To help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease, the government encourages people to wear face masks. In a bid to preserve medical masks for front liners, the general public should use a washable face mask.
In public spots, where you cannot easily maintain social distancing, a face mask can safeguard your health. If you plan to make your own washable face mask, recent research shows that some materials are more effective. Ultimately, the aim is to protect yourself against the coronavirus disease.
It is imperative that you use high quality fabric when constructing your face mask. If you can’t use DIY methods, then you’d rather buy from a credible source.
Why Use a Washable Face Mask?
Fabric face coverings may not protect you from getting sick. However, they are quite effective in preventing one from spreading the virus, if sick. Surgical or medical masks remain for front liners and the sick.
When getting a washable face mask, you’ll have to be keen on certain factors. With the fabric type being the main factor, you need to also consider breathability. How comfortable is the mask on your face?
The quality of the material used is not a big issue, as long as it has an internal layer of flannel. This layer helps to reduce the amount of particles getting in and out of the mask. You’ll equally need to avoid knit fabric, as the holes between the knit stitches are larger.
The basic rule of thumb is that if your face mask allows sufficient light to pass through, it’s not ideal. It’ll probably give the same provision for tiny viral particles. For DIY face masks, many experts recommend the use of tightly woven fabrics.
Qualities of an Effective Washable Face Mask
Basically, a washable face mask should meet the standards rolled out by the centers for disease control. Therefore, a good mask should cover your mouth and nose entirely, without compensating for your comfort.
Besides, since it is washable, you should easily clean it without any damage. It should also have a double fabric layer. Here are more qualities you need to look out for:
If you’re using a disposable face mask, endurance may be the least of your concerns. After all, you’ll dispose of it after single usage. On the flip side, a washable face mask goes through wear and tear. After usage, you’ll need to clean it properly.
Thus, it would help if the material used in the construction of this face mask is long lasting. It should easily endure multiple usage and washing.
Ease of Use
How easy is your face mask to wear and walk around with? Experts argue that masks with elastic bands are fairly easy to use. Nonetheless, a significant majority believe that such masks hold their ears too tight.
You’ll want a mask that’s easy on your ears, and doesn’t cause irritation. Therefore, get one with ergonomic straps. We spend a huge chunk of our time outside, and comfort is key when using a face mask.
A standard mask should have a snug fit, and run from your nose to the cheeks, ears, and chin seamlessly. This kind of fit also prevents any particles from getting in.
It Should Have Sufficient Filters
Filters help to guard against the entry of any particles through your mask. However, the filter shouldn’t prevent you from breathing properly. In case you’re using DIY methods, then you can make a filter using the following:
- Reusable non-shiny grocery bags.
- Paper towel.
- Coffee filter.
Type of Fabric
The type of fabric you use in making a washable face mask matters. Arguably, cotton is the best material to use so far, as it offers the best protection. Besides, cotton is breathable, as compared to some of the other materials.
Cotton has a high thread count, which is important for the prevention of particles into the mask. It might not be as effective as the N95 mask, but hey, it offers a significant level of protection.
How to Care for your Washable Face Mask
Making or buying a washable face mask is great, but you also need to take care of it. Here are some of the recommended care tips for your mask:
- Wash it regularly – using normal detergents, wash your face mask regularly after use. It would be convenient and extra-protective to use disinfectants. Also, if you have a washer-friendly variant, you can combine it with other laundry inside the machine.
- Wash before use – it is imperative that you always ensure your mask is clean before wearing it. A clean mask helps guard against infections – not only coronavirus, but also any other forms of disease.
- Avoid touching the mask during use – do not touch the front of the face mask, as you may contaminate it. However, if you accidentally touch your mask, be sure to disinfect it.
- Store your mask properly – do not throw your mask anywhere in the house. Instead, store it in a cool, dry place. Centers for disease control argue that storing masks improperly can aggravate your chances of getting different infections.
- Wash your hands or sanitize before wearing and removing the mask – often many forget to do this, but it is quite important. As much as you may believe that you never got into contact with anyone, or touched anything, chances are that your hands aren’t fully clean. Therefore, wouldn’t it be great if you sanitized and disinfected your hands before wearing and removing the mask? Oh and hey, it doesn’t cost you much really.
Using a face mask isn’t the only precaution to take during this pandemic. You’ll equally need to observe other preventive rules, including social distancing. However, getting the right washable face mask is a good step in keeping yourself safe. Be sure to observe all tips above to help you stay safe during this pandemic.