The Best Way To Clean A Cloth Mask

cloth mask

A cloth mask, you’re now encouraged not to leave home without one. In fact, they protect others from your germs, slowing the spread of illness. When you breathe in tiny germ particles, they enter your body then multiply. Unfortunately, you can be sick for days without knowing it, unintentionally spreading your germs to others. But a dirty mask can’t protect you, or anyone else – so follow the tips below to make sure your mask stays clean.

First things first, remember that N-95 respirator masks and disposable surgical masks need to be prioritized for hospitals and medical professionals. And children under the age of 2 should not wear masks at all.

Secondly, are you wearing and removing your cloth mask correctly? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), your cloth mask needs to:

  • Cover your nose and mouth
  • Fit snugly, without gaps
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for easy breathing
  • Be machine washable in hot water and dryable on high heat

It’s also worth noting not all cloth is good at keeping germs from spreading. However, recent tests show cloth masks made with quilting fabric can perform as good as surgical masks. High-quality, tightly knit fabric with a high thread count of at least 180 threads per inch, works best.

RELATED: Video – Renown Hospital Staff Help Fill a Shortage of Masks

How to Clean a Cloth Mask

It is recommended to wash and dry your mask on the “hot” setting to keep it clean. Generally washers reach 130 degrees on a hot water setting and 165 degrees on a sanitizing setting. Similarly, dryers reach 150 degrees. You can also disinfect the mask by adding bleach to the wash cycle. According to Clorox, ¾ cup of bleach is all you need for a regular size load.

Keep in mind some fabrics are not colorfast and will fade with bleach, while others, such as spandex, could be ruined.

Other ways to disinfect your cloth mask include:

  • Borax
  • Oxygen bleach
  • Sunlight
  • Pine oil (toxic to cats)

When to Clean a Cloth Mask

It’s ideal to wash your cloth mask after every use. Also be careful when removing your mask. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Most important, wash your hands thoroughly before putting on, and after removing, your mask.

All people entering Renown sites must bring and wear a face mask with ear loops or head strap(s).

RELATED: Natural Ways To Boost Your Immunity

Using a cloth face mask and regular handwashing aren’t the only things you need to stay healthy. Be sure to stay up to date on your yearly doctor visit and routine screenings.


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  1. I have not seen any where do you wash your cloth mask with other items? Or you launder the mask by itself and same for drying? Thank you,
    • Per the CDC website, currently there are no strict guidelines about washing and sanitizing cloth masks separately from other clothing. They state machine-washing your mask will clean it. A hot wash and dry cycle is recommended and adding bleach (per manufacturer directions) will disinfect a cloth mask. Regular washing is important as is thoroughly washing your hands before you put your mask on and after you remove it.