How good is your mask hygiene?

by | Feb 17, 2021 | Resources

We are all aware of Hands, Space, Face and are on the whole using face coverings when advised in indoor place, public transport and high footfall areas, but are we using our masks correctly and hygienically?
Whether you are using a disposable or reusable face mask do you know the correct way of using, cleaning and disposing of your mask?

Disposable mask hygiene

A report last year found that more than half of disposal mask wearers are using their masks more than once, according to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). The report showed that many people are wearing their masks multiple times before disposing of them.

In some circumstances, it may be possible to reuse a disposable mask and the same rules apply when removing and storing a reusable mask. However, the guidance is clear that any damp or soiled mask should be replaced as the effectiveness of a damp mask is greatly reduced and these should be disposed of. It is advised that disposal masks should only be worn for a maximum of four or five hours.

Many people are also not considering how to safely dispose of their mask to prevent risk to those handling waste. When you dispose of your mask you should dispose of it safely in an appropriate waste bin such as a closed bin and bag the mask where possible. If you can’t dispose of the mask straightaway you should place it safely in a bag or container until you can dispose of it.

Reusable mask hygiene

The same SAGE report found that only 12% of reusable mask wears surveyed knew how to wash their masks correctly or regularly enough. It also found that 34% are using them four or more times before cleaning them.

Cleaning your mask helps in deactivating any virus particles on the mask if cleaned effectively. You should consult your mask’s cleaning instructions for any special instructions first and follow them. However, most reusable masks can be washed in your washing machine on a hot setting using your usual washing detergent or by hand washing it in soapy water.

It is important to note that the face mask must be fully dry before use for it to be fully effective. So, it may be beneficial to have enough masks to allow you to have washing and drying time.
You should also store your mask safely in a bag or container before and after use to prevent the contamination of the mask and passing any virus from the mask to other items. It is advisable that masks are washed after each use, but if you do wear a mask briefly and reuse it you should again store it safely and ensure that the mask is dry.

And don’t forget hand hygiene when handling your mask

Hand hygiene whilst handling your mask is important and you should clean or sanitise your hands before and after handling the mask as well as using the ear loops or ties to put it on and off. You should also try to minimise touching your mask and readjusting your mask, and you should sanitise your hands when you do.

For more information or help to select the most suitable face covering for you and your business, please do get in touch here.