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Reusable Face Masks 101

The benefits of wearing a mask in public during the coronavirus outbreak are obvious. It not only keeps you safe, but also those around you. In fact, until we have a vaccine, we need to consider a reusable mask as part of our everyday ensemble. Like shoes, a mask is now a part of everyday life. Luckily, clothing outlets across the country have embraced this need and given us a wide variety to choose from in a plethora of fancy fabrics.

The main thing to keep in mind when choosing a reusable mask is to pick a breathable, high performance material like cotton, canvas or denim. Most cloth masks can be machine-washed or hand-washed, but a little extra TLC is required. Delicate fabrics, like silk or a synthetic variation can’t be sanitized effectively. Here’s a few other tips to keep in mind:

1. If your mask has a removable non-woven filter, be sure to remove it before washing.
2. As with laundry, sort masks by colour. Dark and colourful masks should be washed together and separate from light or white masks.
3. Use a mesh bag. It’s a great way to keep masks from becoming tangled, especially if you’re washing them in a load with clothes.
4. Hot water kills germs, so set the washer to hot and use a heavy-duty stain-removing detergent like Tide, Gain or Persil.
5. If you choose to hand-wash masks, fill the sink with hot water adding about 1 teaspoon of detergent (use gloves to protect your hands).
6. Dry on the highest heat cycle of an automatic dryer or in direct sunlight.

PRO TIP: Scarves, neck gaiters and repurposed clothing have been alternatives for people waiting for masks on backorder. Get creative, but be safe!