Wearing a face mask in public to help slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 is now recommended to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is basically our first line protection against contracting the disease.
These tips are adapted from the Centre of Disease Control and will give you guidance on how to manage and care for your cotton face mask:
How to wear your fabric face mask?
Fabric face coverings should:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
• Be secured with ties or ear loops.
• Include multiple layers of fabric.
• Allow for breathing without restriction.
• Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
How often should fabric face coverings be washed or otherwise cleaned?
Cloth face coverings should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use. Center for Disease Control recommends that cloth face coverings be washed after every day of use. If you are wearing your mask all day it will need to be changed when it becomes moist. Therefore, you may need to have several masks.
How do I store my fabric mask?
Masks should not be placed in pockets for later use. To store or transport, carefully fold the mask so the contaminated outside is folded inward and against itself. Place in clean or new paper bag and perform hand hygiene after handling it.
How can I safely clean a fabric face covering?
Machine washing or hand washing should suffice to properly wash a cloth face covering with regular laundry detergent. Mayo Clinic recommends a ‘hot’ water temperature for washing face coverings. If possible dry in the sunshine.
How do I safely remove a used fabric face covering?
When removing a cloth face covering, be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth, and perform hand hygiene immediately after removing.
How long do I have to wear each mask for before changing to a new one?
There is no set time, nor recommended number of masks you should use each day. It all depends on what you are doing. Once your mask becomes moist it is recommended you change it.
However, if your mask gets dirty, wet or damaged, or if you touch the inside of it, then you should change to a new one (following the steps above).
When you take it off to eat or drink, you should replace the old mask, wash or sanitise your hands, and replace it with a new one once you have finished eating.
If you have a cough it is recommended you change you mask often so as not to reinfect yourself.
Facemasks alone can’t prevent COVID-19
- ALWAYS wash your hands immediately after you take off a mask. Use soap and water, if possible, or alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you are not near a sink.
- Don’t handle your facemask and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Change your facemask whenever it gets moist. Never wear a mask for longer than one day.
- Cloth facemasks may be laundered using hot water, but disposable facemasks can be used just once and then thrown away.
Whether you are using a cotton or disposable face masks please handle it correctly and dispose of it in the correct manner. Used facial masks can be contaminated and it is the users responsibility for their disposal.