After almost a full year into a global pandemic that our generation is experiencing for the first (and hopefully the last) time, we have certainly had to adjust to many new ''norms.'' While we are still unsure exactly how long it will take before the novel coronavirus finally becomes a part of history, we may be proud to contribute to safety measures that are helping reduce the spread of this deadly disease.
Today, masks have become part of our daily apparel. Billions of people worldwide have swiftly gotten used to wearing them as they have proven to be one of the most powerful weapons we have to decrease, prevent and stop the spread of the coronavirus. If you happen to be using one of our designer masks for your everyday use, it is important to know exactly how you can keep them clean and functional.
Please find instructions below for the care and cleaning of everyday cotton masks and some other tips we think you should pay attention to when handling your masks to ensure longevity. Follow these tips before you purchase your next set of facemasks online.
While we may have quickly grown accustomed to this new mask requirement, many still do not know the proper way to handle their masks, so let’s start with the basics! We encourage you to take the tips found below seriously to ensure proper and long-term use.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and after wearing a mask. If possible, masks should only be handled by the edges or the straps. Avoid touching the inside.
- Make sure that the mouth and nose protection of the mask fits as closely as possible.
- When wearing a mask, a lot of moisture quickly collects in the material. In general, make sure that the mouth guard dries or is cleaned quickly and well. Therefore, do not store it in a closed container without cleaning (for example, in a box) as viruses, germs, and bacteria survive longer in such conditions.
- While wearing, do not pull your mask over your chin, and do not place your mask on a chair, for example, if you want to use it again shortly.
- When cleaning your mask, you should not use disinfectants or other chemical agents. These can be toxic to the wearer if misused, and the material can become damaged, which will harm functionality.
- NEVER share your mask with other people. Yes, even the close ones.
Now that you know how to handle your masks correctly, it's time to dive deeper into ensuring that they are safe for everyday use. For this, you need to follow a regular cleaning routine. Here are some methods that you may follow:
- Method 1 - Wash in a Washing Machine
Masks made of sturdy material can be washed in a washing machine. Like most dirt and soil, viruses don't like soap suds nor a washing machine's agitation. We recommend washing masks in washing machines at around 60 degrees. Homemade reusable masks, in particular, can easily bear higher temperatures. Should you be worried the wash cycle has not killed all pathogens, we recommend putting your mask(s) in the dryer on high heat for about five to 10 minutes.
- Method 2 – Place in the Oven
To kill the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the oven is particularly suitable, especially for sensitive masks. Preheat the oven to 80 degrees for 10 minutes and place your mask(s) in it for nearly 30 minutes. The heat will eliminate all viruses, germs, and bacteria on the mask's surface without damaging the fabric.
- Method 3 - Gently Iron
Ironing is also well suited for disinfecting fabric masks. Depending on the fabric, the masks only need to be ironed for a few minutes. We recommend that you treat areas where the fabric is turned over with particular care.
Bonus Tips: Q&A's
When it comes to ensuring complete safety against the coronavirus, no amount of mask cleaning is too much.
Here are some of our most frequently asked questions about caring for masks with informative answers to help guide you:
How long do viruses last on the cloth of a mask?
Cloth masks are usually dry, which means that viruses can survive for a while. A study done in 2020 found the COVID-19 virus on the surface of uncleaned clothing well after 2 days. In other words, NEVER compromise on keeping your masks clean.
At what temperature do I have to wash my cloth mask?
You can kill the coronavirus at most washing machines or faucet temperatures if you make sure to add a standard household detergent to the wash. Soap dissolves the fat membrane of the virus, causing it to fall apart. As a general guide, however, we do recommend laundering in temperatures closer to 60 degrees.
How many masks should you have?
A mask is only necessary when in contact with someone within 1.5 meters or less. The recommendation given is that most masks be changed every 2 hours to reduce the risk of infection through a moisture invasion. However, a self-sewn cover can protect for an entire day if all safety measures are properly followed. Depending on your activity and quality of mask(s), 2-5 masks may be necessary.
Can disposable masks be used multiple times?
In short, yes, but only if you take proper care of them. These masks should only be used for no more than 2 hours and need an adequate amount of time between use to properly dry.
Let us all do our part in staying safe so that we can get through these trying times together!