Last week the wife of one of Mark's co-workers made our family cloth masks. It was a much appreciated gesture. According to the CDC these homemade masks act to prevent us from spreading the Coronavirus to others, but are too porous to protect us from getting it.

Then why wear one at all? With the posibility that I could be asymptomatic, I should do whatever I can to stop the spread. I don't go into a store without one; and honestly I'm uncomfortable when others are not covering up. Fortunately, I see many folks wearing homemade masks or at least a scarf or bandana to cover their nose and mouth.

I wondered how I should wash our cloth masks and how often.  I searched, and Huffpost.com has a great article on how we should be treating our cloth masks.

Here are some important things that I learned:

  • Washing them is as important as wearing them. Wash them after every wearing.
  • Removing masks properly is key because the virus can live for up to 7 days on the outer layer of it. Do not touch the front of the mask. Take it off from your ears and wash it in water as hot as the fabric can stand and, use bleach if available to kill microbes more effectively.
  • Dry the washed mask with high heat.
  • A cloth mask is better than no mask. If you don't have one, wrap a scarf around your mouth multiple times and wash it the same way you would a mask.
  • If you can't machine wash the mask, hand wash it in hot soapy water and scrub for at least 20 seconds, then dry it on high heat.
  • Wash your hands before putting on a cloth mask and after taking it off.
  • Don't touch any mask once it's on your face.
  • You can also iron cloth masks as a way to disinfect them. Put the iron on a high setting, such as cotton or linen.

Huffpost.com also reports that hanging the mask over a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes and then allowing it to air dry can also kill the virus.