How to Properly Disinfect and Sanitize Your Cloth Face Masks

How to Properly Disinfect and Sanitize Your Cloth Face Masks

The use of face masks has become a norm ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and it’s important to know how to properly clean and sanitize them.

Surgical masks consist of a soft fabric that is only slightly stronger than a paper towel, and their components can be significantly damaged by various household chemicals.

Using any of the following on surgical masks would unquestionably render them either less efficient or completely worthless against particles in the air that may carry COVID-19. However, if you wash them properly, you may be able to reuse cotton cloth masks again.

Here are the four most effective methods for disinfecting and sanitizing fabric face masks.

1.      Sanitizing The Masks By Boiling

The simplest method for sanitizing cloth face masks is to boil them for five minutes in water. Although boiling your mask is a simple method, it’s crucial to consider the material of the mask, as a few rounds of boiling may harm or decrease its permeability.

Scientists disclosed that Cloth face masks will last a lifetime; they disintegrate in the same manner that your bedsheets do after repeated launderings. To ensure that your mask remains effective after boiling, examine it carefully by bringing it up to a source of light and examining any thin spots where a tiny hole may be emerging.

As COVID-19 particles have a diameter ranging from 60 to 140 nanometers, they are small enough to effortlessly penetrate through any type of fabric that is either torn or loosely woven. Therefore, experts advise boiling your face mask no more than 10 times.

2.      Washing Masks In Machines

Putting cotton face masks in the washing machine with your usual laundry is an additional effective method of sanitization. As hand soap does, washing machines are capable of eliminating the majority of viruses by destroying their exterior. As a precautionary measure, experts advise paying attention to the water temperature.

The “World Health Organization” and the “National Health Service of the United Kingdom” both recommend treating infected clothing and materials with water heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which has proven effective against the majority of viruses. Yet, the majority of water heaters are set to 120 degrees to prevent burns. At such a temperature, many viruses will be inactivated, but they will not be totally eradicated.

3.      Laundry Detergent and Boosters

Certain washing machines available today feature built-in water heaters that can elevate the water temperature above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, it is not advised to adjust the settings of your water heater for this purpose. The most important thing to consider when washing masks is laundry detergent.

Ensure to add the appropriate amount of detergent and your preferred laundry booster into the washing machine when disinfecting masks. Color-safe bleach, chlorine, and OxiClean can serve as effective boosters.

4. Hot Water And Detergent

If you have a limited number of face masks or don’t want to wait for the washing machine to complete a full cycle, you may opt to soak them in a solution of bleach power and hot water for five minutes. Include one tablespoon of bleaching powder per quart of hot water.

Although the temperature is not essential because bleach is responsible for sanitization, it provides an additional layer of defense.

A higher dose of bleach or any residue left on the fabric after soaking could, however, damage the mask. In addition, since the mask will cover your mouth and nose, make sure it is free of bleach before wearing it. Inhaling bleach’s lingering vapors might damage your airways and exacerbate any respiratory problems.



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