With face masks becoming mandatory across the UAE, it is important to ensure you keep your mask clean, in order to maximise its effectiveness.
Damodaran Sivakumar, Head of Production at 5àsec UAE, world leader in laundry operating in Dubai, says, “Since we need to wear face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, residents have taken it as a normal part of life, but there are just a handful who know how to keep them clean. The dos and don’ts of maintaining hygiene, especially when it comes to face masks, is of utmost importance.
“Using the same cloth mask daily without cleaning it will not shield you from the virus and may actually have the opposite effect.”
Here, 5àsec, six key tips for maintaining the effectiveness of your face masks:
How often do you need to wash your face mask?
Your face mask should be washed regularly. We cannot stress on that enough. The virus may stay active on fabric for a long period of time, which makes it absolutely necessary to wash your face mask at least once a day. If you suspect that someone you have been in close contact with is infected, you should put the mask to wash immediately and use a fresh one. Apart from the virus, the masks also tend to collect any sweat, oil or makeup from skin, which may also affect your health.
What fabric is suitable for a face mask?
Cotton fabric is the perfect material for a face mask. With an ideal thread count of about 200 with up to three layers of fabric, this material is effective in filtering out the virus as well as blocking any pathogens from entering. With the strict protocol of wearing the face mask while on the move, it is essential to be comfortable with your face mask and the cotton fabric provides the right amount of breathability. It is also recommended to use white color masks that can be washed in higher temperatures.
How should you handle your face mask after use?
Upon returning home, we recommend that the first thing you do is take off your mask carefully and place it in the laundry bin until you can wash it. You may opt to leave it in the bin for 24 hours or more in quarantine, which is known to allow the virus to decay. Do not let the mask come into contact with any other family member.
How can you disinfect cloth masks?
A machine wash at a high temperature with quality detergents is good enough to kill the virus. However, if you want to avoid running a machine load just for a single mask, you can also toss in your clothing items that you wore to step-out as well. If you prefer to hand-wash your mask, ensure that you get into every inch of the mask and clean it using the correct amount of chemical. Additionally, soaking the mask in hot water for 10-minutes and then rinsing it thoroughly, will also help to remove all the pathogens. Avoid using bleach completely as the constant smell can cause nausea and headaches.
What is the appropriate temperature to wash a face mask?
Viruses cannot withstand high temperatures, therefore, washing face masks at a temperature of more than 60 degrees help disinfect the mask. Since fabrics with dark colors fade after a couple of washed at high temperatures, it is advisable to make or buy the fabric mask in lighter shades.
How should a face mask be dried?
After washing your mask, it is best to dry it at a high temperature since heat also sanitizes the mask. For masks with a plastic filter and valve, you will need to be extra careful and air-dry or sun-dry them. A hairdryer can also be used as an easy and effective dryer. Sunlight is another excellent natural sanitizing agent. Since the starting temperature of an average household iron is 140 degrees Celsius, ironing the mask post-drying will provide an added measure to ensure that the virus is completely eliminated.
Inputs given by 5àsec
Founded in France in 1968, the franchise dry cleaning and laundry network now operates over 1800 stores in 33 countries and serves well over 100,000 customers every day across the world. The 5àsec master franchise for the United Arab Emirates has been granted to Dubai based Alpes Laundry Services LLC.