bleach is not expired, and never mix it with any other cleanser. After getting the right bleach, prepare a solution with room temperature water at the mixture ratio of 5 tablespoons of bleach to a gallon of water. Once you have the solution, soak your cloth face mask in it for at least five minutes. Afterward, rinse your face mask thoroughly and make sure that it is completely dry before use.
Using Bleach Safely
Because hand washing requires the use of bleach, which is a harmful substance, you have to take some precautionary measures. Here are some helpful tips in using bleach safely:
- Always read the label and follow the instructions.
- Protect your skin and your eyes from possible splashes with gloves and glasses.
- Pick out the right bleach for your clothes because the wrong one could damage them.
- Only use room temperature water when making a mixture, unless another temperature is recommended on the label.
- After using, make sure to store it safely away from children.
Most want to know how to wash a face mask by machine thanks to its greater ease. Admittedly, hand washing can be more of a hassle and take up more of your time. So, you could instead put your face mask into a mesh wash bag and include it in your regular laundry. In this case, you can use your regular laundry detergent and set the temperature of the water to the warmest allowable setting for the cloth used in the mask. After doing so, using the same mesh wash bag, place your face mask in an air dryer, and use high heat.
Wearing a mask is only the first step to keeping yourself safe in the time of COVID-19. However, more than wearing one, you should know how to clean a face mask properly and do this regularly. As they say, prevention is always better than cure. Should you want to ensure that your face masks are washed properly, you can bring them to us at Kelly’s. We offer a wide range of Durango laundry services, including thorough washing and disinfecting!