Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has reported more than 14.8 million infections in the U.S., according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is clear that the disease attacks the respiratory system, causing difficulty in breathing, coughing, fever, and even death. For this reason, the World Health Organization (WHO) advises the general public to wear masks to reduce the chances of contracting the virus. Take note that wearing a face mask alone won’t protect you from the virus and that you should also practice social distancing, hand sanitation, and isolate socially. If you’re using a fabric mask, ensure you wash it regularly for safety reasons.
Here are a few tips to remember while washing your cloth face mask.
Using a Washing Machine
When using a laundry machine, it should be the same as washing your regular clothes. Put the fabric mask in with the other clothes and add enough detergent to wash off dirt and kill germs. Depending on the fabric’s requirements, you should adjust the laundry machine’s settings, such as water temperature and type of cycle to prevent fading, shrinking, or stretching and promote longevity. For instance, the heavy-duty cycle is appropriate for washing heavy fabrics such as jeans and towels, but may cause wear and tear on lighter clothes, says the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). Additionally, to avoid allergic reactions, you should use your regular detergent.
Washing by Hand
While using a washing machine to wash your cloth face mask is easy, washing it by hand may require some effort, especially if it has tough stains or is made of heavy material. Washing your mask by hand should still be easy as it is only a small piece of cloth. Use tap water, regular soap, or laundry detergent and put in a little effort to clean your mask just like you would when hand-washing your everyday clothes. Pour water halfway into a bucket, basin, or sink, add soap or detergent, and then soak the cloth face mask thoroughly. Avoid using bleach or detergents that contain hydrogen peroxide as they may damage the fabric, according to an article published by the New York Times (NYT). Dirtier, brighter, and heavier fabrics may require longer soaking to allow the stains to loosen. Once the stains dissipate, stir the mask around, mimicking the motion of a washing machine, until all stains fade away. Finally, rinse the mask in clean water and dry it out.
Drying Your Cloth Face Mask
Once you rinse your mask, do not wring it out as this may stretch the fabric and ruin it. Instead, press it down in the sink to squeeze out the water and then roll it in a towel to further remove the water. These steps will ensure the effective removal of water while protecting your mask. You can then put the mask in a dryer on low heat or air dry it in the sun. Even laying it on a flat surface will dry it up.
Storing Your Mask
During storage, avoid mixing clean and dirty masks. Store the dirty masks in a plastic bag, but keep wet masks aside as they may become mold-contaminated when stored in a plastic bag.
To keep COVID-19 at bay, follow these instructions while washing your cloth face mask. At Fresh & Clean Laundry, we are open and ready to help. Whether you need to use our jumbo machines for a faster clean, a drop off laundry service, or a laundry delivery service, we have you covered in these trying times. We have a supportive team on hand to help, sanitizer and cleaning products, and contactless payments to make your trip to the laundromat as safe as possible. For more information, contact us today.
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