For almost a year face coverings have been compulsory within indoor areas that are open to the public, but according to a study by YouGov, just 13% of reusable mask wearers are washing them frequently enough, and in the right way.
Face masks are going to be a necessity for the foreseeable future, and now more than ever it is vital to know how to keep them in good condition. From fabric to Teflon to surgical, GotParts747 has revealed what would happen if masks are not washed regularly and properly.
The dangers of not washing your face mask
Not only are unwashed masks inefficient in the fight against viruses like the coronavirus, they could actually become a health hazard. Masks can lose some of their protective features as a result of poor hygiene practices. In a worst case scenario, they’ll also become a threat of viral transmission themselves, due to cross contamination.
Fabric face coverings are designed to be washed after every use. The masks trap droplets from coughs and sneezes within their cloth layers. These droplets could well contain germs and viruses, which must be removed before the face covering is used again.
If masks aren’t washed after use, bacteria and other particles can build up within the fabric, posing a risk that grows more dangerous over time. Unwashed face masks can also prove detrimental to the skin, causing breakouts, skin irritation and other dermatological issues.
Do masks lose their effectiveness over time?
While some masks, such as surgical masks and respirators, do have an expiry date, the vast majority of reusable masks and fabric face coverings will maintain the same level of efficiency over time.
Cloth masks do not become less effective after multiple washes, as long as they are laundered according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Fabric masks will retain their protective properties for a prolonged period of time, but they must always be washed at a high temperature, using detergent to ensure that any harmful particles are removed.
How often should masks be washed and reused?
Not all masks are designed to be laundered and reused. Many face coverings now being used to protect wearers from coronavirus are disposable. These options, which include Teflon masks and surgical masks, tend to be used more regularly in medical settings such as hospitals, dental surgeries and clinics.
Disposable masks provide a higher level of protection for both the wearer and those around them, with a reduced risk of cross contamination. But for those in low-risk situations a reusable, washable face covering is often more practical. The World Health Organization (WHO) advises these be washed daily or possibly after every use.
CEO of Green Polymer Systems, Shawn Sahbari said: “Reusable masks are an effective tool in the fight against coronavirus. As long as they are washed properly, at a sufficiently high temperature, fabric face masks will provide wearers with good levels of protection for a long time to come. For higher risk situations, we advise the use of KN95 certified masks, teflon masks or surgical masks, all of which can be disposed of immediately after use.”
This post originally appeared here: https://gotparts747.com/blogs/news/never-washed-your-face-mask