Guidelines for Cloth Face Masks
Cloth face coverings should—
- fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- be secured with ties or ear loops
- include multiple layers of fabric
- allow for breathing without restriction
- be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
The mask must cover both the nose and face. Avoid touching it and do not lower it to talk.
*** Sterilising ***
The US Centres for Disease Control advises disinfecting used cloth masks in the washing machine.
If you don’t have a washing machine, disinfect the mask by putting it in boiling water for about a minute. This will deactivate any virus on it, but repeated boiling will wear out the mask. The exact rate at which this is likely to happen has not been studied.
Ironing your cloth mask exposes it to temperatures of 180 to 220°C. Extreme heat destroys any virus in under a minute. But how repeated ironing may affect filtration is yet to be determined.
Not all disinfection methods are safe for the filtration capabilities of a mask.
Some methods can damage the fine interweaving mesh of fibres. Soaking masks in 75% alcohol and drying, or chlorine- or bleach-based disinfection, significantly reduced the filtration capabilities of a cotton mask.
*** Removing Face Masks ***
Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.
- If you wear a mask outside you must remove it safely when you get home.
- First, wash your hands. Avoid touching the part of the mask that covers your face while you undo any elastic, straps or knots.
- Remove the mask by holding it by the straps.
- Once it’s removed, wash your hands again.
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