The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
advises that cloth masks can help to slow the spread of the Corona Virus and can also help people who may have the virus and do not know it, from transmitting it to others. While cloth masks are not medical grade N95 masks which afford a high level of protection as required by medical professionals, they are considered to provide greater protection than wearing no mask at all.
Wear your mask every time you are out in public and wash it after wearing each time. It may be helpful to have a spare for this reason.
Here’s what the experts say in safely removing cloth facemasks and then the protocol for washing them.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, when removing your facemask, you need to be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth and wash hands thoroughly with soap immediately after taking it off.
Using your normal laundry detergent, wash your mask at a maximum of 40 degrees Celsius but if you normally do a cooler wash that is fine, and air dry or tumble dry on low.
It’s also perfectly fine to hand-wash your mask, using laundry detergent.
‘The laundry detergent will act to inactivate the virus by denaturing the proteins in the virus corona and dissolving the lipids encapsulating the genetic material (RNA).’ This is the same as the action of hand washing with soap, according to Dr Isabel C. Morrow (Molecular Cell Biologist and Electron Microscopist, Adelaide, Australia)
In summary: Washing separately in at maximum 40 degrees Celsius with laundry detergent (or hand wash in laundry detergent) will effectively clean your mask and air-drying or low tumble-drying will prevent damage to the elastic loops to ensure your mask looks good and performs its function properly.