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How to Store and Wash Masks

How to Store and Wash Masks from the CDC

  • Store your cloth mask properly and wash it regularly to keep it clean.
  • Consider having more than one mask on hand so that you can easily replace a dirty mask with a clean one.
  • Make sure to remove your mask correctly and wash your hands after touching a used mask.

Store your mask

Store wet or dirty masks in a plastic bagface mask being placed in a plastic bag

If your mask is wet or dirty from sweat, saliva, make-up, or other liquids or substances, keep it in a sealed plastic bag until you can wash it. Wash wet or dirty masks as soon as possible to prevent them from becoming moldy. Wet masks can be hard to breathe through and are less effective than dry masks.

Store masks that are not wet or dirty in a paper bagmask being placed in paper bag

You can store your mask temporarily to reuse later. Remove your mask correctly and wash your hands after touching a used mask. Keep it in a dry, breathable bag (like a paper or mesh fabric bag) to keep it clean between uses. When reusing your mask, keep the same side facing out.

If you are taking off your mask to eat or drink outside of your home, you can place it somewhere safe to keep it clean, such as your pocket, purse, or paper bag. Make sure to wash or sanitize your hands after removing your mask. After eating, put the mask back on with the same side facing out. Be sure to wash or sanitize your hands again after putting your mask back on.

Wash your mask

Wash your cloth mask whenever it gets dirty or at least daily. If you have a disposable face mask, throw it away after wearing it once.

Using a washing machineillustration, washing machine
  • Include your mask with your regular laundry.
  • Use regular laundry detergent and the appropriate settings according to the fabric label.
By handlaundry detergent
  • Wash your mask with tap water and laundry detergent or soap.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove detergent or soap.

Dry your mask

DryerIllustration clothes in dryer
  • Dry your mask completely in a warm or hot dryer
Air dryillustration, cloth masks hanging on a clothes line
  • Hang your mask in direct sunlight to dry completely. If you cannot hang it in direct sunlight, hang or lay it flat and let it dry completely.

Updated Oct. 28, 2020 from cdc.gov.

Learn more about how to wear masks correctly here.

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