As we adapt to the new normal, donning a face mask is one of the major everyday changes we’re embracing. In fact, face masks are now mandatory on public transport and in private hire taxis so having a good stash of cloth face masks is pretty essential as we venture out of lockdown.
Although it remains paramount that the general public do not wear surgical face masks (such essential face coverings should be reserved for NHS staff and frontline workers only), the latest advice, as released by the government on 4th June, says that it is mandatory to wear a face mask when you’re on public transport. Wearing them in other enclosed spaces, like the supermarket and the Post Office is also advised.
And thankfully everyone seems to be taking note. You’ve probably noticed a lot more of your peers practising the advice lately, with an increasing number of people donning masks in public – and even making their own versions.
As you’ll be wearing your mask out and about, it’s important that your face mask is clean every time you wear it to avoid contamination. No idea how to keep it in tip top shape? We’ve called on laundry expert, Deyan Dimitrov, CEO of Laundryheap, to share his practical tips on how to properly wash your mask to ensure you steer clear from blemishes, how to handwash your mask and exactly how to store your mask when you aren’t using it.
Why you need to wash it every time you use it
If you buy or make your own cloth face mask, it’s wise to clean it regularly. Even though the face mask’s purpose is to protect others from yourself, your fabric face mask still needs washing. If you don’t wash it, you risk germs and bacteria harbouring on the face mask, which could cause you to become ill or cause blemishes on areas where your mask rests on your face.
The best way to wash it
The best way to wash your face mask is to pop it in the washing machine and add some fabric-safe disinfectant to the rinse compartment of your washing machine. You should do this every time you wear it, just to keep safe. It’s fine to throw it in with other similar colours, so don’t worry about washing it on its own.
You can also hand wash it
If you don’t have the time for a machine wash in the evening, then you can easily handwash your mask. Fill up a clean basin with hot water and some detergent and begin to scrub the mask. Have the water as hot as you can and be sure to scrub the mask well for 5 minutes. Then rinse the mask with cold water and leave to dry completely.
Store it properly when you’re not using it
If you take your mask off for whatever reason, make sure to store it properly until you get home to wash it. Leaving your mask loosely in your handbag could transfer germs to other items in your handbag and vice versa. Keep a small disposable bag inside your bag or pocket that you can keep the mask in until it’s time to wash it. If you take your mask off, don’t put it back on until after you’ve washed it.
Have more than two masks
Having two face masks means that you will always have one spare when the other’s in the wash, so it’s worth investing in a two-pack at least. Many fashion retailers now sell non-surgical masks so you can easily pick some up.
Here’s our shoppable guide to all the face masks still in stock, plus our guide to making your own at home if you can’t get hold of one.