Whether you’re wearing a cloth bandana, a fashionable cloth mask or a disposable mask, make sure your protective gear stays sanitary. Here’s how.
A standard laundry cycle is enough to wash the coronavirus off cloth, according to the WHO and CDC. The water temperature in the washing machine doesn’t matter as long as you use detergent. The high, concentrated heat from a dryer offers added protection: it’s enough to kill most microorganisms.
Unlike cloth coverings, medical masks – including the N95 mask – is intended for single use are made of non-woven synthetic fabrics that can’t withstand a typical laundry cycle. Experts warn if you wash them it will do a lot of damage to their filtration capability
For the general public, the bottom line is, you should ideally only wear medical masks once—and if you’re going to reuse them, set them aside between uses long enough for the virus to decay.
The take-home message is that the virus can remain infectious for several hours, potentially up to a few days, on various surfaces, including masks.
Social distancing and frequent hand-washing remain the most valuable ways, experts say, to keep from spreading or being infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the global pandemic.
Scientists are still tying to figure out exactly how long SARS-CoV-2 – the virus behind theCOVID-19 global pandemic – lasts on surfaces, in the air, and on masks.