While cloth face masks aren’t N-95 respirators, and can only keep your germs from reaching others, they’re still an important part in keeping everyone around you safe. However, it’s not enough just to wear one—you should also know how to clean a face mask properly. If you’ve stocked up on cute cloth face masks, make sure you’re keeping them clean for each use. Especially if you have necessary errands to run often or work in an industry that requires you wear a mask, taking the time to clean your cloth face masks is an important safety step. Don’t worry, though; cleaning your cloth face mask is easier than you might think.
The CDC recommends washing your cloth face mask routinely, depending on how often you use it. If you need to frequently wear your face mask, the safest practice is to just wash it after each use. While this can feel tedious, think about how often you’d wash a handkerchief. While most of us don’t actually use handkerchiefs nowadays—well, maybe your granddad still does—you still wouldn’t want to sneeze or cough into a piece of fabric and then use it again the next day. Even if you don’t sneeze or cough when you wear a face mask, you’re still breathing into it directly. Play it safe and wash your mask after every use.
Luckily, if you’re doing a load of laundry, you can throw your cloth mask in as well. According to the CDC, washing machines are a safe way to wash your face mask. Make sure you use a detergent that won’t irritate your skin, though. The fabric is close to your mouth, so if you have sensitive skin, you might want to grab a fragrance free or gentle detergent to use when washing your mask. Along with keeping your mask clean and forgoing makeup on the lower half of your face, this can help reduce irritation and mask acne.
If you’re on the hunt for some gentle detergents to try, we rounded up a few below to help you find the right fit. Whether it’s scentless or made for sensitive skin, there are plenty of detergents that can help prevent irritation while wearing a cloth mask.
1. Tide Free & Gentle Pods
Tide’s free and gentle pods are hypoallergenic, so the detergent is less likely to irritate your skin. Plus, pods can make it easier to do laundry when you’re tired of measuring out liquid detergent. We love a laundry hack!
2. Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin Laundry Detergent
The Arm & Hammer laundry detergent for sensitive skin has no dyes or perfumes and is hypoallergenic. It’s specifically formulated for those with sensitive skin, so if you’re worried about irritation, you might want to try this laundry detergent.
3. All Free & Clear Laundry Detergent
All free and clear laundry detergent is what my parents have used for years—and I stand by it. It has no perfumes or dyes and removes allergens (like pet hair or pollen) from your fabrics as well.
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