A Guide To Caring For Reusable Face Masks

Adapting to wearing face masks has introduced an array of new considerations, most notably: How to clean your face mask? How often should you be washing them? And how should your face masks be properly stored? To ensure that your reusable face mask is working at maximum effectiveness, there are a few important steps to follow. Whether you’ve made a simple DIY face mask or bought a cloth face mask online, we’ve compiled a list of best practices to caring for your reusable masks so they remain safe, clean, and longer-lasting.

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How Often Should You Wash Your Face Mask

woman and man friends wearing face mask outdoors. Friends greeting and shaking with elbows as new normal. Corona Virus - Covid 19 elbow bumps greeting style to prevent contact and virus spreadWhen it comes to slowing the spread of COVID-19, you probably know that it’s important to lather up frequently. That goes for your face mask, too! Cloth face masks and coverings should be routinely washed depending on how often they are worn. If possible, your reusable face masks should be washed after every use. If you’re wearing a face mask every day, it’s good to have a few in rotation so that you’ll always have a clean one available.

Although it may be time-consuming to wash reusable masks daily, after each use, this is a healthy habit that is essential to prevent germ transmission. Upon safely returning home, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after handling soiled masks.

How To Machine Wash Face Masks

Face mask and dirty laundry in a washing machine, close-upIf you are wondering how to wash your face mask in a washing machine, here are the steps to keep them safe, clean, and ready to use.

  1. Remove any detachable parts like filters or elastic ear bands you may be wearing in conjunction with your regular mask. To be safe, it’s recommended that you do so while wearing disposable gloves.
  2. Use a mesh laundry bag to reduce entanglement with other clothes during machine washing
  3. Set machine water temperature to high or use water that is 140° Fahrenheit or higher. Use your washer’s “sanitize” cycle if it has one.
  4. Add a detergent that contains disinfectant or bleach to ensure you’re killing as many germs as possible.
  5. Dry your face masks on the highest dryer setting or use direct sunlight to dry masks.

How To Wash Face Masks By Hand

homemade face mask freshly washed to protect against viruses and bacteriaIf you have homemade masks, which are usually more delicate than store-bought masks, hand washing is the best way to go. You should wash them in warm or hot water and scrub for at least 20 to 30 seconds. Rinse and thoroughly air-dry afterward.

Deeper hand-laundering can be done by diluting liquid or powder detergent in hot water, submerging the mas in the solution, and scrubbing for at least 30 – 60 seconds to lift dirt and body soils before allowing it to soak for 20 minutes. Then, rinse thoroughly and allow to dry. When hand washing masks, be careful not to overuse detergent and to rinse very well, so there’s no detergent residue that could cause skin irritation.

How To Dry A Face Mask

Colourful corona masks in the garden hung up on a leashIf you have a dryer at home, set it to the highest heat setting and keep the mask (or mesh bag that holds it) inside of the machine until it is completely dry. For those washing and drying their masks by hand, lay your mask flat until it is likewise totally dry. To aid in the drying process, it is recommended to lay the reusable face mask in direct sunlight. You can also use a hairdryer, kept six to eight inches away from the mask.

If you’ve been re-wearing your same cloth face mask, or just want a few extras on hand in case your go-tos are dirty, we’ve got all the mask needs covered. Check out our patterned cloth face masks and Snapfish’s custom face masks for a more personalized touch!

How To Store Your Face Mask

shutterfly reusable cloth face masks with colorful patterns pack of 4If you’ve made the effort of cleaning your mask between uses, don’t wreck that work by ditching your mask in your handbag on the way back from the shops. Leaving your mask loosely in your handbag or car could transfer germs to other items and vice versa. It’s best to store your clean face masks in a covered container or sealed plastic bag until you’re ready to use them. After washing your mask, make sure they are completely dry before putting them away, to prevent mold growth. Masks should be carefully folded in half so the side that touches your mouth is on the inside. After the mask is placed in its container or bag, it is recommended to wash your hands thoroughly.

Face Mask Hygiene Etiquette And Best Practices

Father and daughter using wash hand sanitizer gelWearing a mask is an act of kindness and love. And so is learning how to take care of them! To ensure that you and your loved ones are staying as safe and healthy as possible, it’s also important to clean cloth face masks and know the best practices to limit the spread of germs.

  • Always wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after putting on your mask.
  • Make sure your mask is facing the right direction, so your face is not touching the mask exterior.
  • Wear your mask snuggly over both your nose and mouth.
  • Try not to touch the mask while you’re wearing it.
  • When removing the mask, touch only the attached strings or elastic bands.
  • Hold it or place the mask on a sanitized surface until you’re ready to wear it again or throw directly into the washing machine when you get home.

Wrapping Up

Shutterfly’s new soft and breathable reusable cloth face masks are perfect for everyday use. These reusable masks are available in unique colored fabrics like pink, teal, and grey as singles or in a variety pack of four that includes an additional heart-patterned mask. These cloth masks are machine-washable, sustainable, and stylish. It has thoughtful features, such as comfortable, stretchy ear loops and double-layer fabric design with a filter opening (filter not included).

Shutterfly has partnered with Feeding America so that every time you buy a mask, you’re also supporting the donation of face masks to local essential workers in need. Our efforts to use our manufacturing resources don’t just allow for more people to buy masks for personal use, it prevents them from purchasing the medical-grade materials our everyday heroes on the front lines require to do their jobs safely.

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