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Clean, sanitize, and reuse your mask by following these guidelines

Updated on:25 August 2020, 14:32pm IST
Just sanitizing your hands isn't enough. You need to sanitize your mask too if you are going to reuse it.
Rhythma Kaul
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Follow these tips to sanitize your face mask. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Wearing a mask has become mandatory. But just wearing it is not enough. You also need to keep it clean and disinfect it regularly. That’s because the front portion of your mask is exposed to the covid-19 virus and it might act as a carrier if not taken care of.

And so, we’ve got you these handy tips that will help you keep your masks virus-free.

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1. Wash your mask in warm water
Wash the mask thoroughly with soap and clean warm water. Water that is slightly warm (30 degrees Celsius) is good enough. Rinse the mask well, leaving no trace of the detergent. Do not soak.

2. Dry in proper sunlight
Lightly press the mask to let the excess water drip. Leave it to dry outside in the sun. Allow it to remain in the sun for at least five hours or longer.

sanitize face mask
Keep your mask clean. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

For areas with limited sunlight, add salt (2-3 teaspoons) to water and boil the mask in hot water. You can also use a pressure cooker. Keep it soaked for at least 15 minutes

Let the excess water drip by lightly pressing the mask and then leave it to dry.

Here is a few heads up in case there you can’t access boiling water
In such a situation, use clean water and soap to wash the mask thoroughly. After that, use an iron or heating rod to apply heat for up to 5 minutes. Don’t overdo it, otherwise your mask might loosen up a little. 

Before you start sanitizing your mask, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Do not clean and boil disposable masks as they are made of a material that gets spoilt on washing.
2. Thoroughly wash and clean the mask before wearing it.
3. Wash your hands thoroughly before wearing a mask. You can also use an alcohol-based rub.
4. Inspect the mask for damage before use.
5. Switch to another mask as soon as the mask becomes damp or humid.
6. Store your mask only in a clean plastic, resealable bag if it is not dirty or wet, and you plan to re-use.
7. Remove the mask by the straps when taking it out of the plastic bag
8. Do not wear a loose poorly-fitted mask.
9. Masks should cover your nose, mouth and chin.
10. Never reuse a mask without cleaning it.
11. Don’t pull down your mask even while speaking as tiny droplets get released while speaking, increasing risk of disease spread.
12. Do not remove the mask where there are people within 1 metre distance.
13. Do not use a mask that’s difficult to breathe through.
14. Do not share your mask with anyone (including family members).

All these guidelines are issued in public interest by the Ministry of Health.

(With inputs from Nikita Bhardwaj)

Rhythma Kaul Rhythma Kaul

Rhythma Kaul works as an assistant editor at Hindustan Times. She covers health and related topics, including ministry of health and family welfare, government of India.