How To Use and Clean Your Masks
First, wash your hands with soap or use hand sanitizer before wearing your mask. Identify the exterior and interior of the masks and wear it by holding it by the elastic bands, making sure that the interior surface is in contact with your skin. Second, remove the masks by untying the strings or slipping the elastic bands from your ears. Finally, clean your hands after removing the masks.
Don’t touch the mask while wearing it or in order to remove it.
When it comes to cloth masks, they can be laundered normally with hot water and disinfectant and air-dried in direct sunlight. Disposable masks can not be cleaned and should be disposed of after use. Cleaning them weakens their filters and their ability to protect you.
However, you can get up to 5 times usage of the KN95 or N95 masks before disposing of them. These are reserved for medical workers but if you have one, you can wear it 5 times before disposing of them.
To disinfect and wash clothe masks without a washer and a dryer:
- Make a bleach solution using 4 tablespoons of disinfectant and 1 litre of water.
- Let your mask sit in the solution for 10 minutes.
- Rinse well.
- Let it air dry in the sun.
To disinfect and wash clothe masks with a washer and a dryer:
- Remove additional or detachable parts like elastic bands from cloth masks or bandanas.
- Use a mesh laundry bag to keep them free from other garments.
- Set your machine temperature to high or to temperatures of 140° Fahrenheit.
- Use the sanitize cycle if your machine has one.
- Use a detergent that contains a disinfectant.
- Dry the masks using direct sunlight or the highest dryer setting.
How and When To Use Hand Sanitizer
Alcohol-based sanitizers are simple to use and convenient. They’re portable and the quickest way to eliminate microbes if you have compromised yourself. However, the CDC recommends using soap and water whenever possible.
In case you’re not able to access soap and water, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content to avoid getting sick or spreading the germs to others. Although hand sanitizer kills germs, It does not eliminate all types of germs. Therefore, soap and water should be your first option.
Use hand sanitizer when:
- You have no access to soap and water.
- You want added protection after washing with soap and water.
Don’t use hand sanitizer when:
- Your hands are visibly dirty.
- As a replacement for soap and water.
- When you have chemicals on your hands.
How To Use Liquid Hand Wash
Washing your hands is the first option when it comes to protecting yourself from COVID-19. Using hand sanitizers is the second option in the event there’s no soap and water, or as an added measure of protection after washing your hands especially if you plan to step out.
Here are key times to wash your hands:
- Before, during and after preparing food.
- After using the washroom.
- After removing your mask.
- Before and after caring for a sick person.
- After blowing your nose, sneezing and coughing.
- After touching or disposing of garbage.
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who’s used the washroom.
- After handling a pet, animals or animal waste.
- Before and after treating a wound.
Washing your hands is the easiest way to prevent germs from spreading within a community. Here are 5 steps to follow to ensure clean hands:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Hopefully, these tips will help you stay clean and healthy. Additionally, you can set up a ‘cleanliness’ area next to your sink with everything you need to ensure cleanliness, including fresh towels. Having an accessible area helps maintain cleanliness in your home.
This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for a Doctor’s advice. Consult a doctor before making any medical decision and keep yourself up to date with COVID-19 updates from WHO.