How to wash and disinfect reusable cloth or hygienic masks


Masks, whatever they are, have become essential in our day to day. Therefore, it is essential to know how to handle them, wash them -if applicable- and how to store them. We provide you with all the solutions.

The pandemic has drastically changed our routine. Now it is impossible to leave the house without the mask on duty. Proper use of the mask is vital to prevent the spread of the covid-19 .

However, since the beginning of the crisis, serious doubts have arisen about its cleanliness and care. Even on the most suitable type of mask, according to the user. In this article, we provide you with a guide to properly washing and caring for reusable or fabric hygienic masks .

What types of masks are there on the market?

Before knowing how to wash hygienic masks, we briefly review the most common types of masks on the market :

Surgical masks : They are the most common and their objective is to prevent us from transmitting the virus (if we have it). It should not be used for more than four hours in a row. They are not washable or reusable . They must be disposed of by tearing the rubbers off the ends, placing them in a paper or plastic envelope and recycling them in the household waste container.

FFP2 / KN95 Masks : Classified as PPE (Personal Protective Equipment ), it is the mask that protects others from the virus (if we are infected) and protects its user (from others). Its prolonged use can cause, in addition to losing effectiveness, the dreaded mascine . FFP2 or KN95 masks cannot be washed . It is preferable that they are used by high-risk people or healthcare personnel. There are two different types:

  • 1. FFP2 NR mask : NR means not reusable. It loses all its protective properties if it is washed or handled incorrectly. For comfort and hygiene they should not be used for more than 4 hours in a row.
  • 2. FFP2 R mask : R stands for reusable. They are masks that can be used up to 8 hours. Afterwards, they must be discarded.
how to wash reusable hygienic masks

Reusable or fabric hygienic masks: These are the most popular masks among the population. They are made of one or more layers of textile material. They can be reusable or single use. If they are reusable, they can be washed . These masks are the only ones that can be washed. But beware! It is necessary to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and not exceed the number of washes specified by the manufacturer.

First of all, it is convenient to know that, within this type of mask, those recommended by the Ministry of Health are the masks that meet the UNE 0064 and 0065 specifications . What does this mean? What are non-sanitary masks approved and suitable for use during the pandemic . Its bacterial filtration efficiency must be equal to or greater than 95% with a breathability less than 60 Pa / CM2.

How to wash reusable cloth or hygienic masks?

To properly wash and disinfect reusable cloth or hygienic masks, we provide you with two ways: The first is the one recommended by the Spanish Ministry of Health and, the next, the recommendation of the WHO (World Health Organization).

The Spanish Ministry of Health recommends two methods :

1. Program a normal wash cycle with high temperature water (60-90 degrees Celsius). Use your usual detergent . Put the masks to dry in a place with good ventilation.

2. If you choose to hand wash , follow these steps:

  • Step 1 : In a basin or bucket, pour 28 ml of bleach for each liter of cold water (these amounts are calculated for a bleach with 37g / l of active chlorine, the most common). If it is pure, high concentration bleach, the dissolution will be 1:50 . This means that each part of bleach will need to be diluted in 49 parts of water. For example: 10 ml of bleach should be diluted in 490 ml of water .
  • Step 2 : Enter the masks to be washed. Let them soak for 30 minutes .
  • Step 3 : Afterwards, you can schedule a short wash cycle with your regular detergent or continue with hand washing. Remember to use gloves for hand washing.
  • Step 4 : Rinse is very important. Always rinse with plenty of cold water to remove all traces of bleach or other detergents. We recommend avoiding the use of fabric softeners .
  • Step 5 : When drying, hang it in a place with good ventilation . At the time of storing, the same, in a place that is free from humidity, dust or other external agents. For example, a cardboard (shoe) box is a good place to store masks.
how-to-wash-reusable-hygienic-masks

The WHO (World Health Organization) recommend washing reusable cloth or hygienic masks in a normal wash cycle, with your usual detergent . As before, we recommend that you do not use fabric softeners of any kind.

Sounds simple, right? It is. The reason lies in that soaps and detergents containing surfactants , chemicals, breaking the shell where is located corona virus , destroying its infectivity. Surfactants are present in most commercial and household cleaning products.

But beware! It is very important not to mix different cleaning products . A common and very frequent mistake with the pandemic is to think that by mixing different products we will obtain better results.

A clear example is mixing liquid ammonia, such as volvone light , with bleach . This should not be done. Both products are very good at cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that we touch on a daily basis, but together, they are especially toxic to health. Make reasonable use of each of them.

Recommendations for use

Here are some recommendations for the use of masks, be they FFP2, surgical or hygienic:

FFP2 / KN 95 : If you go to work, but at work you take it off to use a hygienic mask, it is best to store the ffp2 mask in a paper bag. Before handling the mask, you should wash your hands. At home, you can follow the same pattern. Make sure that the storage place is a place without humidity and clean .

Surgical masks : cannot be reused. After use, tear off the rubbers, put it in a paper bag and recycle (they should go to the gray container). Whatever type they are, throwing a mask on the ground carries a fine , as well as being harmful to the environment.

Hygienic masks : We have already mentioned it, it is best to always carry a paper bag or a paper envelope for storage. As in the previous cases, try to disinfect and wash your hands before handling a mask, of whatever type.

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