Proper Cleaning and Storing of Your Reusable Masks
The growth of the protective face mask market went up by 400% in 2020. Because of the pandemic, massive quantities of coverings were made available to stores and pharmacies. Now, these products are a vital commodity.
But, the high dependence on face masks has sparked numerous questions. How do I clean the mask? Is there a right way to store it? Here, we will show you all you need to know to make the most of your coverings.
How to Clean a Reusable Mask – The Right Way
Regardless of the type of mask you purchase, appropriate cleaning, disposal, and use are vital to ensure that the covering remains as effective as possible. This is to prevent transmission, experts explain.
Reusable coverings should be washed at least daily or whenever they get dirty. You have two cleaning options:
- By hand – Washing the mask by hand is a practical way of removing any of the pathogens. You would need to use tap water with soap or laundry detergent and scrub it by hand. After leathering it with soap, use clean water to rinse and remove the soap.
- In a washing machine – For a more practical way, it’s a good idea to wash the mask with your regular laundry. This is a popular option that can save you time. Check the fabric label for the appropriate setting before you wash the mask.
Lastly, dry the mask in a dryer or let it air dry completely before use. Do not use the mask while it’s still soaking wet. Wet surfaces can be a breeding ground for bacteria, research shows.
How to Store a Reusable Mask?
You’ll most likely find yourself stashing the covering in your bag, pocket, or glove compartment. As long as it’s within reach, you are good to go. But that’s not the case. What you’re doing could cause a problem.
When you put the used masks in your pocket, and that mask was in contact with a pathogen, it can contaminate your hand and everything else you put in that pocket. Odds are the mask will contaminate the garment itself. The exact same thing applies to bags or gloves compartments.
Storing a Wet Used Mask
Moisture makes the covering porous. As a result, all masks are potentially vulnerable in damp weather, explained the former chief of WHO’s cancer program, Karol Sikora.
According to the CDC, the best way to store a visibly soiled and wet mask is to put it in a plastic bag. Carry a plastic bag with you and seal the mask if it gets dirty from makeup, saliva, sweat, and other components. Wet coverings are difficult to breathe through and lose their efficiency.
Storing a Dry Mask
If the mask is dry, remove it from the face, wash and dry your hands, and take a breathable bag. Options like mesh fabric or paper bags are great for temporary storage. Use these bags to store the mask and keep it clean and dry between uses. When reusing the mask, make sure you are positioning the same side of the mask facing out.
If you still want to use the pocket for storing the masks, make sure the covering is completely dry without any makeup or stain residue. Also, put the mask back on with the exact same side facing out as you did before you stored it in the pocket.
We wear face masks every day. But, without proper guidance on how to store and clean the masks, it becomes difficult to fend off the virus. Now that you know the practical ways of keeping the covering nice and clean, you can reduce the risk of transmission and the odds of contracting the disease.
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