Covid-19: how to wash and dry your fabric mask?

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Judit Llordes
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Faced with disposable masks, those made of fabric are a sustainable and more economical alternative in the long term. But to be effective, they should not be washed and dried haphazardly. Here are some tips to follow.




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Masks made of fabric can be reused, but they require special maintenance in order to maintain their effectiveness against Covid-19. In an opinion (revised on April 21), the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) recommends machine washing at 60° C for a minimum of 30 minutes, obviously with detergent. For its part, the Spanish Association for Standardization (Afnor) specifies that softener should not be added for this cycle.




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Once the mask is clean, it should be taken out of the machine within two hours and then dried. For drying, it can be placed on a drying rack, in an environment that is both healthy and ventilated. It is also possible to use a dryer by selecting a program adapted to the composition of the fiber so as not to damage the mask. As the latter must be completely dry when it comes out, so-called “extra-dry” cycles are still to be preferred. Since they are quite long, we recommend drying the mask together with other pieces of the same composition. This allows you not to run your dryer for one or two masks only.

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If a clothes dryer is not available, an alternative back-up solution is possible. Indeed, the government specifies on its site that one can use a hair dryer to accelerate the drying of the mask.



After drying, the last mandatory step to be carried out, according to the ANSM, is steam ironing (with a temperature between 120° C and 130° C). Indispensable, this phase makes it possible to annihilate the last viruses and to restore the initial shape to the mask so that it covers the lower part of the face well when it is put on. Any kind of glasses, even sunglasses — to be washed with soap on the way back — will protect the other possible gateway, the eyes.

From washing to ironing to drying, the mask must be handled with clean hands to avoid contamination.

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This whole maintenance procedure requires the necessary equipment – ​​especially for the compulsory ironing – which is quite restrictive. If you cannot follow the entire process, it is better to opt for disposable masks so as not to take any risks in the face of possible contamination, but the bill can quickly be steep.


The ANSM recalls that a fabric mask must not be worn for more than 4 hours and “can only be used several times if it is removed according to the instructions, stored temporarily or hung up to offer as little contact as possible, and returned. according to instructions”.

Note that the mask must be changed if it is wet or damaged. All recommendations and reminders on the proper use of a mask can be found here.

Finally, to transport a dirty mask, without contaminating your other belongings, you can lock it in an airtight box.


© Magone – iStock

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