Face masks have been part of our lives for a little over a year and hopefully, not for much longer. Masks add a necessary layer of protection, especially when we are outside the confines of our own homes, running errands, seeing friends, exercising, shopping, etc. But how often must we wash our reusable face coverings to maintain health and safety?

 The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s reminder is simple: “wash your cloth mask whenever it gets dirty or at least daily. If you have a disposable face mask, throw it away after wearing it once.” Certainly, surgical masks are disposable. Many people, however, use cloth masks for economical and practical reasons. It’s important to understand how to wash these face masks before reusing them. 

Why do you need to wash your face mask?

Non-disposable and non-medical face masks should be treated like any clothing garment. They can be contaminated or stained easily. Without regular washing—using your own washers/dryers or by enlisting the help of professional laundry services in Los Angeles such as OrangeBag—pollutants or contaminants left in the mask can contaminate other surfaces.

Disinfect. Especially in this global pandemic situation that we’re all facing, if the mask carries the virus, any particles can virally be transmitted to your hands and then to other surfaces your hands come to contact with. 

Keep it clean. You don’t want to put on a dirty face mask that touches both your mouth and nose, right? Sweat stains, food particles, and other dirt buildups due to oily skin from wearing the mask can cause face/acne breakouts or irritate your face and skin. 

Comfort. Washing your face mask regularly ensures you have fresh and clean ones to use whenever you need to. It’s not a good feeling when you’re wearing a greasy smelly face mask. Imagine sleeping on fresh bedsheets, that’s quite like the feeling I get when I wear a fresh face mask. It’s supposed to protect and keep you safe.

How do you wash your face mask?

Soap and water are a good option whenever washing masks by hand. Wash and fold laundry services in Los Angeles, such as OrangeBag, commercial washers, and dryers that thoroughly clean used cloth face masks and completely kill any viruses and contaminants. OrangeBag also offers the option of adding laundry sanitizer to your laundry to ensure that 99.9% of the viruses are eliminated. 

How often do you need to wash your face mask?

Depending on the fabric used, cloth face masks can be washed as often as needed. The CDC recommends daily washing and drying, and we like those recommendations so that we can all maintain health and safety. 

It is also important to remember that disposable surgical masks are non-washable and for single use only. They must be properly disposed of after every use.

How do you keep your cloth face mask clean?

Avoid Touching Your Face 

The rule of thumb is to never touch the outward-facing part of the mask. It goes without saying that the inward-facing part to which your nose and mouth are exposed should always be kept clean. To do this, you should be conscious of the surfaces you touch and disinfect them as soon as you can so that when it’s time for you to wear and remove your face mask, you limit the risk of cross-contamination.

No Sharing

Unfortunately, this is not a good time to share. Face masks are for personal use only and should never be shared with anyone, even with close family members.  

Store Properly

There are many products available now on the market for face mask storage. But it’s also quite simple: after washing your mask, make sure it is completely dry, and store it in a resealable, plastic bag. 

Better Safe Than Sorry

Anytime you’re in a crowded space, you expose yourself to a certain level of risk. But humans are social animals, and we need to be surrounded by our friends and loved ones to strike a lifestyle balance. 

Wear your mask when you’re in public while surrounded by crowds and always keep your masks clean. Hopefully, the worst days of this Pandemic are behind us. We can all see the light at the end of this long tunnel that we entered in the early part of 2020 (fingers crossed) and the best of 2021 is yet to come.