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How to Wash Your Cloth Face Mask

How to Wash Your Face Masks

Wearing a face mask is required to enter any establishment now. If you are an essential worker, you are most likely wearing one all day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have explained that cleanliness is key to staying healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. How to wash your cloth face masks is as simple as using soap and water in the washing machine or sink.

 

How to Wash Your Face Masks

What it isn’t is just throwing them in the washing machine or soaking them in the sink. You must sanitize your face mask while also not damaging the fabric. Avoid common laundering mistakes to keep your mask and peace of mind intact.

Your face mask should have a filter and be washed after each use. Filters prevent you from breathing in airborne contaminants. You don’t need to buy a wildly expensive mask to protect yourself.

A filter can be made from a coffee filter or a paper towel. Besides breathing in impure air, you have to consider that moisture from your breath, sweat, oils and makeup can clog your face mask, leading to bacteria growing on it.

 

 

How to Wash Your Face Masks

 

 

Throw away the paper towel or coffee filter as soon as you walk in the door – no excuses. Reusing your DIY filters decreases their effectiveness, defeating the intention of wearing a face covering.

Using hot water may increase your electric bill, so try to wash all your worn face masks at once. If you want, you can also wash bath towels, bedsheets and kitchen towels in the same load. The hot water will prevent any cross-contamination.

 

How to Wash Your Face Masks

Your machine may not have a sanitize cycle, so turn the dial to hot. Pull items straight out of the washer and put them into the dryer. Make sure that each face mask is completely dry.

Hand-washing your mask

You may live alone or only have one face mask and cannot justify running a load of laundry each time your mask needs to be sanitized. Wash it as you would your undergarments. Try to use detergent, but hand soap also works.

Steps:

  1. Soak the mask.
  2. Pump the soap onto the material.
  3. Rub vigorously.
  4. Soak again in hot water for 30 minutes.
  5. Rinse.
  6. Turn on your hairdryer and go to town to dry it.

 

How to Wash Clothe Face Masks

 

 

The finishing touch

To be extra thorough, consider ironing your masks on an appropriate setting for the type of fabric to kill any lingering germs and help the masks retain their shape.

Once your cloth face masks are dry, press them with a hot iron. Doing so will kill germs lingering in the washing machine or sink.

 

How to Wash Clothe Face Masks

 

 

 

Once done, put your masks in a clean bag to carry in your purse or pocket.

Keep in mind that washing your face mask too much will break down the fabric, allowing particles in. Some materials might also shrink. If using t-shirts, use pre-shrunk cotton. Try to buy another one in case there is a tear.

Disinfect your washer and dryer

Washing your masks is a must. However, most people do not think of cleaning their washer and dryer. Clearing out the lint trap is not enough; you should be disinfecting your machines as much as possible. This is especially true if someone in your house is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

 

How to Wash Clothe Face Masks

 

 

Some stubborn pathogens can thrive in your washing machine.

 

Tools

Rubber gloves

Scrub brush

Cleaning cloths

Old towels

Bucket

 

Materials

Chlorine bleach, pine oil cleaner, or cleaning powder

Water

 

Sanitizing with bleach

What can soil your machine?

  • Contaminant buildup
  • Detergent residue
  • Fabric softener

Cleaning a washer with bleach flushes bacteria that could get embedded into your clothes. In more certain times, this can result in odor, but the bigger concern now is contamination. Do a special cleaning to sanitize your washer.

Steps

  1. Clear out the machine.
  2. Set the water temperature to as hot as it will go.
  3. Pour 1 cup of bleach into the drum.
  4. Turn the dial to a full cycle.
  5. Once done, inspect the washer for any debris.
  6. Mix ¼ cup bleach and 1 quart water.
  7. Dip a brush in the solution then scrub rubber seals, gaskets, the door and lid.
  8. Run the spin cycle again.
  9. Wipe down the exterior of the washer.

 

Sanitizing Without Bleach 

You don’t have to use bleach. However, keep in mind that oxygen-based cleaning products do not disinfect. Consider pine oil or phenolic disinfectants.

Steps

  1. Clear out the machine.
  2. Set the water temperature to as hot as it will go.
  3. Pour 1 cup of pine oil cleaner into the drum.
  4. Turn the dial to a full cycle.
  5. Once done, inspect the washer for debris.
  6. Mix ¼ cup pine oil cleanser and 1 quart water.
  7. Dip a brush in the solution and scrub rubber seals, gaskets, the door and lid.
  8. Run the spin cycle.
  9. Wipe down the exterior of the washer.

 

How to Wash Clothe Face Masks

 

Warning: Do NOT mix bleach and other disinfectants. You can damage your health and create a hazard for your household.

 

How to Wash Clothe Face Masks

 

Sanitizing a dryer

Cross-contamination is a real risk if laundry has not been properly cleaned. Driers must be disinfected to be effective during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Put on gloves.
  2. Toss out any lint that has collected.
  3. Mix ¼ cup of chlorine bleach and 1 quart water.
  4. Wipe down the drum and exterior.

 

Non-bleach sanitation

  1. Put on gloves.
  2. Toss out any lint that has collected.
  3. Mix ¼ cup of pine oil and 1 quart water.
  4. Wipe down the drum and exterior.

Make sure to keep your face mask as clean as possible and maintain six feet of social distance. We are all in this situation together. Q Link Wireless is honored to serve low-income families with hotspot capabilities via 3 Gigs of high-speed data, plus unlimited talk and text. Our mission is to provide consistent and reliable communications as we overcome the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic as a nation.