In the middle of this global pandemic, when many things are uncertain, we’re all learning more about masks and personal protective equipment. Some masks are disposable. Others can be washed. The CDC recommends wearing reusable cloth face coverings “in public settings, and when around people who don’t live in your household.” This is an additional step to help slow the spread of COVID-19, along with washing hands, sanitizing surfaces, and maintaining 6 feet distance apart.
You should remember to wash your cloth face mask after each use. If you don’t know how to do this, the CDC has got you covered, princess. They posted a helpful guide online.
You can actually wash your mask with your regular laundry. Don’t forget regular laundry detergent. Put it on the warmest water setting. If you want to do it by hand, you’ll need to prepare a bleach solution. You can use a mixture of 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) household bleach per gallon of room temperature water or 4 teaspoons household bleach per quart of room temperature water.
Soak a face mask for 5 minutes then rinse thoroughly with cool or room temperature water and make sure it’s completely dry before using it again. Line dry it in direct sunlight or use a hair dryer.
Lately, I’ve noticed many people wearing cloth face masks that match their outfits. As someone interested in fashion, I think this is pretty stylish, but if there’s a shortage of masks in your area, you might want to start out with just one color or design! Your sole mask makes a statement that is even more powerful than color matching. It shows that you’re mindful about public health.
It’s important to follow all of the practices outlined by health authorities but the word “bleach” may have given you pause. If you bought a cloth mask and you’re in love with its cute pattern, you might be afraid of ruining it. No worries there. Golemi-Kotra, an expert in molecular biology at Toronto’s York University, told CTV News that the best way to sanitize a cloth mask is to just let it soak in warm soapy water for at least an hour.
Dr. Lisa Bryski, an emergency room physician in Winnipeg, Canada, explained, “Water alone doesn’t really break up that attraction that the virus has for the skin, but soap outcompetes the virus and also is good at breaking up the lipid barrier of the virus.”
When I was a member of the Joint Health and Safety Committee at my office, someone would always say at the meeting: “everyone must be vigilant.” That was before this whole crisis. So remember, don’t get lazy or comfortable. Do your part. Wash your hands. Wear a face mask in public. Wash the mask after each use. By staying safe and taking the proper precautions, you can help to keep everyone around you safe, as well.