How to Use Cloth Face Masks
The CDC has the following for the use and care of cloth masks.
- fit snugly but comfortably against both sides of the face
- completely covers nose and mouth
- secured with ties or ear loops to minimize movement
- allow for breathing without restriction
HOW TO PUT ON A FACE MASK
- Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask.
- Follow the instructions below for the type of mask you are using.
- Face Mask with Ear loops: Hold the mask by the ear loops. Place a loop around each ear.
- Face Mask with Ties: Bring the mask to your nose level and place the ties over the crown of your head and secure with a bow.
- Face Mask with Bands: Hold the mask in your hand with the nosepiece or top of the mask at fingertips, allowing the headbands to hang freely below hands. Bring the mask to your nose level and pull the top strap over your head so that it rests over the crown of your head. Pull the bottom strap over your head so that it rests at the nape of your neck.
- If using a face mask with ties: Then take the bottom ties, one in each hand, and secure with a bow at the nape of your neck.
- Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.
- Once the mask is secured to your face DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE OR ADJUST THE MASK! If you do, you MUST wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before touching anything else.
HOW TO REMOVE A FACE MASK
- Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask. Avoid touching the front of the mask. The front of the mask may be contaminated. Only touch the ear loops/ties/band.
- Before removing the mask or touching ear loops/ties/bands, bend forward slightly at the waist so the mask is away from your body and clothing.
- Face Mask with Ear loops: Hold both of the ear loops and gently lift and remove the mask.
- Face Mask with Ties: Untie the bottom bow first then untie the top bow and pull the mask away from you as the ties are loosened.
- Face Mask with Bands: Lift the bottom strap over your head first then pull the top strap over your head.
- DO NOT SHAKE THE MASK. Any Covid-19 particles on the mask may be distributed into the air, on to your clothes or other hard surfaces and may become a source of contamination.
CLEANING AND SANITATION OF CLOTH MASKS
Cloth coverings are designed to capture droplets expelled when breathing. These droplets deposit and accumulate on the cloth fabrics while in use. It is critical that these soils be remove on a daily basis to maintain the covering efficiency, and prevent the accumulation of microorganisms on the cloth.
Machine Washing (Recommended)
- Use hot water setting on machine
- Use laundry detergent that DOES NOT contain fabric softeners.
- Add an extra rinse cycle as needed.
- Air dry or machine dry on a warm cycle. If machine drying, consider using a mesh bag to prevent damage to elastics or ties.
- Use very hot water (>1800F) and ordinary dish washing soap (not lotion/moisturizing soaps).
- Immerse the face covering(s) fully in the water and detergent solution.
- If heavily soiled, add an oxygen cleaner (i.e., Oxyclean) according to the package instructions.
- Agitate, soak, rinse very well in plenty of water. Squeeze well. Let air dry.
If washing is not an option
- Spray the covering (both inside and out) with either 60% ethyl alcohol, or 70% isopropanol/isopropyl alcohol.
- Make sure all surfaces are damp
- Allow to air dry before reusing