As of early May 2021, there are 25 states that require you to wear face coverings in public. You should consider that the bare minimum and wear face masks whenever you're outside, especially if you're in crowded areas. That way, you'll protect yourself and everyone around you the best you can!
For some people, they've opted to use reusable face masks instead of disposable ones. But for this to be effective, you must know how to properly wear reusable face masks.
Aren't sure if you're wearing yours correctly? Then read on for a complete guide!
Wash Your Hands Thoroughly
Before you do anything, wash your hands thoroughly.
The CDC recommends that you wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This should be the same length as the "Happy Birthday" song. Rinse your hands off and then dry them off completely with a towel or air dryer.
If you aren't able to wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer that's at least 60% alcohol.
Put on Your Mask
Now that you've cleaned your hands, you're ready to put your mask on.
Put the mask over your nose and mouth, making sure to pull it down under your chin as well. Then, press the mask along the sides of your face. When you get to the end, either slip the elastic bands over your ears or tie them around each ear.
If you wear glasses, you may have to experiment with adjusting them over your mask in a certain way so that they don't fog up.
What to Do After You Put on Your Mask
After your mask is on your face, you should not touch it again. As soon as you touch your mask, you should consider it rendered ineffective. You'll need to change to a clean one.
You also need to make sure both your nose and your mouth are covered at all times. If your reusable mask is only covering your nose or mouth, then it's not very effective.
You should also refrain from adjusting or taking off the mask from your nose and mouth while you're still out. This means do not put the mask around your neck, on your forehead, on your chin, or dangling from an ear. If you need to take off your mask for any reason (such as to eat), you'll have to wear a clean one once you're done.
If it ever feels moist, then you'll need to change to a new mask too. This is because any moisture makes it porous and possible for COVID-19 particles to travel into and out of your mask.
For all the above reasons, it's always a good idea to bring some extra cloth face masks.
Readjusting Your Face Mask
As we've said above, you're not supposed to touch your mask at all while you're out and about. But what if it slips off your nose and/or mouth? Is it the lesser of two evils to just go ahead and readjust your mask instead of leaving it mostly off your face?
The most important thing is if you're going to be touching your mask, you need to wash your hands both before and after you do so. If you're not able to, use hand sanitizer instead.
Once your hands are clean, you can then go ahead and move your mask so it's fully covering your nose and mouth again. You should avoid touching the actual mask and instead, use the elastic bands if possible. If you must touch the mask, try to keep it to just the tiniest of the corners.
Taking off Your Face Mask
When you're ready to take your cloth mask off, make sure you don't touch any part of the mask itself. Instead, untie your mask or pull the elastic bands off your ears.
After the mask is completely off, fold it up with the outside corners together (with the inner side of the mask facing outward after folding) and store it in a paper bag. Wash your hands immediately after storing your mask away safely. If you don't have access to running water and soap, use hand sanitizer that's at least 60% alcohol.
When you get home, make sure to wash your reusable masks.
Washing Your Masks
Ideally, you should wash your reusable masks after each use. What's great about fabric masks is that you can wash them multiple times and they'll still hold up for use, so long as they're sewn in a sturdy fashion.
Most can go in the laundry with the rest of your clothes. Wash as normal, but use the highest heat setting possible for the type of cloth your mask is made of.
You can also handwash your face masks. Simply fill your sink with warm water and soap, scrub the masks, then rinse them off thoroughly.
Lastly, you can either hang your masks up to dry or put them into the dryer. Use the highest heat setting possible if you choose the latter. Either way, do not use the masks again until they're completely dry.
Wear Your Reusable Face Masks Correctly for Maximum Effectiveness
Whether you use disposable or reusable face masks, knowing how to wear them correctly is key. Otherwise, you render them useless and defeat the purpose of masking up in the first place.
So make sure you read this article thoroughly and put what you've learned into practice. And make sure you share your newfound knowledge with others so good information is spread to the masses for maximum protection!
If you'd like to stock up on face masks, then check out our selection now. We have reusable face masks and disposable masks too.