This Is How Often You Need to Be Washing Your Masks

By now, we all have a collection of masks that we wear religiously. At least for me, I alternate between the same four masks every week. And as you can probably imagine, those four masks have become kind of gross over time, collecting any foundation or concealer I have on. Not to mention, masks accumulate particles from the outside world, and you never know what could be on them. So, if it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your masks, you’re in luck: I will be telling you how often you need to be washing your masks (because odds are, your masks aren’t as clean as you think they are), how you can store your masks in between uses, and how to correctly wash your masks.

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How often to wash your masks

First of all, if you have disposable masks, you should throw them away after wearing them once. As for cloth masks, you should wash them whenever they get dirty or at least daily, according to the CDC. Now, if you’re like me, you do not wash your cloth masks daily. I’m lucky if I get around to washing them even once a week. So don’t worry — it’s not the end of the world if you don’t wash your masks every minute of every day. We’re all human. We all have jobs and other responsibilities, and sometimes it’s hard to remember things like washing our masks.

However, let this serve as your gentle reminder to wash your masks more often. Also, consider buying alternate masks so that you can easily replace dirty ones if necessary. There are tons of cute and affordable masks that you can add to your collection. And of course, always remember to remove your mask correctly (handle only by the ear loops and fold) and wash your hands after touching a used mask.

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How to store your masks between uses

According to CDC guidelines, you should store your cloth masks properly and wash them regularly. If you have a wet or dirty mask, store it in a plastic bag. It is important to keep masks clean from makeup, sweat, saliva, or other substances in a sealed plastic bag so that they do not contaminate anything. Wet masks are definitely less effective than dry masks, so be sure to wash and dry these masks as soon as possible to prevent them from getting moldy.

If you have a cloth mask that is not wet or dirty, you can store it in a paper bag. After removing your mask correctly and washing your hands, place your mask in a dry, breathable bag (a paper bag or a mesh fabric bag works) to keep it clean between uses. In addition, always keep the same side of your mask facing out when reusing.

woman wearing mask using hand sanitizer Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

How to wash your masks

Now, in terms of actually washing your mask, simply include your mask with the rest of your regular laundry, and use regular laundry detergent and the appropriate settings according to the fabric label on the mask. It’s that simple! Personally, I always put my masks in a mesh fabric bag that can go into the washer so that they don’t get tangled with my other clothes. I also hang dry my masks instead of putting them in the dryer so that they don’t shrink, but putting them in the dryer works fine too.

You can also wash your masks by hand if that’s preferable. Simply wash your mask with tap water and laundry detergent or soap, rinse thoroughly, and hang dry!

Do yourself a favor and wash your masks regularly and store them properly! Trust me, your future self will thank you for it.