Reusable Face Masks
Over the past few weeks, face masks have become the new essential accessory to go outside and it looks like they will stay with us for longer...
Given the shortage of surgical masks in hospitals, many people have chosen to purchase or create reusable masks from cotton. But are reusable masks a good alternative?
For the community’s safety…
In Luxembourg and many other countries the regulations require us to wear masks in public places, especially when the distance of 2 meters cannot be respected. We have a choice between single-use masks (typically surgical masks sold in pharmacies) or cloth masks. Cloth masks are not only a protection measure but they are more sustainable for the environment and more importantly we help our community by giving surgical mask for those who really need them, our medical staff!
Reusable face masks are not that effective as surgical masks but studies have found that they did prevent from expelling droplets. Many organizations, such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises even to use cloth face mask to slow down the spread of the virus. It will help people who may have the virus but doesn't know about it from transmitting to others.
How to use a reusable cotton mask?
When you consider wearing a face mask you should take into consideration how to wear it properly.
First you need to wash your hands properly with soap and water or hand sanitizer. Make sure that the face mask doesn’t become one more contamination zone!
Once the mask is on your face make sure that it covers completely your nose and mouth. The mask should then:
- fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- be secured with the elastic
- allow for breathing without restrictions
Before removing your reusable face mask, wash your hands. When removing it, make sure that you don’t touch the front part of the mask as it might be contaminated. Instead grab the ties or elastic ties behind the ears or head and remove it without touching the front.
Also make sure that you do not touch your or other’s eyes, nose and mouth when removing the face mask.
If you already own a reusable face mask and you want to add an extra protection, you can stitch a second piece of cloth on the inside of your mask to make a pocket for an additional filter. Just cut the piece of cloth the same size as your mask and stitch the top and bottom part so that the sides parts are open. In this way you can then insert any filter which will give you more protection.
An easy maintenance
Ideally you should wash your mask after each use, but regular washing in high temperature will be sufficient too!
Wash your face mask separately in a washing machine at 60 degrees Celsius. The high temperature will sanitize your mask. Using a laundry bag might be helpful to minimize the damage on the cloth. Air dry you mask, and make sure that the fabric is completely dry before using it again.
The virus is sensitive to high temperatures, therefore you can put your mask in the dryer, iron it or put the mask in a clean oven for 20 minutes at about 70 degrees Celsius.
Finally, make sure that your reusable cotton mask is always in a good condition. Washing and drying your mask regularly will deteriorate the efficiency of your mask, because they damage the cloth material. Therefore, it is important to change your mask when you feel they don’t perform as well as at the beginning.
Buy your reusable organic cotton face mask from Tabitha Eve here.