How to Properly Clean Your Face Covering and More

April 24th, 2020

As several states have already mandated the use of face coverings at essential businesses for both employees and customers, the CDC continues to recommend wearing a face covering while in any social setting such as supermarkets and pharmacies.

For those who don’t have professions that require surgical or N-95 masks, the CDC has shared do-it-yourself instructions to help create a mask with materials you have at home such as a t-shirt or bandana.

Since wearing masks is new to most of us, we’ve pulled together recommendations from the CDC and other sources to help answer a few of the most common questions.

What is the most effective way to clean my mask, and how often?

There are a lot of rumors out there including using peroxide solution (which can actually destroy fibers in the mask) to putting it in the microwave which are strongly discouraged.

According to the CDC, the most effective way to wash and disinfect a mask is in a regular washing machine with your laundry. They should be routinely washed based on frequency of use.

How often is routinely? Some sources suggest after each wear so it may be worth having a few masks available.

How do I know if my mask fits?

In order for a mask to be effective, it must be worn properly:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against both sides of your face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for regular breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
Is there a correct way to take it on/off?

Actually, yes. It is very important to make sure your hands are clean before putting the mask on. While taking it off, be sure to not touch your eyes, nose or mouth, and then wash your hands immediately afterwards.

Likewise, it’s important to avoid touching your mask while wearing it as well. If you do need to touch it to adjust, wash your hands afterwards before touching other surfaces.

How should I store my mask while not wearing it?

The CDC recommends storing your masks in a paper bag so that it does not become contaminated on another surface while you are not wearing it.

For more information on how to create or properly wear face coverings, please refer to the CDC website at www.cdc.gov.