On Friday, April 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released recommendations regarding the use of cloth face coverings. While these measures are optional, they may help reduce the spread of the virus. They are not intended to replace social distancing and hand washing recommendations which people must continue to use to protect themselves.
Homemade masks may reduce the amount of virus one breathes out and may prevent you from touching your nose and mouth. This measure is recommended to be used by persons in situations where social distancing may be difficult to maintain such as at a grocery store, or pharmacy, etc. Masks can protect people from the virus by preventing infected persons who may not yet be showing symptoms from passing the virus to others.
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.