With the increased use of your reusable mask, how often and how should you wash it?
- Fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops
- Includes multiple layers of fabric
- Allows for breathing without restriction
- Can be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
You can wash your masks, along with your clothes, in the washing machine even without special antibacterial laundry soap. Dr Raymond Fong, the chief and senior consultant at Changi General Hospital's Infectious Diseases department said "Washing with clean, warm water and soap should suffice." Just use the hottest setting on your washing machine to neutralise the microbes, then let heat drying – be it direct sun or the dryer – eradicate any remaining pathogens on the mask.
If you’re concerned with the mask’s dye ruining your clothes in the washing machine – as some netizens have experienced – then you better hand-wash it. Wash your mask with warm, soapy water for at least one minute and dry it, preferably in the sun. Regular cleaning, especially after a day’s use or when the mask is visibly soiled or moist is most important.
You may use heat treatment to kill the virus and germs on your mask
Whether you choose to machine or hand wash your reusable fabric mask, drying it properly equally important as the washing. Studies suggest that the duration of sun exposure required to reduce contamination of some viruses by 90 per cent is over an hour of direct exposure to midday sun. On cloudy or rainy days, when there is not enough sun exposure, the dryer can be used. You could also iron or put your mask in a clean oven for 20 minutes at about 70 degrees Celsius. Be careful not to burn it though.
Once in a while, you may boil it in water
Boil your mask in water for five minutes, recommended Professor Rachel Noble, a microbiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, on Pop Science. However, the downside to this method is, your fabric mask quality may deteriorate after a few rounds of boiling.