Face masks are part of our daily lives now more than ever. With the circumstances brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to keep ourselves and the people around us safer by wearing a face mask, taking additional preventive measures, and social distancing in public.
Since surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies for the health care workers and other first responders, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of cloth face masks for non-frontliner people who just want to do their part in staying safe and stopping the spread.
The way we handle the face masks that we use when we go outside also plays a critical role in stopping the spread. In fact, masks should be washed properly after every use. In this article, we’re breaking down the proper way to wash cloth face masks at home, as recommended by the CDC¹:
- Prepare a bleach solution by mixing 4 teaspoons of household bleach per quart of room temperature water.
- Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection. Some bleach products, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing, may not be suitable for disinfection. Ensure the bleach product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
- Soak the mask in the bleach solution for 5 minutes. This step makes sure that you’re getting rid of all the things that need to be eliminated.
- Rinse thoroughly with cool or room temperature water.
- Lay flat and allow to completely dry. If possible, place the mask in direct sunlight.
You may take additional steps after the bleach soak to ensure that your mask smells good. After all, it covers your nose every time you use it. Use a laundry detergent that suits your needs. Since most detergents get the job done, find one in particular that has a smell you like and doesn’t cause a bad reaction on your skin.
Stay healthy and keep safe! We’ll all get through this together.