How to wash your reusable face mask to ensure it's clean and virus-free

PHOTO: Instagram/Jamiegems

The month-long "circuit breaker" has started, and Singaporeans are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible.

If you absolutely have to leave your house for work or to dabao (take away) food, remember to observe good personal hygiene and put on a mask for added protection should you come in close contact with others.

Since last Sunday, the government has also started giving out reusable masks to every resident. You'll want to keep them clean so as to not put yourself at risk of contracting the coronavirus or other germs and bacterial infections. 

But first, do give the reusable mask a wash before putting them on, just as how you would with your newly bought clothes. 

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This helps to remove any harsh chemicals and colour dyes that may cause skin irritation, and you don't know for sure how many hands have touched the mask during the manufacturing process. 

When washing, do be careful not to mix it with other clothes, as an Instagram user commented on a post that the mask's colour will run after the first wash.

PHOTO: Instagram/Jamiegems Screenshot

The reusable masks also come with instructions by on how to wash it, and it's as simple as using warm soapy water to wash it after every use and leaving it out to dry under the sun.

PHOTO: AsiaOne/Bryan Lim

While we know that the coronavirus can remain active on stainless steel for up to three days, and up to 24 hours on cardboards, there is still no study on how long the virus can live on clothing and fabrics.

However, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that clothes that have been worn outdoors should be washed immediately, "using the warmest appropriate water setting" according to the clothes manufacturer’s instructions and it should dry completely.

It also notes that flu viruses can be killed with temperatures above 75 degrees, along with the use of common household cleaning products like detergents. 

PHOTO: CDC screengrab

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