How to Wash a Cloth Face Mask
Updated: May 19
If you don’t wash your face masks often enough, you could do more harm than good. That’s because each time you touch your mask, wear it where you can’t social distance, or stick it up over the visor, it could become contaminated.
If you don’t want to breathe or be exposed to bacteria, viruses, and even fungi, keep those masks clean!
Gather up your face masks and head to the laundry room. Take off removable parts such as filters and detachable ear bands and put the masks in a mesh laundry bag.
When you’re washing face masks, you want to use the hottest water temperature setting (> 140° Fahrenheit). If your washer has a sanitizing cycle, that’s even better.
Instead of using a detergent that contains disinfectant or bleach, skip the harsh chemicals and choose a safe, eco-friendly alternative: hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide has antibacterial and antiviral qualities and is more effective than white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and acetic acid. It’s also a mild bleaching agent that whitens and brightens fabric and is more environmentally responsible than chlorine bleach.
When hydrogen peroxide is exposed to sunlight, it slowly breaks down to a biodegradable solution of water and oxygen. Use the same three percent solution of hydrogen peroxide you find in the first aid aisle.
Add a cup of hydrogen peroxide to the washer through an automatic bleach dispenser or pour it in as the washer fills. While it’s safe for whites and colors when mixed with water, hydrogen peroxide can remove color on dry fabric.
If you wash your masks by hand, prepare a cleaning and disinfecting solution of five tablespoons per gallon of hot water. Let the face masks soak for at least five minutes, then rinse them thoroughly.
Are you planning to dry your face masks in your clothes dryer? Even on the highest heat setting, most dryers don’t get hot enough to disinfect.
You can help the process with disinfectant dryer sheets or dryer sanitizers or go all-natural by drying the face masks in sunlight.
Ultraviolet radiation can inactivate influenza viruses and other pathogens, and sunlight also kills bacteria.
Now that you know how to wash masks, you can learn about ways to keep your entire home clean and disinfected.
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