Masks have become an essential object of human life. The pandemic caused by the coronavirus has forced safety and hygiene measures to be taken extreme. Masks are part of this type of measure and there are several types: cloth, hygienic and surgical.
Fabric masks have some advantages such as reuse, since their washing cycle is unlimited, and even the possibility of customizing their design. The use of filters in these masks give greater protection, but it is very important to wash them properly so that they maintain a good level of effectiveness. To discover how to wash fabric masks and the basic instructions to follow to achieve it, I recommend that you continue reading this article.
Wash the cloth mask with water and bleach
It is important to know how to wash the masks by hand. It is a slower washing process, but very effective.
The first step in this method is to mix water and bleach in a bowl . Controlling the amounts of water and bleach is essential. For every liter of cold water poured, the bleach to add is 28 ml as long as it is bleach with active chlorine, that is, the most common. If you use pure high-concentration bleach, the distribution of the solution should be 1/50: for each dose of bleach, it must be diluted with 49 doses of water. In practice, for every 10 ml of bleach it must be diluted in 490 ml of cold water. It is very important to measure these quantities and handle them with gloves so that the solution is not harmful to health.
Washing the cloth mask in the washing machine
It should be noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends washing reusable and fabric hygienic masks with normal wash cycles , using your usual detergent. Keep this in mind whenever you are going to wash them in the washing machine and remember not to use any type of fabric softener.
To wash fabric masks in the washing machine, follow these simple steps :
- Select a normal wash cycle at a temperature of 60-90 o C.
- Add your usual detergent.
- Dry the masks in a place with good ventilation, preferably in the sun.
Cloth masks have an unlimited wash cycle, but hygienic masks do not. Those of this type support a maximum of 25 washes, so once they reach this figure they must be discarded.
Have you ever wondered if surgical masks can be washed? Being the most common, doubts about their use and washing are constant. Therefore, it is important to clarify that they cannot be used for more than 4 consecutive hours. In addition, surgical masks are not reusable or washable, so there is no washing method. Once the four hours of use have been completed, you must dispose of them in the following way: tear off the rubber bands from the ends of the mask, placing them in a plastic or paper envelope. Recycle these masks in the organic waste container.
Rinse cloth masks
The rinsing of cloth masks is another important step in this washing method. You should always do it with plenty of cold water , making sure to remove the remains of detergent and bleach accumulated in the material of the masks. In addition, it is advisable not to use fabric softeners that can damage the fabric or accumulate with the remains of bleach and detergent, forcing a much deeper rinse.
Drying the cloth masks
Lastly, dry the cloth masks by laying them in a location with optimal ventilation . Before storing them, check that they are completely dry and place them somewhere isolated from dust, moisture and other external agents. Wondering where to store freshly laundered cloth masks? A shoe box or any other cardboard is an ideal place to deposit them.
Disinfect cloth masks
The disinfectant spray with alcohol is a good resource if you want to know how to wash the filter cloth masks quickly, since its effect is immediate when applied on the masks. For any emergency washing, it is an alternative to consider, since you only have to apply alcohol on the mask, preferably you should do it with a spray.
Another option to disinfect the cloth masks is to place them in the bucket with water and bleach . They must be soaked for at least 30 minutes for the diluted bleach to act to completely disinfect the fabric and filter. After the half hour of soaking the masks, program a short wash cycle in the washing machine with the detergent you normally use. But if you are interested in knowing how to wash fabric masks without a washing machine, you should simply continue with hand washing using gloves that protect your hands from bleach.
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