So you’ve bought one of my face masks and your phizzog is now duly adorned with cacti, cats and all manner of batiks. Question is, how do you actually care for your fabric face mask? Do you just sling it on the bedroom floor when you’re done and panic the next time you need it? Do you keep it in a glass case like your last emergency cigarette? Or do you get your shit together and make that little piece of fabric work like Covid-19 on a new host? (Answer: you get your shit together. Here’s how)
Keeping it clean
If you really want to care for your fabric face mask, you’ll wash it after every day use. It’s about forming a hygienic mask habit. So do what you’d usually do, in your mask, and pop it in the washing machine when you return home. A normal hot wash with your usual detergent is enough. Oh, and if you need to wear a mask every day, buy in more than one. The danger of relying on just one mask is that you’ll be tempted to skip the hygiene bit for convenience and… c’mon.
Feel free to tumble dry your face mask but be aware that this will degrade the elastic waaaay faster than if you air dry it. If you want to really care for your face mask, air drying is fine. Just pat the pleats into place with clean hands and place it where it can then dry without being touched too often. Your laundry wash will have been enough to kill the virus so it doesn’t need the added tumbly heat to be clean.
Nothing will give those mask pleats a crisp edge like a hot iron. Be warned though: if you really want to care for your fabric face mask, avoid ironing the elastic like, well, our current plague. I’ve done my own experiments and discovered that low to moderate heat is fine but the highest temperature will make the elastic so brittle that it’ll snap. If you do have to iron, just keep the heat on the fabric.
Knowing when to wear it
Social distancing remains the best way to stay free of Covid-10. But if you do need to leave your personal hermitage, at least know the right and wrong ways of using your face mask. You can find out all about that right here.
I know, it’s tempting to share your mask with a member of your household. Thing is, to care for your fabric face mask also means being bogglingly selfish with it. If you borrow someone’s mask they may transfer their Covid-19 to you and, in return, your Coronafilth could be transferred to them. Form good habits by making sure that everyone in the family has their own mask and that they are never mixed up. In fact, buy a different print or colour for each family member; you’ll find up to 36 prints to chose from when you buy a Kraken Kreations mask. That way you’ll never make the mistake.
Removing it carefully
While wearing a mask is all about you not giving Covid-19 to others, it makes sense to not transfer anything from your mask to your own bumbling paws. When you remove it pull it off your ears by the elastic rather than pressing your hands against the fabric and avoid touching your face, mouth and eyes as you do so. If you have the urge to scratch your face upon mask removal, don’t do it until you’ve washed your hands.
Storing it well
If you have to take your mask off when you are outside, store it carefully until it can be washed. Remove it by the elastic and fold it so that the contaminated, forward-facing fabric is folded in on itself. Ideally you’d also pop it in a bag to keep it safe but that’s not always possible. Just do what you can, when you can.
Washing your hands
Get into the habit of caring for your fabric face-mask by washing your hands before and after using it. Putting it on with clean hands means it’s not dirty before you’ve even worn it. Washing your hands after taking it off means that anything on the mask has not been transferred to your skin. Don’t assume safety just for the sake of singing Happy Birthday while hosing your paws.
Washing your face
Some people say their skin isn’t coping with mask-wearing while others have no problems. Either way, keep up the facial hygiene. Perhaps avoid wearing make-up under the mask to allow your skin to breathe. And be aware that any heat from mask wearing could make your skin oily or block your pores. In fact, you could keep your chops beautifully clean with my washable facial pads. They have a soft side and a rougher side for buffing and can be popped in the wash at the same time as your face-mask. Easy!