Is wearing a face mask enough? No. You must wear a clean mask for optimal protection. Dirty masks do not just increase the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus but also other infections. It is required to sterilize your masks regularly to ensure that they are clean. Health experts around the globe are vouching for fabric masks or homemade masks as these aren’t harsh on the skin which surgical masks are. Also, cleaning them is comparatively easier. Know the easiest ways to sterilize your masks in this article.
How often should we clean the masks?
Make sure to not leave your house without masking your face. If it is possible, cover your entire face with a scarf. Wearing a mask is a mandate to not contract with the deadly coronavirus. Prevention is the only solution currently to escape this global pandemic.
It is suggested that we must clean the mask after every use. If not single-use, you must sterilize it daily. Keep 2-3 masks to use in rotation. This would not only give you options but is also good for your skin.
Methods for Fabric Mask Cleaning At Home
Here are some easy and effective ways to clean and sterilize your fabric masks and ready them for reuse. Note that these methods are suitable for fabric or cloth masks only. Surgical masks are not supposed to be cleaned with these.
- The easiest method to clean your cloth mask is boiling.
- In a pan, bring water to a boil and put the dirty face masks in it. Boil them for 5-6 minutes and then strain.
- You may add a few drops of Dettol or a clinical disinfectant for better results.
However, there is a downside of this method that after a few rounds of boiling, the cloth may start to damage. Just like how frequent washing affects the quality of cloth, this may shrink the mask. It is better to discard a mask after 10-15 boils.
Also Read: DIY Face Masks To Prevent Coronavirus
Spin in a washing machine
If you have a pile of dirty clothes to be washed, add the dirty masks with the laundry. However, do not wash masks with clothes worn inside the house. Keep the load separately- worn outside and worn inside. Wash them separately to prevent any infection. Wash your masks with the outside clothes. Pour some disinfectant while washing the laundry and always wash them with warm or hot water. Detergent works best with hot water to kill the virus and bacteria as most of them get inactivated at high temperatures.
Hot water and bleach
Another way to sterilize your face masks without boiling them is by putting them in a solution of hot water and bleach.
- Make a solution with bleaching powder and hot or warm water in a 1:4 ratio.
- Soak your dirty face masks in this solution for 5 minutes and then wash with normal water to get rid of the leftover bleach on the cloth.
- Dry in sunlight and the use.
The combination is the best
For best results, use all the aforesaid methods as one. First, boil the masks. Then, put them in a bleaching solution and then spin in the washing machine. Though, this would impact the quality of the cloth. Do this one once in a week.
Right storage is important
Sanitization may be done but to keep them safe, you must store the sterilized masks in a zip lock bag until use. This adds extra protection.
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