We’re all doing our part to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and with disposable masks in short supply, that’s where reusable masks come into play. Whether you’ve purchased masks from a vendor or are working DIY magic, let’s talk about how to clean your mask.
Yes, Washing Machines Will Kill the Coronavirus
Thankfully, washing your masks doesn’t have to be difficult. You can simply toss your masks in with your dirty clothes and let the washing machine do the rest. The water in your machine can reach the recommended heat requirement for killing viruses (167F/75C) along with almost any detergent. So, skip the cool or cold settings for sure and dry your masks on a high heat setting.
It’s important to note that while fabric face masks can be safely washed at home, you should not wash disposable masks made from non-woven fibers, KN95 or N95. Exposure to water and cleaning products can destroy fibers and damage the filtration system making them lose their ability to work effectively.
Should You Use Bleach?
We don’t recommend it. Bleach is great for sanitizing high-touch, hard surfaces around your home, disinfecting toys or cleaning your towels and bedding linens but not exactly face masks. Chemicals like bleach should not be used on any item that will be worn on your face and potentially inhaled. That means no Lysol spray, Clorox wipes and other disinfectants either.
How Often Should You Clean Your Mask?
Honestly? Every time you wear one out in public, you should be prepared to clean it, but it does really depend on the frequency of use. With an occasional quick trip to the grocery store, you can probably get away with washing your masks weekly. If your masks are visibly dirty or you believe you may have come into contact with someone with COVID-19 symptoms, safely remove your mask and wash it immediately. Ease some of the washing burden by keeping multiple masks on hand.
Looking for more information on cloth masks? Check out the CDC’s latest recommendations here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html