It has been long established that a face mask is an essential tool in fighting the spread of the coronavirus. As you also know, there are different kinds of masks – disposable face masks, and reusable, washable face covers, such as cloth DIY masks. Well, as it turns out, there is a serious mistake you are probably making when it comes to the latter. See, failing to clean your DIY mask properly can bring germs dangerously close to your face, defeating its whole purpose.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you should wash your cloth face mask daily, either with a washing machine or by hand, following it up with a run through the dryer. However, there is one thing you should watch out from when washing your mask. According to The New York Times, you should never use bleach when washing your cloth masks – no matter how tempting it may be to disinfect it with something that is so notoriously known for being powerful. The reasoning behind it is that bleach, a harsh chemical, can degrade the fabric fibers over time, making them less effective at containing viral particles. So, whatever benefit some of you thought the bleach had in disinfecting your mask, it does not exist and even does the complete opposite.
If you are concerned that standard laundry detergent might not be strong enough to kill the virus, the article offered this encouraging response. Once viral particles get trapped by the mask, they immediately begin to die off since they are unable to replicate outside of the body. And even if that fails to happen, most bacteria will wash off in the washing machine, and all of it destroyed by the time the mask will come out of the dryer. Researchers have found that drying your clothes on a high setting kills the coronavirus in 20 minutes. So, in conclusion, if you disinfected your maks in bleach in the past, change masks, and going forward, make sure not to do that again.