Just a few months ago leaving the house was simple. We’re all getting used to wearing a fabric face covering and having a stash on hand – but when you get home, what should you do with your used fabric face covering?
Do I need to wear a fabric face mask?
We’ve all been carefully following the social distancing regulations and wearing a fabric face mask doesn’t replace them. But the government and NHS have said that a cloth face covering can give the community that extra layer of protection against the spread of coronavirus.
If you’re taking public transport, you have to wear a face covering. Besides, in places where it’s difficult to stick to social distancing – like shops, pharmacies and petrol stations – having one handy is always sensible.
How to wash your fabric face covering
First thing’s first, make sure you wash it as soon as possible when you’re through the front door. Having a special box on hand which you can snap shut is helpful. Simply drop your fabric face covering into it and carry the box over to your washing machine.
The trick is to handle your fabric face covering as little as possible. So, put a clear label on your box and ask any visitors to take extra care too.
Here is our 6-step guide to washing your fabric face mask – stick it on the fridge and get the whole family in on your routine. It’ll soon become second nature.
- Take off your fabric face mask, being careful to only touch the ear loops or ties. Fold the outer corners together, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth until you’ve washed your hands thoroughly.
- Put your fabric face mask in the washing machine with your regular laundry detergent – Persil Bio Liquid Detergent. Use the hottest water setting for the cloth used to make the covering or follow the fabric face covering’s care label instructions. You can also throw your face covering in with your regular load of laundry.
- If you’re ill or worried you might have been in contact with Covid-19, step up your washing tactics. You can put it on a separate, hotter wash with a bleach-containing detergent like Persil Bio Washing Powder – the NHS recommends washing high-risk garments at 60°C – but check the care label first.
- Germs in the house? Show them the door with our guide to disinfecting clothes when someone’s been ill.
- Can’t use a washing machine? You should still wash your face covering by hand. Just add a detergent like our Bio Washing Powder or Liquid to a basin of warm water and drop your fabric face mask in, checking the care label to make sure the temperature is right.
- Soak for at least five minutes, then use warm or cool water to rinse your fabric face covering out.
- Make sure your fabric face mask is completely dry before wearing it again. Bacteria like damp environments, so don’t leave it wet in your washing machine. Use the highest heat setting on your tumble dryer or hang it out in direct sunlight.
- Wash your hands. Wet or dirty clothes are favourite spots for germs, so as soon as you’ve handled a used fabric face mask – or any other garment – give your hands a good clean using the government’s handwashing guidelines.
Sounds like a lot? Don’t worry, we’re all in the same boat. It will all become part of the household routine, and remember, every wash counts towards keeping you, your family and the community safe.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is accurate at the time of publishing. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it’s possible that some guidance may have changed since publication. While Persil is trying to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations by using GOV UK and NHS.