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How to Clean & Sanitize Cloth, N95, or KN95 Face Masks.
The cleaning and sanitization of N95, KN95, and cloth face masks are likely to increase since many are now using this form of PPE.
Because of a limited supply, healthcare workers and ordinary people alike may need to reuse their face masks. This article will educate you on various types of face masks and how to sanitize them from virus contamination.
How to decontaminate cloth face masks.
KN95 face masks should be washed often. The California department of public health recommends after each use or daily. Cloth masks should be washed using detergent with hot water and then dried on a hot cycle to eliminate bacteria and microbes.
Essentially, hot soapy water is the key. Soap can crush the protein coat of the virus and is very effective. If you must re-wear your mask before you can wash it, it is recommended to clean your hands immediately after wearing it back on to avoid touching your face.
General guidelines for cloth masks
Face coverings can be created from cloth, factory-made or hand-sewn, or improvised using bandannas, scarves, T-shirts, or towels.
- The cloth should cover both the nose and mouth.
- Ideally, face coverings should be cleaned after each use. Dirty masks should be placed in a secluded laundry bag or bin.
- Use detergent and hot water when cleaning cloth masks, and dry them on a hot cycle.
- Be sure your mask is comfortable; you want to avoid adjusting the mask because that means touching your face.
- Clean your hands, or use hand sanitizer, prior to and after touching your face or face coverings.
- If you must wear your cloth face-covering again prior to washing it, wash your hands immediately after wearing it back on and avoid touching your face.
Discard or get rid of cloth face coverings that:
- Cannot cover the nose and mouth
- Have stretched out or destroyed ties or straps
- Cannot remain on the face
- Have holes or wear in the fabric
Do cloth masks protect against viruses such as COVID-19?
Cloth masks do not provide the full wearer protection against viruses in the air, but they can assist protect others by barricading biological aerosols or droplets having the virus. This is specifically effective in cases where asymptomatic people may be spreading the virus without knowing it.