Wearing face masks in public is now a required mandate in many states. COVID-19 is spread mainly through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Because new studies are finding that many people with coronavirus are asymptomatic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend wearing face coverings when in public to slow the spread. 

Some studies have found that wearing masks is the most effective way to control person-to-person spread. Places that were hit hard by the virus, like Italy and New York, have seen infection rates flatten after mandatory mask mandates were put in place.

However, face masks are only effective if worn and handled properly. As COVID is capable of living on surfaces, there are certain measures we should be taking to properly care for our masks.

Can face masks be washed?

Cloth masks, bandanas, and other cloth face coverings can be washed in the laundry or by hand. Disposable masks cannot and should be thrown away after use. 

Are face mask filters reusable? Can mask filters be washed? 

Some reusable masks include filters, which can further eliminate the spread of coronavirus. These filters either need to be washed with each use or replaced. As they’re quite delicate, it’s best to wash these by hand. Each wash will render the filter less effective. Note that most filters are meant for one-time use.

How often should you clean a mask?

When you wear a mask to go out in public, there’s a risk that the mask could be contaminated. According to the Mayo Clinic and the CDC, masks should be washed after each day of use. 

You may benefit from having a few face masks and rotating their use with your laundry cycle. With our face masks, you can have a cute mask design each day!

What’s the best way to clean a cloth face mask?

Cloth masks can be put in the washer or be washed by hand. If using a washing machine, use the warmest appropriate heat setting for the fabric. Masks can be air-dried or put into the dryer on high heat.

Since face masks should be washed frequently, it’s likely you’ll be doing a bit of hand washing. Use soap and hot water, scrubbing the mask for at least 20 seconds. Rinse with hot or warm water. 

How should masks be properly stored?

Wash your hands before removing your mask. When you remove it, carefully fold it in half so that the outside layer is folded against itself. Be careful not to touch your face, and immediately clean your hands. Store in a new paper bag or other clean container. Masks should not be stored in a purse or pocket.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • It’s important to wear your mask properly. It should fit over your nose and under your chin. The fit should be snug but comfortable.
  • The outside of the mask is considered the dirty side. Make sure it’s clear which side of your mask is which.
  • Make sure to always use proper hand hygiene before and after handling a mask. 
  • Avoid touching your face and face covering. The best practice is to handle your cloth mask by the ear loops or ties.
  • Keep more than one mask so you have a backup while the other masks are in the wash.
  • Help reduce any acne by wearing a clean mask and washing your face twice a day.