How Often Should Reusable Face Masks Be Washed
Advice relating to how often you should wash your face mask varies depending on where you look. In order for reusable face masks to work effectively they should be washed regularly, ideally between each use, or only used once in the case of disposable masks. This is because the virus can stay active on the fabric for long periods if it gets there.
As face masks have become part of our daily lives that means you could be getting through a lot of disposable face masks, especially if you have a busy schedule that requires lots of trips to public places. This is one of the key reasons why reusable face masks are so important as they are able to dramatically reduce waste.
If you choose to use reusable face masks you will most likely need at least two so that you can have one to wear and one in the wash, although many people will find they need more than this so they can have a clean reusable face mask daily without needing to wash one every night.
Guidance varies but it seems that ideally reusable face masks should be washed between uses. This might not be possible in all situations but making sure you take it off and put it in the laundry at the end of the day ensures regular washing, especially if you are using it multiple times in a day.
However if you feel like your reusable face mask might have been contaminated, for example, if someone coughs near you on the bus or in a shop, then you will probably wish to practice extra caution. This would mean taking the mask off carefully and putting it in a sealed bag ready to be washed rather than reusing it for the rest of the day.
How to wash reusable face masks
Most reusable face masks can be washed in the washing machine with your regular washing. You don’t need to worry about washing them with other clothes although you may prefer to use an unscented washing powder if you find the fragrance intense when it’s so close to your nose and mouth.
It’s a good idea to use the hottest water setting you can that is suitable for the fabric as this will help to kill any harmful viruses or bacteria. And if you are using a filter make sure you remove this before washing. Some filters can be hand washed but most are disposable and should be replaced every few days depending on how often you use your reusable face mask.
You can also hand wash your reusable face masks. The easiest way to do this is to mix up a bleach solution, just make sure it is suitable for the fabric especially if your reusable face mask is coloured or patterned, and soak for five minutes before rinsing and drying. Alternatively, soap and water will do the job.
Drying your masks is best done in the tumble dryer if you have one or outside in the sunshine. If you are using the dryer choosing the hottest setting will help kill any remaining nasties that might have survived the wash. You should make sure your mask is completely dry before you wear it.
Next Up: How Many Reusable Face Masks Do I Need