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Family wearing face masks outdoors

How To Wash a Face Mask at Home: Step-by-Step

Just a few months ago leaving the house was simple. We’re all getting used to wearing a face covering and having a stash on hand – but when you get home, what should you do with your used face covering, if it’s fabric?


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 or in places where it’s difficult to stick to social distancing – like shops, pharmacies and petrol stations – then you should wear a face mask unless you are exempt from doing so.


How to wash fabric face masks at home

First thing’s first, make sure you wash your fabric face mask 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 a bucket, then follow the set of instructions below. The trick is to handle your fabric face covering as little as possible.


How to wash fabric face masks by hand with Persil Antibacterial Laundry Sanitiser

It’s also important to use a product which will remove germs effectively. To effectively get rid of as many germs as possible on your face mask we recommend you use Persil Antibacterial Laundry Sanitiser to wash your face mask. It has been specially developed to kill 99.9% viruses* and bacteria even at temperatures as low as 20°C, leaving your face mask hygienically clean every time. 

Confused about how to hand wash your face mask? Don't worry - these simple steps will help you out. 

  1. Take off your fabric face mask, being careful to only touch the ear loops or ties. If you have them, use gloves to remove the face mask. Fold the outer corners together, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth until you've washed your hands thoroughly.
  2. Make sure you wear gloves before you start washing.
  3. Place your face mask in a 5L bucket of warm water (at around 20°C)
  4. Add one 50ml dose of Persil Antibacterial Laundry Sanitiser, which kills 99.9% viruses and bacteria*. It is effective at temperatures as low as 20 degrees and is safe on coloured fabrics
  5. We would recommend using a sanitiser to keep your mask extra hygienically clean and kill 99.9% viruses* and bacteria, however, if you don’t have a sanitiser there are other products you can use to clean your mask. 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.
  6. Leave the face mask to soak in the solution for around 10 minutes
  7. Then, rinse the mask thoroughly in clean water
  8. Leave the mask to air dry. Make sure your fabric face mask is completely dry before wearing it again. Bacteria likes damp environments, so try to make sure your mask dries as quickly as possible.

Have a look at our step-by-step video below for more guidance:

Family wearing face masks outside

How to wash face masks with filters, nose wire, or elastic

Some face masks require a little extra care than others to ensure they are not damaged. If you need to know how to wash face masks with elastic or nose wire, follow the handwashing steps.

For face masks with filters, you need to separate the filter from the main mask and wash them separately. This only applies to reusable filters though so always check with the mask manufacturer as some filters are only intended for single use. As with any type of laundry, it's important to dry your face mask and filter as quickly as possible after washing. You can do this by air-drying outside, using the tumble dryer, or even holding a hairdryer about 15-20cm above the item on a gentle heat.

Sound 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.


Ill or worried you have been in contact with someone who is ill?

If you’re ill or worried you might have been in contact with Covid-19, it’s not just important to wash your face mask carefully.  It is important to give some attention to the laundry. Discover our top tips on how to disinfect your clothes after illness and prevent diseases from spreading in your home.

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 on other ways to keep their face masks clean by using GOV UK and NHS.

*Laboratory tested on Influenza H1N1, Vacciniavirus, murine coronavirus (EN14476, 10 mins). Please use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

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