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How to wash your face mask

85 per cent of people haven't washed their masks properly.

As Covid-19 has spread rapidly across the globe in 2020, face masks have been mandatory in indoor public spaces in the UK since July and in order to look after the environment many people have been opting for reusable and washable coverings.

However it seems washing them isn’t as easy as it seems, as a poll by YouGov recently revealed that 85 per cent of people haven’t done it properly, while another 15 per cent haven’t bothered to wash their face masks at all despite the risk of getting Coronavirus.

Not only can not cleaning your mask cause problem skin, but it almost defeats the object of wearing one in the first place in the fight against coronavirus. Failing to wash a covering may mean it becomes contaminated and any droplets that may have landed on the mask could affect the wearer or those who come into contact with it, such as people you live with.

For safe use of a reusable face mask, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend washing it ‘at least once a day’ in a soap or detergent and in hot water (at least 60 degrees centigrade).

If it’s not possible for you to wash your mask in hot water, they suggest washing it in soap or detergent and room temperature water, then boiling it for one minute. Another option is to soak your mask in 0.1% chlorine for one minute, then rinsing it with room temperature water.

WHO also offer advice for putting your mask on safely. This involves sanitising or washing your hands thoroughly before putting your mask on, checking it has no holes and is not damaged, and ensuring it covers your mouth and nose properly. It’s recommended that you don’t touch your face covering, but if you do, you should wash your hands as soon as possible. If it gets dirty or wet, you should change it too.

It may seem excessive, but it’s recommended that you wash your hands before taking your mask off, and doing so again once it’s stored away in a clean plastic bag. You shouldn’t share your mask with anyone either.

It may feel like a drag to wear a mask, but we love their ability to tie an outfit together. Read our guide of the 20 most stylish face coverings you can buy online now.

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Header image: Instagram/Meganellaby

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