Mind your mask

Face masks should be washed or disinfected regularly to prevent virus contraction

Facemasks are a mandatory accessory today in terms of the precautionary measures against coronavirus. Medical experts say that face masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by providing a barrier to catch virus-containing respiratory droplets that are released when people cough, sneeze or talk. If a person touches a contaminated mask and thereafter touches their mouth or nose, they might also potentially contract an infection. Therefore it is recommended that masks be cleaned and sanitised after each use. Masks that cannot be cleaned should ideally be discarded after use.
It's best to clean cloth face masks after each use.
Here's how you can safely disinfect common types of masks for reuse during the pandemic. According to medical experts cloth masks, bandanas, scarves, and neck gaiters are all types of face masks that can be cleaned and reused. In the words of a healthcare worker who is engaged in the emergency duties of a COVID hospital, "To machine-wash your mask, first wash your hands. Then remove the mask, being careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth." "Toss the mask directly into the washing machine and wash your hands immediately thereafter," she instructs. For optimal cleaning, she recommends using regular laundry detergent along with bleach and the warmest water recommended for the mask fabric type.
Representative image
Image: Representative image
Once the mask is laundered it should be dried on high heat until it's completely dry. What if you are planning to hand-wash your mask? "The same procedure of washing your hands before removing your mask is mandatory," says the healthcare worker. To disinfect your mask, soak it in a bleaching solution containing 4 teaspoons of household bleach for five minutes. After soaking the mask, rinse thoroughly with water. Allow the mask to air-dry. It's best to clean cloth face masks after each use.

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