After almost two years in a pandemic, face masks have become a natural sight for most of us. We can even say it has now become a basic necessity. Going to school? Mall? Theatres? We’re required to wear one everywhere we go.
As a result of this growing demand, disposable face masks are starting to pile up in landfills exponentially. In fact, about 3 million disposable face masks are thrown away every minute worldwide. This is especially bad for the environment since disposable masks are made of layers of polypropylene—a thermoplastic that takes years to degrade.
One of the proposed solutions to this issue is cloth face coverings. They may provide less protection, but they’re more sustainable because of their reusability. However, it’s quite challenging to tell whether you’ve cleaned this face mask enough to be safely worn again.
If we share the same problem, then you’ve come to the right place. Listed below are a few face mask washing and cleaning tips that might help you feel more safe and confident in wearing your reusable masks.
How To Wash & Clean Face Mask?
1. Face Mask Cleaning Soapy Water
Doctors recommend washing face masks daily to reduce the likelihood of infection. Some may say that it’s difficult to stay faithful to this routine with everyone’s busy schedule. But, in reality, cleaning a face mask isn’t as taxing as it sounds. For starters, handwashing your masks with warm water and a gentle detergent or soap would usually suffice, especially when you just used your coverings for an errand.
If you still feel unsafe with warm soapy water, you may also use a bleach solution. Bleach is considered a more effective disinfectant than detergents due to its active ingredient, sodium hypochlorite. It kills bacteria, fungus, and viruses by denaturing vital proteins in these microorganisms.
All you have to do is soak the mask in a bleach solution and thoroughly rinse it after a few minutes. There are various bleach-water ratios you can follow. But, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends either of these solutions at room temperature:
Four teaspoons of bleach per quart of water
Five tablespoons of bleach in a gallon of water
Apart from the solution ratio, make sure that the bleach you’re using is disinfecting and not expired.
3. Washing Machine
When you’re really busy and can’t find time to handwash your face masks, you may also use a washing machine. It’s also recommended when you’re washing facemasks in bulk.
For this method, simply run the masks for a cycle in the machine and set your dryer on the hot setting to increase effectiveness. As for the detergent, choose one containing hydrogen peroxide, an effective disinfectant.
Another option you may try is using ultraviolet (UV) light. Specifically, UV-C light eliminates 99.9% of bacteria and viruses but does not create undesirable by-products. Hence, it’s both effective and safe. The only downside of using UV is its cost and tendency to degrade fibres in the face mask.
If you still plan to use it anyway, UV-C LED lights have various forms. You can opt for a UV bag if you plan to disinfect your masks with other items since the bag is usually large enough to cater to other items and paraphernalia. Another option is a UV-C wand so you can manually hover around and disinfect your masks and other high-touch items.
Hospital-Grade Disinfectant Sprays
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic also brought about the rise of innovative and convenient disinfecting options. One of which is the development of hospital-grade disinfectant sprays that are specially designed to disinfect any type of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), like face masks. It’s odourless, non-toxic, and safe even for those with sensitive skin.
It can never hurt to be too careful during these trying times. Simple negligence, like improperly cleaning your face masks, can easily escalate to more serious problems and complications. Hence, keep yourself and your loved ones safe from viruses by following these tips.
If you’re still unsure of what to do, you may also ask for expert help from house cleaning companies like Cleanrific. You may also avail of our complete house cleaning services to ensure that you’re also storing face masks in a clean and germ-free environment. After all, it’s our mission to provide every home with the cleanliness and wellness they deserve.