Health how to properly wash a cloth mask and how...

how to properly wash a cloth mask and how often is it reusable?

Spread, risks, symptoms, good practices, evolution of the virus… Faced with the health crisis linked to the Covid-19 epidemic, the editorial staff of Sud Ouest is mobilizing to answer questions from its readers.

>>> Find our Covid-19 file, our experts answer your questions

Your question

Mireille, from Cadillac (33). “I have a cloth mask, but how do I wash it to disinfect it properly and how often? How often is it reusable?”

The editorial staff advises you

Our answer

Faced with the shortage of surgical masks and FFP2, which are given priority to healthcare personnel, many of you have started making fabric masks, thanks to tutorials on the Internet. For the start of deconfinement, scheduled from May 11, the state is committed to providing approved mass masks to the French. Distribution could start on May 4.

>>> Read also: Efficiency, manufacturing, distribution … What we know about consumer masks

These masks must be scrupulously washed so as not to become real nests for microbes. At the end of March, the Afnor standardization association developed a guide to minimum requirements regarding their preparation but their use. Here are his recommendations.

The cloth mask should be washed after each use for at least 30 minutes at 60 ° with detergent. Before washing in the washing machine, Afnor recommends cleaning its washing machine by cold rinsing with bleach or spinning it empty, at 60 or 95 °, without spinning.

The association does not recommend drying in the open air. The mask must be dried within two hours after leaving the machine, in the dryer (remember to clean the filter and wash your hands afterwards) or using a hair dryer. Please note, all layers of the mask must be completely dry before reuse, so Afnor recommends over-drying it. It can also be ironed, but this cannot in any case replace washing. Likewise, there’s no point in putting your mask in the freezer instead, to disinfect it, the viral agent would be kept.

Regarding the reuse of the mask, note that it is not washable endlessly, but only between 5 and 20 times depending on the model. Otherwise, it cannot be used for more than 4 hours. Ideally, it should be changed as soon as it starts to get wet. If it cannot be washed as soon as you remove it, it is best to keep it in an airtight container (then wash your hands and clean the outside of the container).

>>> Read also: How to properly put (and remove) the mask

Once the number of authorized washes has been reached, the mask must be discarded (and even before if you notice signs of wear). In this case, put it in a trash can with a plastic bag and closed. Afnor specifies that double packaging is recommended if the bag tears during waste collection.

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