Since April 3, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the use of cloth face coverings. Face Masks, when worn properly, may help reduce the spread of the virus. They are not intended to replace physical distancing and hand washing recommendations which people must continue to use to protect themselves.
On February 19, 2021, the CDC updated its guidance for face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Wear a mask that fits snugly on your face. Other things to that improve protection include:
- Wearing a disposable mask under your cloth face mask for extra protection;
- When wearing two masks, tie knots in the ear loops of the disposable mask and tuck the cloth mask over the disposable mask to ensure a snug fit;
- Using a mask fitter or nylon mask cover; or
- Using masks with a nose wire to fit the mask snugly against your nose. This helps prevent masks from slipping down or fogging up glasses. Adhesive nose strips are available to add to masks without nose strips.
Your best choice for a mask is one that fits you properly. Explore different options to find the mask that is the best fit for you.
People wearing masks should not feel a false sense of security and should continue to follow all other recommended precautions. The masks should be worn to help protect others. Finally, it is important to understand that these recommendations do not allow for someone to go out in public if they are having COVID-19-type symptoms. Individuals with symptoms should continue to isolate at home, but they may consider using a homemade mask when leaving to get medical care if a homemade mask is all they have.
How to Wash Cloth Face Coverings
Cloth face coverings should be washed after each use. It is important to always remove face coverings correctly and wash your hands after handling or touching a used face covering.
How to clean
- You can include your face covering with your regular laundry.
- Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the face covering
Washing by hand
- Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
- 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) household bleach per gallon of room temperature water or
- 4 teaspoons household bleach per quart of room temperature water
- Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection. Some bleach products, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing, may not be suitable for disinfection. Ensure the bleach product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
- Soak the face covering in the bleach solution for 5 minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly with cool or room temperature water.
Make sure to completely dry cloth face covering after washing.
How to dry
- Use the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry.
- Lay flat and allow to completely dry. If possible, place the cloth face covering in direct sunlight.