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When to Clean and Change Face Masks: Cloth, N95, and Surgical Mask Proper Use Tactics

People maskup

The need to wear a mask has skyrocketed in the last couple of months. A recent survey shows that 72% of American adults are either wearing a face mask when they go out in public or are always wearing one due to their constant exposure to the virus at work.

Ever since the pandemic broke out, people had to take the recommended precautions to fend off COVID-19. These facial coverings have become a necessity, so it is essential to know how to clean them properly.

If you want to know more about cleaning and changing the face masks, you’ve come to the right place. We prepared a simple guideline that will help you figure out how to take proper care of your face mask.

Cloth mask

How Often Do I Clean My Cloth Mask?

Cloth face masks are the go-to choice for many people. They are reusable, convenient, and practical for outdoor and indoor public spaces. Although you can re-use them for a long time, it’s still critical to clean the cloth masks properly.

Experts advise that you clean the cloth face mask after every use, or at least after every day of wear. You can wash the fabric by hand with some detergent or soap and warm water. A standard detergent will do. Or, you can toss it in the washing machine at preferably 60 °C (140°F). Feel free to use a hot dryer setting.

You can also sterilize the mask by soaking it in detergent and room temperature water and then boil it for 1 min. Another alternative would be to soak the fabric in 0.1% chlorine for a minute and rinse the product completely. This will help remove any of the chlorine residues.

Once the cloth mask gets damaged or loose, discard it.

Can I Use a Disinfectant on My Cloth Mask?

Even though you might be tempted to wipe the face mask with a disinfectant, it’s not a good idea. People who are in a pinch and use a disinfectant may end up breathing in dangerous chemicals. So, it is best to set aside the used mask and take another. Washing the mask should be a top priority.

Can I Sterilize and Reuse Disposable Face Masks?

No. These masks are meant for single use. After you’ve applied the product to the face, you should remove it and dispose of it immediately. If it gets too expensive, switch to a cloth mask instead. It is a better money-saving technique. 

Can I Re-Use N95 Respirators?

N95 masks are primarily used by healthcare professionals. Although they too are disposable, the CDC stated that it is safe to extend their use for up to 8h. But, to make sure that the user remains protected from invading pathogens, it’s best to use a face shield and reduce the risk of soiling the N95 mask prematurely.

Since COVID-19 loses its viability after 72h, experts have suggested a re-use and rotation strategy. But only if the mask hasn’t been soiled or contaminated. You can re-use the N95 a maximum of 5 times. After which you will have to change it. 

How Often Do I Clean My N95?

Purchase a set of a minimum of five N95 masks and rotate their use every day. Studies show that these masks can be steam cleaned for 5 min at 125°C (257°F). Anything longer than that can damage the mask.

After cleaning, let them dry completely until the pathogens are no longer viable. That will take over 72h. The ideal drying strategy would be to hang the masks. You can also store them in a breathable and clean paper bag to prevent contamination.

Each mask shouldn’t touch the other while it is drying. It’s critical to avoid sharing the respirator with anyone in the family. Otherwise, you risk contaminating the mask from bodily fluids. If the product has been damaged or contaminated, throw it away.

Final Thoughts

Since face masks too can become contaminated, it is crucial that you take good care of them. Washing the cloth mask can get rid of all those particles and prevent the respiratory illness from infecting your system. But, you shouldn’t wash a surgical mask. The disposable products are designed for single use. At the same time, the N95 respirators can be re-used. Now that you know the adequate cleaning and replacement strategies, you can make the most of your preferred face mask.

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Our High-quality Disposable ASTM Level 2 Medical MasksVS Other No-Brand Supermarket 10 Dollar Masks

Medical masks vs supermarket masks

Medical masks once used to be a rarity in public sight. However, the growing air pollution and nCoV-2019 pandemic entirely altered the situation. If you’re going to use a mask, you need to know which one suits your purpose the most. 

ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) has tested and categorized the different masks that are effective and safe for public use. As per this categorization, an ideal Level 2 medical mask should have these features:

  • Fluid Resistance: Level 2 medical masks show a moderate risk of fluid exposure. They can resist up to ~2 ml thick volume of synthetic blood at an s velocity of 120 mmHg.
  • Breathability: Level 2 masks have medium breathability and are comfortable under most circumstances.
  • Bacterial Filtration: Bacterial filtration of around 3 micrometers has a 98% possibility in Level 2 masks.
  • Particle Flirtation: PFE in Level 2 medical masks is 98% possible for as minuscule as ~ 0.1 microns.
  • Flammability: Flammability is the final parameter here. A standard Level 2 face mask exhibits normal time for flame spread and is safe for use in masks.

Once you’re aware of these indicators, let us show you how our high-quality disposable masks are the best Level 2 masks:

Elastic Earloops

One of the most common problems that mask wearers point out is that the back of their ear hurts when they’ve been wearing the mask for too long. Our masks have straps that are much more comfortable and won’t hurt even after hours of use.

Three Layers of Protection

The first layer in our mask is a thick one, followed by two thinner layers underneath. The three are finely woven together to avoid any openings or to suffocate you in any way. Ordinary drugstore or supermarket masks fail to achieve this precision.

