How to keep your mask safe and clean

Published: Apr. 16, 2020 at 6:17 PM EDT
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You know you need to wear masks in public to help stop the spread of COVID-19, but when do you wash them?

It's suggested you wash your cloth mask every one or two days of use. Largely, it depends on how often during the day you are wearing it.

"The contamination of a mask is your own contamination. The mask is unlikely to be picking up infection from the air in most scenarios, so it's really what you are conformable with," said Dr. Wouter Rietsema of the Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital.

The CDC says running a cloth mask through a washing machine should suffice for cleaning it.

When it comes to disposable masks, you will want to make sure you toss those sooner rather than later.

"There is no mechanism to clear those. Once it becomes moist or visibly soiled, I think anyone in the public wearing those should not wear it anymore," Rietsema said.

The doctor says he knows people want to get out and get back to normal, but he says the measures the state is enforcing are working and now is not the time to ease up.

"This is not the time to start opening up because if it is we will just see this bounce right back up. It is not absent. It is less, but it is not absent," Rietsema said.

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