The right way to wear, take off and wash a face cover aka homemade, reusable mask
While wearing a face cover is important, equally important is to know how to wear it, take it off, store it and wash it the right way.
With the rise in coronavirus cases in India, more and more cities and states are making masks or face covers compulsory for when you step out of your homes. Mumbai was the first in India to pass this regulation on 8 April. It was followed by Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Ladakh and we can expect more states to join them soon as well.
With this ruling comes not only the need to wear a face cover (which can be a store-bought face mask, homemade face cover, and even a makeshift one fashioned from a piece of cloth or a handkerchief), but also to know how to wear it, take it off, store it and wash it the right way. Here’s all you need to know about that:
Wearing a face cover
- Wash your hands before putting on the face cover.
- Make sure the face cover has been cleaned thoroughly before putting it on.
- Hold it from the strings to wear it, and not from any other part.
- Tie the strings around your head. The string extending from the bottom of the mask should go around and lie towards the top back of your head and the string extending from the top of the mask should go towards the bottom back of your head. This is to ensure it doesn’t slip.
- Make sure it fits well and that there are no open spaces at the side.
- Do not reverse it to reuse - it must be washed after each use.
Taking the face cover off
- Do not touch any other part of the face cover but the strings to take it off.
- The strings attached to the bottom of the face cover should be loosened first.
- Then untie the other strings and move the mask away from your face.
- Immediately put the cover in for cleaning.
- Wash your hand with soap and water for 40 seconds immediately after taking the face cover off. Alternatively, you can use a hand sanitizer with over 65% alcohol.
Washing a face cover
Ensure that you have 2 face covers per person so that while one is being washed, you can wear the second one. There are three ways you could clean a face cover:
- Wash it properly with soap and water. Dry it thoroughly in the sun for 5 hours.
- Pressure boil the face cover in a pressure cooker with salted water for 10 minutes. Boil it in another utensil for 15 minutes if you don’t have a pressure cooker.
- Wash with soap and water. Then apply heat on it with an iron for 5 minutes.
Storing a face cover
Do not share your face cover with anyone else. If you live or work with others, make sure you keep all your masks separately.
- Take a plastic bag and fill it with some soap solution.
- Swish the solution around to thoroughly clean the inside of the bag.
- Hang it to dry from both the sides. Do not touch the inside.
- Store your clean mask in this bag until you need it.
- Ensure that the bag is sealed well from all sides.
For more information, read our article on Face covers to battle COVID-19.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
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