By now, wearing a face mask when you’re out and about or around crowds of people should be nothing new.
Many of us have even collected quite the stack of facial coverings, keeping them in our homes, cars and purses.
But, are you wearing it correctly? Are you storing it in a safe and hygienic way? How should you care for it?
As it turns out, the World Health Organization has a pretty helpful website that helps answer all those questions and more.
Here’s what the WHO had to say about using a fabric mask:
- Wash your hands before putting on the mask.
- Inspect it for tears or holes. Don’t use a damaged mask.
- Adjust the mask to cover your mouth, nose, and chin, leaving no gaps on the sides.
- Avoid touching the mask while wearing it.
- Change your mask if it gets dirty or wet.
- Clean your hands before taking off the mask.
- Take off the mask by removing it from the ear loops, without touching the front.
- Wash your hands after removing the mask.
Whoa. Are you adhering to those guidelines?
Now here’s what the WHO said about caring for a fabric mask:
- If your mask is not dirty or wet, and you plan to reuse it, put it in a clean plastic, resealable bag.
- If you need to use the mask again, hold it at the elastic loops when removing it from the bag.
- Wash fabric masks in soap or detergent and preferably hot water (at least 60 degrees) at least once a day.
- If hot water is not available, wash the mask in soap or detergent and room-temperature water, followed by either boiling the mask for 1 minute OR; by soaking the mask in 0.1% chlorine for 1 minute and thoroughly rinsing the mask with room-temperature water (there should not be any toxic residue of chlorine on the mask).
- Make sure you have your own mask. Don’t share it with others.
Read more: When and how to use masks
Remember, masks alone aren’t enough. Make sure you’re continuing to socially distance yourself from people who aren’t in your household, keep washing those hands and try to avoid touching your face as much as possible.