It feels like a whole new world since the novel coronavirus became a pandemic. For many people across the globe, face masks are now part of their wardrobe. However, many of us still don’t understand reusable face mask fundamentals, like how often you can use them between washings.
Does it matter? According to healthcare experts, it does. Yet answering that question requires understanding a bit more information first.
We’ve compiled some common questions about reusable mask usage to help you determine this and other face mask best practices, followed by thoughts and guidance from healthcare professionals working to educate the public about virus protection.
4. What Difference Does Mask Material Make?
Currently, most people who aren’t on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic are advised to wear cloth masks. A large percentage of those masks are handmade. Before you buy your own handmade face mask for COVID-19 protection, take the advice of Dr. Scott Segal, M.D.
As part of the research team at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Segal and his colleagues determined that homemade mask effectiveness has a lot to do with how it’s made.
Single layer cloth masks performed poorly at protecting from virus transmission. Double layer masks made of lightweight cotton also didn’t make the grade.
Testing revealed the best homemade face mask has two very important elements: it has a double layer of cloth and is made of tight-weave fabric. Masks made from fabrics with at least 180-thread count provided the best protection.
If you’re using a reusable face mask made from a single layer lightweight fabric, don’t just wash it. Replace it with a double layer mask of thicker material.
3. How Often Should You Wash a Reusable Face Mask?
Now that you know what kind of cloth face mask you should be wearing, here’s some advice about how to use it.
The Mayo Clinic recommends washing your reusable face mask after every day that you use it. If you wear it daily, wash it daily. Better yet, purchase extra reusable face masks and add them to your rotation.
Be sure to store your used face masks properly until they can be washed. The Mayo Clinic suggests folding your used mask in half, with the contaminated side of the mask pressed together. Storing the used mask in a paper bag is also suggested, followed by thoroughly washing your hands.Related: 13 Coronavirus Products Not to Waste Your Money On