You wash your hands more than you wash your face mask—and new research shows maybe that's not such a good thing. "A new report from an Italian health authority explains that SARS-CoV-2"—that's the coronavirus—"can survive on the interior of face masks for as long as 4 days, which is an important reminder that masks have to be handled with care, especially if you're handling them for a loved one who is infected," reports BGR.
Yes, you read that right: 4 days on the interior.
"The ISS says that SARS-CoV-2 particles have been detected on the interior side of the mask as long as 4 days after a mask was worn, and up to 7 days on the exterior," continues the website, quoting a report from HuffPost Italy. "A separate study a few weeks ago also explained that the novel coronavirus can survive up to 7 days on the surface of face masks."
Although the CDC recently said the transmission of COVID-19 on surfaces is unlikely, the agency added that there was still more research to do and urged you to clean surfaces you touch—including your mask—to protect yourself and others from catching the virus.
How to Clean Your Face Mask
The CDC offers comprehensive advice about how to keep your face mask germ free:
You can include your face covering with your regular laundry.
Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the face covering.
Washing by Hand
Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) household bleach per gallon of room temperature water or
4 teaspoons household bleach per quart of room temperature water
Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection. Some bleach products, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing, may not be suitable for disinfection. Ensure the bleach product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
Soak the face covering in the bleach solution for 5 minutes.
Rinse thoroughly with cool or room temperature water.
Make sure to completely dry cloth face covering after washing.
How to Dry
Use the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry
Lay flat and allow to completely dry. If possible, place the cloth face covering in direct sunlight."
And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.