Keep Your Face Mask Clean

Health care specialists everywhere across the world have recommended and emphasized on the use of face masks due to Covid-19, the pandemic which has held the world in its clutch since the end of 2019. We all need to act on this along with other everyday preventive measures like hand washing and social distancing. You certainly must have also bought these face masks for yourself and your family’s protection. They can last a while if you take care of them and clean them properly after use. There are a few tips to follow as you do so.

First of all, it is suggested that you have at least two face masks so that if one is in the wash you can have the other one on hand to use in case you need to go out for an important errand.

Can fabric face masks be washed?

Fabric face masks can be and should be washed at home after every use. They can be reused for a long time until the fabric is torn out or the mask does not fit the face of the mask wearer. It is very easy to wash these masks at home. You can wash them along with your laundry with a heavy-duty detergent or you can add a disinfectant for extra caution. Moreover, you can prepare your bleach solution at home by using the following method.

  1. 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) household bleach per gallon of room temperature water
  2. 4 teaspoons household bleach per quart of room temperature water

 Make sure your bleach is intended for disinfection. Not every bleach solution has disinfecting properties. Some bleach products are meant for safe use on colored clothes so those are not meant for disinfection. Also, make sure that the bleach solution you are using has not expired because, in case of expiration, it would not function as a disinfectant. Moreover, keep the mask soaked in the bleach solution for about 5 minutes before you rinse it. For rinsing purposes, you can use water of room temperature or cold water. Use an ample amount of water to wash it so that the mask is free of any remnants of bleach so that it does not cause any problem for your skin.

You can also wash the fabric mask with soap but keeping in mind that you keep it lathered up while rubbing for twenty seconds. Or, you can also keep the masks in a paper bag and leave it preferably near a window. Let it stay there for 2 days at least before you reuse it. In the duration of this period, the mask will dry up and the virus which might be present on it will become inactive. The facemask will be available for reuse without any fear of a lingering virus. But use this method only if you own a couple of masks because you would need one at hand ready for use if an emergency arises.

Can KN95 or N95 masks be washed?

No, KN95 or N95 face masks cannot be washed at home. These masks are made from non-woven fibers. These fibers get destroyed on exposure with an excess of water or detergents. The carbon filtration system of N95 respirators gets damaged so the masks become dysfunctional. They are also called as disposable masks because you can only use them up to 5 times or less in case of any sort of early damage or excessive soiling. Studies are being carried out on finding a way to clean these face masks at home.

Sanitizing your face mask

Sanitizers make for the new liquid gold during this COVID19 time. They are efficient for disinfecting our hands when we are out and about for our daily chores. However, when it comes to sanitizing your masks, it is not so great an option. Sanitizers are expensive and in order to disinfectant your masks completely, you will need to use a lot of the product. This will cost you a lot in the longer run. Not to worry because thanks to modern technology, we have smarter solutions now. This is where the UV-C handheld sterilization wand comes in handy. This device is the ultimate help you need during these stressful times. The UV-C light disinfects face masks very efficiently and very quickly. The device is rechargeable and portable so you can keep it with yourself at all times. This makes for an investment that is not just satisfactory but also a lasting one. You can also use it for other household items that need to be disinfected like your cell phone, etc. No rocket science, just the pressing of a single button, and the job gets done

Heating methods

Multiple methods of disinfecting the masks have surfaced in the course of the past months. Heating constitutes an important one out of these. It is an effective technique to kill the virus but when it comes to face masks, there are factors of damage to the mask involved in this too. Some have suggested boiling, some claim ironing while some microwaving. The problem here is that not all masks can bear the high temperature because the material gets degraded. There are certain limitations of temperature tolerance for the kinds of material these masks are made of so be mindful of that.

How to dry face masks

Drying is also an important part of the process of cleaning a face mask. Cloth face masks are supposed to be dried on the highest heat cycle/setting if you are using an automatic dryer. Let it dry completely in the dryer before you take it out. If not a dryer, the face masks should be kept directly under the sunlight on a drying rack

It is of significance that we educate ourselves on all the important aspects of using face masks. It is something that has become a part of our daily lives since the lockdown period is over now and life has resumed with a new normal. Make sure you have the essentials to carry out your routine tasks while following the necessary SOPs. If not, do not delay and head over to to get yourself a few masks right away.

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