As the world finds itself amidst a global pandemic, people are fighting back with hope and resilience. Many are taking measures to help those in need, too. But first and foremost, we must not forget that a face mask is one of our most important weapons in the fight against COVID-19.
With plenty of masks — surgical, cloth, N95 and more — available in the market, we give you everything you need to know about reusable masks. From the best materials to how to store reusable face masks, here is what you need to know.
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What are the best materials for a reusable face mask?
According to one Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) research, fabric, fit — as no material will work well if the mask doesn’t fit properly and provide efficient coverage — and thickness are the three main factors that one should consider before purchasing a face mask. The fabric should be closely knit so that you aren’t able to see the individual fibres when you examine the material in light. Keeping this in mind, it has been noticed that tightly woven, pure cotton does a better job than other fabrics in protecting you.
After you have chosen the perfect fit and fabric, make sure that your mask has a minimum of two layers — you can increase the protective powers of cotton by combining one layer of cotton with a different material.
World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a three-layer fabric mask. Although it states that medical workers and vulnerable population — people who are above the age of 60 or those suffering from a medical condition — should only use medical masks.
Best materials: cotton, silk, polyster-spandex blend, cotton-polyster blend.
How do you wash your reusable face masks and dry them?
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should thoroughly wash your reusable face mask when it starts to get dirty. Even better if you could wash it regularly. Do read the fabric level to check any specific instructions you need to follow. If you are washing it manually, using tap water and detergent/soap will do the job. In case you are using a washing machine then just add your mask with the other clothes and use your regular detergent to wash it. You can either use a warm or hot dryer to dry their mask or hang it in direct sunlight.
What is the right way to store your reusable face mask?
It is advisable to keep wet or dirty face masks in a sealed plastic bag till you get the time to clean it.
As for clean or dry masks, use a paper or fabric bag to store them. Sanitise your hands properly after putting on and removing the mask.