Shape Retaining

When masks don’t comply with the shape of your face and particularly your nose, it’s an uneasy fit. We have designed our high-quality disposable masks to fit with the curvature of your face. Even if you take off your mask and put it back on, you won’t have to readjust it either.

We at Soothy Garden have developed this mask after all the necessary and advanced research. If all else has failed for you, we assure you that our high-quality disposable masks won’t disappoint!

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Cloth face masks VS Medical Masks

Medical masks are originally intended to be used by medical practitioners when treating patients to prevent bacteria from droplets from the doctor’s or nurse’s mouth or nose to the patient. However, with the spread of COVID-19 all around the world, the general population, whether ill or not, are advised or even mandated in certain countries, to wear masks to protect themselves and others from the deadly epidemic.

Cloth face Mask vs. Medical Mask

Most people wear general masks made of cloth to cover their mouth and nose when going out during this epidemic, but is it that effective in blocking the virus from entering your system?

Verifiable research about the spread of the virus is still lacking since the spread of this epidemic. Some research points out that the virus is contained in droplets and can be spread when sneezing or coughing from those who have the symptoms, or through talking or even just breathing from asymptomatic carriers. Other researches have pointed out the possibility that the virus can linger suspended in the air for a few hours before it settles on the ground.

Whichever the case is, wearing general cloth masks may not provide you the needed protection against Coronavirus because it offers low protection barrier, no filtration properties and low fluid resistance as droplets can easily pass through it along with the viruses and bacteria. Furthermore, cloth masks don’t always fit properly, allowing tiny airborne particles to enter and exit the mask through the gaps.

Why Choose Our Medical Masks?

To ensure you have higher protection against COVID-19, use high-quality medical masks that offer:

Effective Filtration

Choose medical masks with high bacterial and viral filtration efficiency, preferably with more than 98% efficiency. This ensures dust, bacteria, virus, dust, smoke, pollen are do not enter your system.

Easy Breathing

High-quality medical masks do not make breathing difficult. Choose masks that offer three layers of protection but are still breathable and soft to prevent irritation when worn for hours.

Fluid Resistance

Masks that are fluid resistant prevent droplets and aerosols from penetrating the mask’s layers, thus, keeping you protected from diseases or prevents you from spreading harmful particles to others.

Adjustable Fit

Making sure your mask fits around your mouth and nose with no gaps ensures that you do not accidentally breathe in airborne particles. High-quality masks have adjustable nose bars and elastic ear loops that ensure a comfortable fit.

If you’re looking for high-quality medical masks to protect against bacteria and viruses, our ASTM Level 2 Face Mask and Disposable Face Mask are medical-grade and high-quality masks that offer all the benefits mentioned above.

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How do face masks protect you from COVID-19?

As the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout the world, a confusing topic continues to be the wearing of face masks. At the start of the pandemic, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, recommended that people who were not sick should not be wearing a mask. Now, however, Tam and Canada’s public health officials recommend non-medical face masks be worn in public when social distancing isn’t possible, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he will do just that. What’s changed? Is a mask really necessary?

Face Masks Protect Others From Coronavirus

A May 22 paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine took a close look at the effectiveness of masks in preventing the spread of disease. The results offer evidence that face masks can stop respiratory droplets from spreading. If someone wearing a face mask sneezes, the people around them are far better protected from potentially virus-bearing droplets than if there was no mask in place. “Every virus-laden particle retained in a mask is not available to hang in the air as an aerosol or fall to a surface to be later picked up by touch,” said researchers in the paper.

Do Face Masks Protect You from COVID-19?

Perhaps the most important thing to understand is how coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19, is passed from person to person. COVID-19 spreads primarily between people who are within about 6 feet (2 meters) of one another. It happens when one person produces respiratory droplets through a cough, sneeze, or talking, and another person inhales them. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus spreads very easily between people, much more so than influenza.

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to disinfect surfaces, practice frequent and thorough handwashing, and maintain social distance so those respiratory droplets can’t land on another person. But when social distancing isn’t possible, a face mask is the next best thing.

Cloth face masks are not designed to prevent the virus from permeating through to the wearer, and this may be why they have been the subject of so much controversy. Medical-grade face masks designed to filter particles in the air and protect the wearer are critical supplies that remain reserved for healthcare workers and first responders. Cloth face masks do prevent the spread of the disease, however, so in the long run, yes – they protect everyone.

In the briefing in which she recommended wearing masks, Dr. Tam noted people should see masks “as a way to protect other people – when two people are both wearing masks, they are protecting the other.” As children, we are taught to cover our mouths when we sneeze or cough – it prevents the spread of germs, and it’s the polite thing to do. Wearing a mask is simply the more advanced version of this – when the germs involved are much more dangerous and potentially deadly.

As we learn more about the coronavirus and head into summer, it becomes more evident that wearing a mask as an extra layer of protection is a wise move, as well as one that demonstrates a concern for fellow citizens. Handwashing remains essential and social distancing remains ideal, but as people grow tired of isolation and need to get out, face masks are important to protect ourselves and others from the spread of COVID-19.