Can Face Masks Be Washed and Reused?

It’s been a few weeks since face coverings became mandatory in many indoor public spaces and although the pandemic is not over yet, many of us are starting to head back out and about and back to work. With this in mind, the need for a good supply of face masks and face coverings is even more important to ensure we keep the virus under control and not spreading.

So, what face masks should you get? This is all dependent on your circumstances and the places you are likely to go. For the vast majority of us, the best option is a face mask that is reusable and can be easily washed. Luckily, there is now a large number of masks and face coverings available for you to choose from – which is great because you are going to need a few so that you can safely wear and rewash your masks daily.

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Which Face Masks Are Reusable?

A reusable face mask is one that can be washed or disinfected and used again. The most common and recommended reusable face mask is one made of fabric. Government advice is that it should be at least two layers and the World Health Organisation suggests three layers for optimum effect. These are easy to wash and with them being made of fabric you can make them out of almost anything!  If you want to take a look at how you can make your own masks take a look at this advice from the BBC. If you would prefer to buy them then you can get them in many of your favourite shops, online and offline.

If you want to wear a different style of face coverings then government advice does allow for the use of scarfs, bandanas and religious face coverings as long as they fit tightly around the head. The idea is to stop droplets escaping or finding their way around the mask so the tighter the fit to your face the better.

The benefits of a reusable face mask are many, firstly they are a lot more cost-effective than disposable options. With it being mandatory and sensible to wear a face covering in many indoor situations you will easily find you could go through multiple masks a day while out and about. The second benefit is that they are far kinder to the environment and thirdly it means you always have easy access to a face mask. This is especially important during those times when there is a shortage of disposable masks available.

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Which Face Masks Are Washable?

When it comes to a washable face mask it’s fairly easy to pick a mask that can be washed and reused. By far the easiest and most common washable face masks and coverings are those made from easily washed fabric like cotton. Not only is this a great versatile fabric but another added benefit of cotton is that it is breathable too so that it will be a little comfier to wear.

Can I Use Disposable Face Masks More Than Once?

Disposable face masks are designed to be worn once and then thrown away so it is not recommended that you either wash or reuse any of these.

Ideally, you shouldn’t even put these masks back on at all once you have removed them. It is recommended that you don’t touch your face or mask at all until you are able to wash your hands thoroughly so these should definitely not be re-worn.

How to Wash Face Mask

Assuming you have bought or made a fabric face mask then it is super easy to wash and care for your face mask. Just follow these few steps to ensure your mask is always on hand when you need.

  • As soon as you take your mask off put it somewhere safe where it won’t be touching other items. A small plastic bag is a great choice.
  • Make sure you clean any surfaces or areas the mask has touched and don’t leave your mask anywhere that someone else is likely to pick it up.
  • When you get home pop your mask into the wash on a 60 degree or higher wash.
  • Hang your masks up to dry and then put them away safely for the next time you use them.

For full advice on face coverings, masks and for the list of places you need to wear them check out the government’s coronavirus and face covering web pages for the latest information and advice.

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