Mask Up and Make a Difference: Wearing and Caring for your Face Covering

Wearing a face covering is for the protection of others. Using and caring for your face covering properly, however, is for YOUR protection. 

Face coverings absorb your respiratory droplets (think of them like a sponge!), and those respiratory droplets may carry COVID-19 if you have been exposed, so handle face coverings with extra care to avoid spreading the virus to your hands and face. COVID-19 has been found to stay on surgical masks for up to seven days, so all face coverings should be cleaned regularly or thrown away if disposable.

✅ Wearing it correctly✅ Taking it off correctly✅ Washing it correctly
Do not share face coverings with others, even with people in your household.

Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before putting it on.

Adjust the fit as needed so that it fits snugly to your face.

Make sure it covers your nose AND mouth and leave it there. Not only does it not work if it isn’t covering both areas, but it can spread the virus onto other areas of your body and your clothes if the face covering is repeatedly moved on/off the face and left to sit around your neck.

You should be able to breathe normally, even though it may feel warm and uncomfortable.

Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before AND after touching or adjusting your face covering while wearing it.

Face coverings should be replaced if they become damp.

Wear your face covering any time you are away from home, cannot maintain 6ft of physical distance, and/or as required by business or local laws. Keep spare disposable masks in your car in case you forget!
Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before touching it or taking it off, AND afterwards. 

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth while taking it off.

Handle it by the ear loops, ties, or edges as you take it off.

Avoid touching any part of the face covering that was near your nose or mouth.

Place face covering directly into a washing machine or designated container like a resealable plastic tupperware or baggie until it can be washed. 

If switching face coverings during the day is challenging and your risk of exposure is low, one option is leaving your face covering on your car’s dash in full sunlight for about 90 minutes. If it is at least 95 degrees outside, your car’s interior will be about 135F–and the dashboard may be even hotter. This amount of intense heat will inactivate most, if not all, of the virus. Please note, these temperatures are NOT safe for humans or animals.  
Cloth face coverings can typically be washed with your regular laundry in the washing machine, but please check care instructions before washing. Some filter materials should not be washed. 

Wash face coverings in the hottest water possible and use soap or detergent.

If handwashing: soak them for 5 minutes in a bleach solution of 4 tsp bleach (note: color-safe bleach is not effective) per 4 cups of room temperature water; rinse thoroughly with running water.

Face coverings should be dried completely before reusing, either in the dryer on the hottest setting or laid flat to air dry, ideally in direct sunlight.
 
If your face covering has a polypropylene filter, add static by ironing or rubbing it with a plastic glove for 20 seconds – static charge can increase the efficacy of your covering.

Face coverings should be washed after each use or at least once a day.

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