How to Wear a Face Mask Correctly

Unless you work in the medical field, there’s a good chance you’ve never had to worry about how to wear a face mask before. But in the era of the novel coronavirus pandemic, wearing protective face masks when out in public has become the new normal. Since most of us are new to wearing masks, we don’t always know how to wear them properly. To ensure you know how to wear a face mask correctly, we’ve created a go-to guide for tricks to getting the best fit possible. Here’s how to stay as safe as possible and avoid common safety missteps when wearing a face mask.

Jump to:

How to Wear a Face Mask Correctly

woman putting on a protective face mask to prevent the spread of coronavirus

Face covers are one way to protect yourself and others from the spread of coronavirus, but they’re only effective when worn properly. Whether you’re wearing a disposable mask or a cloth face mask, it must cover your face from the bridge of your nose to under your chin. It should be loose-fitting but still secure enough to stay in place. Small gaps are normal and unavoidable, but the fewer there are and the smaller they are, the better. Make sure you can talk with your mask on and that it’s comfortable, so you aren’t tempted to touch it or pull it out of place, which could put you at risk from touching your face or limit its effectiveness. To get your perfect fit, follow these steps on how to put on a face mask correctly.

Wash your hands and grab a mask.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before putting on your face mask.
  • Check for defects in the mask, such as tears, missing ties, or missing ear loops. Throw away any that are defective.

Put on your mask, holding it by the earloops.

  • Position the colored or patterned side of the face cover outward, away from your face.
  • If your covering has pleats, they should open downward.
  • If the face mask has:
    • Earloops: Hold the mask by both earloops and place one loop over each ear.
    • Ties: Hold the mask by the upper strings. Tie the upper strings in a secure bow near the crown of your head. Tie the bottom strings securely in a bow near the nape of your neck.
    • Dual elastic bands: Pull the top band over your head and position it against the crown of your head. Pull the bottom band over your head and position it against the nape of your neck.

Make sure your mouth, nose, and chin are covered.

  • Make sure the mask is completely secure and covers your nose and mouth so that the bottom edge is under your chin.
  • Try to fit your face covering snugly against the sides of your face. Make sure you can breathe easily.
  • Your mask may have a wired side that is meant to adhere to the shape of your nose. Once the mask is in place, pinch the bendable top edge of the mask around the bridge of your nose for a more comfortable fit.
  • Once your mask is on, don’t touch it again until it’s time to take it off.
  • Wash your hands.

How to Wear a Mask With Glasses

woman wearing face mask with glasses

When you leave the house wearing a face mask while also wearing glasses, you may notice your breath flows upward and causes your lenses to fog up. It’s a common occurrence for many people, and several factors can cause it, from the fit of your mask to the weather. Luckily, there are a few tricks to prevent your glasses from fogging up while wearing a face mask.

Fit Your Face Mask Snugly To Your Face

When you’re wearing a mask that doesn’t fit your face well, warm air is likely to escape and fog your lenses. To avoid this, when putting on your mask, pinch the top of it to fit the shape of your nose more snugly. If your mask is adjustable, tighten the sides for a more secure fit.

For extra fog protection, use athletic or medical tape to close the gap between the top of your mask and the bridge of your nose. You can also try an adhesive bandage if you don’t have tape.

Wipe Your Lenses

Wiping down your lenses with an anti-fogging solution or washing them gently with soap and water may help. This will help keep water droplets from building up and fogging your glasses.

Adjust Your Glasses’ Position

Positioning your glasses more forward on your nose allows more air to circulate and keeps your breath from fogging up your lenses.

Wear Your Glasses Over Your Mask

While making sure your mask still properly covers your mouth and nose, try pulling your mask up and resting your glasses on top of it. This will prevent air from escaping and fogging up your vision.

What Not to Do When Wearing a Mask

woman walking in city wearing protective coronavirus face mask

Wearing a face mask can take some getting used to. Avoiding touching or fidgeting with your mask can be tough habits to break. To get the best use out of your protective covering, beware of these five mistakes you can make when wearing a face mask:

1. Your mask is too loose. If your mask has large gaps around your mouth, nose, or sides of your face, it can’t effectively protect you.

2. Your nose isn’t covered. Your nose needs to be covered by your mask. Coronavirus is respiratory and travels through the air, so you could breathe it in if your nose isn’t covered.

3. You don’t keep it securely on your face. Make sure not to dangle the mask from one ear or hang it around your neck.

4. You touched it after putting it back on. You shouldn’t take your mask off for a break when you’re still in public. If you have to touch the mask while you’re wearing it, wash your hands first and again afterward.

5. You reused single-use masks. Disposable masks are meant to be worn only once and then thrown away.

Removing Your Face Mask

man in office taking off his protective face mask

How you take off your mask is just as important as how you put it on. When removing your face covering, make sure you don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. You should always wash your hands afterward, and reusable cloth masks should be machine-washed and dried regularly. To keep your reusable cover effective, follow these steps on how to remove your face mask.

Take off your face mask by the loops, ties, or bands.

  • Make sure you’re removing your mask with clean hands. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before.
  • Avoid touching the mask itself and hold it by the loops, ties, or bands only.
  • Carefully take the mask off your face. If the mask has:
    • Earloops: Unhook both loops.
    • Ties: Untie the bottom bow first, followed by the top one.
    • Dual elastic bands: Remove the bottom band first by lifting it over your head, then do the same with the top band.
  • Holding it by the loops, ties, or bands, discard the mask by placing it in a covered trash bin if using single-use face masks.

Store your mask immediately.

  • If using reusable face masks, fold the outside corners together before storing them.
  • Place cloth face masks in the washing machine and lay them flat to air dry.
  • If you’re not immediately going to wash your mask after you use it, place it in a clean, paper bag or resealable plastic bag. Pick it up by the ear loops to place it inside the bag, and store the bag in a cool, clean place.

Wash your hands.

  • After removing the mask, wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer.

Give Back With Shutterfly Cloth Face Masks

shutterfly reusable cloth face masks with colorful patterns pack of 4

Shutterfly’s new soft and breathable reusable cloth face masks are perfect for everyday use. Unlike disposable face masks, a reusable face mask can be washed or disinfected after each wear.

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.

Related Resources on Coronavirus Face Masks

Be sure to check out Snapfish’s personalized face masks that let you put your best face forward while social distancing. You can choose from a variety of pre-made designs, then personalize your face mask by adding text or more embellishments. You can also start from scratch by choosing the Design Your Own template and make your own custom face mask by adding background, text, and embellishments. For even more information on COVID-19 make sure to visit our related resources below: