How to Clean Face Masks
The CDC has general guidelines on how to properly clean most cloth and fabric masks:
- Fabric face masks should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use
- A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering
- Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing
However, these one-size-fits-all guidelines don’t necessarily take into account the different types of fabric and filters used, especially in DIY masks. Carolyn Forte, Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, suggests that all face masks should be washed with hot water in the washing machine, and tumble dried on high heat. More delicate masks that are handsewn may need to be washed by hand. If so, lather masks with soap and scrub them for at least 20 seconds with warm to hot water before tossing in the dryer. For peace of mind, iron masks on the cotton or linen setting to kill any remaining germs.
While there are some other cleaning methods floating around the Internet that suggest sanitizing face masks by sticking them in the microwave, oven, or a pot of boiling water, Forte doesn’t recommended them since they are nowhere near as effective as standard washing and drying.