COVID-19 is not over, meaning that we should still be abiding by guidelines that encourage us to wear face masks. Masks help reduce the spread of COVID-19, as it helps those who do have it not pass it to others. Even if you don’t have it though, it is still wise to wear protective gear as it is beneficial. One thing people seem to have questions about is proper mask cleaning and disposal, so we spoke with Diann Peart, Ph.D and founder of eco-friendly cleaning line Truce, about the best way to clean, and toss, your mask.
“Cloth masks are the most commonly used and the easiest to clean,” Peart said. When we inquired about techniques that will keep them spotless, she said, “They should be washed in warm soapy water either by hand or in the washer, then put the mask in the dryer on the hot setting. Most experts recommend that your mask be washed and dried after each wearing so you might want to have two masks.” Also, it’s imperative that your hands are clean when you deal with your mask to avoid contamination.
So, at what point should you throw your mask away? And how should you get rid of it?
If your mask is soiled, torn or damaged in any way, you need to dispose of it. But according to Peart, throwing it directly into the trash can is not the best move. “Don’t throw your soiled or damaged face mask in the garbage—it may contain dangerous germs,” she said. Repeat the same washing steps outlined above (to keep anyone who may come in contact with the mask safe,) but you’ll place the dried mask into a sealed plastic bag and then throw it away. “Always remember to wash your hands before and after you’ve handled the face mask,” Peart reiterated.
We’re all responsible for keeping one another safe and proper mask cleaning and discarding are key.
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