How to Wash a Cloth Face Mask

As face masks are increasingly required in public or at new work places, we now find ourselves wearing some kind of face covering almost every day. A high quality cloth face mask can be a great alternative to disposable masks, but cloth face masks do need to be washed regularly. The CDC suggests that a cloth face mask be washed daily after each use. Here are some simple steps you can follow to keep your cloth face mask looking great and free from any viruses or bacteria. 

How should you wash a face mask?

With soap and warm water. In order to prolong the life of your cloth mask, hand washing is best. The following method is especially good for fabric face masks like ours.

Step 1: Get set up

You’ll need a few things to clean your cloth face mask effectively.

  1. A large pot or empty sink you can fill up.
  2. Warm water.
  3. A few drops of soap: laundry detergent, hand soap, or dish soap will all work fine.
  4. A clean towel for drying.

Dish soap can effectively clean your cloth face mask.

Step 2: Create some soapy water

Fill the pot or sink with at least 3-4 inches of warm water, and add a few drops of soap to the mix. Stir things around so you get plenty of soapy bubbles. You don’t need to use a lot of soapjust a few drops should be fine.

Step 3: Hand wash your mask and filter in the water

Put your fabric mask in the soapy water and move it around gently. If your face mask has a removable filter, take the filter out and add it to the soapy water as well. Massage the mask in the water gently, ensuring that the soapy water goes through the fabric thoroughly, but don’t be too rough with it either. Be particularly gentle with the filter as it can be delicate. Do this for at least 30 seconds and then leave the cloth mask and filter to sit in the soapy water for an extra few minutes. 

Step 4: Rinse thoroughly with cold water

Take the cloth face mask and filter out of the soapy water and give it a good squeeze to get rid of as much excess water as possible. Then hold the mask under running cold water and rinse it gently until the mask no longer has any soap on it. 

Step 5: Set the mask out to dry

When rinsing is complete, give the face mask one final squeeze to remove as much water as you can. The mask will still be damp, and it will be a crumpled mess, so the next step is very important. Carefully form the cloth mask back into its original shape, smoothing out any wrinkles as you do so. The smoother you can get it the better, as this will help the mask look its best when it has dried. Do the same for the filter. Then set them out on a dry towel and leave them to dry.  

Step 6: Wait for the mask to dry

Depending on the fabric your mask is made of and the humidity of your house, the drying process can take between 3-10 hours. It’s usually best if you can let your mask dry overnight. If you need to accelerate things, a hairdryer can be a big help. Note: DO NOT put your cloth mask in the microwave as the metal nose-bridge piece can cause problems there. 

Step 7: Put the filter back in the mask

After everything is dry, carefully put the filter back in the cloth face mask. The top of the triangle should be positioned tight to the top of the nose bridge of the face mask. The sides should spread evenly to each side, but still be neatly hidden behind the interior piece of fabric. 

Step 8: Repeat the washing process depending on how frequently you use your mask

You’ll want to adjust your mask washing schedule according to how much time you spend outside in public. We recommend washing it nightly after use.

Now your mask is fresh and clean!