There are some basic hygiene rules when using face masks that don’t seem to be widely shared. Please help educate the public on how to safely use homemade masks! These are tips compiled through online research and speaking with local doctors.
Put on and remove your mask by touching the elastic or ties
Wash your mask after every single use
Store your mask in a paper bag between washings
Wear cotton or linen masks or face coverings
Continue to wash your hands and practice social distancing
Touch the front of your mask
Toss your mask in your purse or on a countertop
Store your mask in a plastic bag
Use polyester or spandex fabric to cover your face
Assume your mask protects your completely from the virus
WEAR YOUR MASK: The more people who wear them, the safer we will all be! Masks are not recommended for exercise as they could compromise your air flow, but should be worn to grocery stores or on essential errands.
DON’T TOUCH YOUR MASK: If your mask is working, the virus could potentially sit on the surface of your face mask. For this reason, NEVER touch the front of your mask! Doing so just transfers the virus to your hands and whatever you touch from there.
WASH YOUR MASK: Your mask should be washed after every single use. Never take the mask off and then put it back on again. Hand-washing in warm soapy water is fine between machine washings.
AVOID CONTACT WITH SURFACES: Never fold up your mask and put it in a purse or set it on a countertop for reuse later. This can transfer the virus to the contents of your purse (phone, keys, wallet) or to your countertops / table tops.
STORE YOUR MASK: Store your mask in a paper bag between washings rather than plastic. This allows air circulation for the mask to “dry out” and is advised by the hospitals that are sterilizing and reusing masks.
MATERIALS FOR MAKS: Use masks made from cotton or linen fabric.Polyester fabric is quite literally plastic that is liquified, spun into fine threads, and then woven into fabric. We know the virus can live for 2-3 days on plastics so it makes sense it would live this at least this long on polyester fabric. Spandex has been shown to harbor the virus the longest so do not use fabric blended with lycra or spandex for face masks.
Basically, treat your worn mask like a pair of worn underwear. You probably wouldn’t re-wear your dirty panties or throw them on your countertop! Don’t do this with your mask either!