Tips for cleaning homemade face masks

Michigan

JENA, GERMANY – APRIL 03: A man wears a cloth as a protective face mask on April 3, 2020 in Jena, Germany. A three-part city ordinance is going into effect requiring people to wear protective face masks under circumstances that include shopping, riding public transport and workplaces where social distancing is difficult. A face mask requirement is a current issue of controversy across Germany, with the federal government so far declining to make wearing one in public mandatory. Germany is struggling with a shortage of face masks, and the requirement in Jena also allows the use of scarves and other materials to shield one’s face as a means to reduce the risk of anyone infected with Covid-19 from infecting others. (Photo by Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– With more people making and wearing masks in public, Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail says this step will limit how much the COVID-19 virus spreads.

“There are people who are about to become ill,” she says of asymptomatic carriers, “and what the mask will do is keep the droplets that they may cough from spreading as far as they might have.”

But the key to using the masks and face coverings effectively is to make sure you clean them after every use.

“We want to realize that once we put it on and are out for any period of time, we breathe. And our air that comes out of our lungs has some moisture to it. So these are gonna get moist.”

Vail says you can handle homemade masks the same way you would the rest of your laundry, using soap and warm water to wash and a regular heat setting to dry. But any time you handle a mask–whether you’re putting one on or taking one off, she says everyone should do one simple thing first.

“It’s more than just washing the masks,” Vail says. “When you put the mask on your face, make sure you wash your hands first.”

By washing your hands for at least twenty seconds with soap and water you’ll avoid getting any particles trapped by the mask near your nose and mouth.

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