3 Suggestions for Washing and Sanitizing of Reusable Masks
*Disclaimer: The article below is based solely on the opinion of the authors. None of the statements below are based on any tests or expertise on face mask cleaning or sanitizing. The objective of this article is to provide some suggestions on cleaning face masks made with fabrics purchased from Wazoodle Fabrics, based on the best of our knowledge and on information from CDC and EPA agents effective against Covid-19. This article is not to be perceived as professional or medical advice. No tests were performed to substantiate the recommendations. There is no guarantee that following them will prevent infection. The company holds no responsibility or liability about performance of the fabrics or masks made using them.
Since the emergence of the global pandemic Covid-19 coronavirus, we have received many inquiries about face masks (PPE) that can be made using fabrics. See the article, which contains our recommendations, on the blog here: 3 Fabrics That Can Be Used To Make Reusable Face Masks
Another important subject surrounding reusable face masks is how to clean and sanitize these masks after use. This is the CDC’s general guidance on how to protect yourself.
Here are our best recommendations for cleaning Wazoodle fabric face masks based on our understanding today and on common sense. This applies to all fabrics, with and without Antimicrobial Silvadur. (See here: Is Silvadur safe to use)
NOTE: Masks should be washed before use to remove any machine and handling residues.
Options for Cleaning A Used Mask:
- Hand wash using very hot water and ordinary dish washing soap (not lotion/moisturizing soaps). Heat the water, pour into a bucket with soap and immerse the face mask(s). If heavily soiled, add an oxygen cleaner (for example, Oxyclean) according to the package instructions. Agitate, soak. Rinse very well in plenty of water. Squeeze well. Let air dry.
- Machine wash, hot water, using laundry soap that DOES NOT contain fabric softeners; a powdered detergent is preferred. If in any doubt, choose a powder detergent. Add an extra rinse cycle as needed. Air dry or machine dry on a warm cycle. If machine drying, consider using a mesh bag to prevent damage to elastics or ties.
- Other sanitizers could be used with soap/detergent, when washing by either hand or machine. These are household bleach, liquid laundry sanitizers (for example, Pine Sol), quaternary ammonium salts, such as found in many over-the-counter cleaners (check the label). Follow the label directions!
Additional resources: EPA List N of disinfectants for use against Covid-19 (referred to as SARS-CoV-2).
In between short term uses or if washing a mask is not an option, here is what you could do:
Spray the mask (BOTH inside and out) to saturate with either 60% ethanol/ethyl alcohol (or greater percentage), or 70% isopropanol/isopropyl alcohol (or greater). Allow to air dry. This assumes that you have alcohol available in a spray bottle. Here is the CDC guidance on the alcohol percentages.