Staying on top of cleaning is of utmost important these days, and with the CDC’s latest recommendation to wear a cloth mask or face covering while out in public, it’s key to know how to wash them—and how often. Here, what to know, plus brands that have pivoted to manufacture their own masks in an effort to help combat the shortage… and make them more readily available to everyone.
Step 1: Wash Like This
We recommend washing face masks after each use. If you have a washing machine at home, you can add your mask to a laundry load. Place masks in a mesh washing bag to protect elastic from snagging. Use the hottest water possible for the fabric content and add the appropriate amount of detergent such Signature Detergent. You can also add 1 capful of Bleach Alternative to the hot water for an extra boost of clean. (Be sure to wash your hands immediately after handling dirty laundry and masks!)
If you don’t have access to a washing machine, go ahead and hand wash your mask in a wash basin or a clean sink. Before you start washing, remove dirt and grime from the sink—we like to use a powerful mixture with All-Purpose Bleach Alternative, All-Purpose Cleaning Concentrate and hot water.
Once you’ve cleaned the sink, make sure the drain is closed to keep the water afloat. Fill with hot water, add 1 capful or a squirt of Signature Detergent, then gently agitate the water with your hands to create a soapy solution. You can also add 1 capful of All-Purpose Bleach Alternative to the hot water for an extra boost of clean. Now let that sit for 30 minutes.
Rinse under hot water until rinse water is no longer soapy. Do not wring. Instead, gently squeeze between your palms or press against the side of the sink.
Step 2: Air Dry
Hang your mask to dry to preserve the integrity of the elastic. If you’re using a bandana, handkerchief, or scarf made of cotton or durable synthetics (no elastic) you may place in the dryer.
Masks We Love
The Keep America Moving Mask | Steele Canvas
Our partner and family-owned and operated textile manufacturer Steele Canvas has converted their cutting and stitching departments into manufacturing lines for protective, denim face masks. For each mask purchased, one is donated to one front line worker. (You also have the option to donate two masks if you’re not in need of one.)
Lingua Franca, a line of sustainably-sourced, fair-trade cashmere sweaters hand-stitched by women in NYC is offering virtual face mask sewing lessons spearheaded by their head designer. In conjunction, they filmed an easy-to-follow YouTube tutorial and created a mask pattern so you can stitch one for yourself, loved ones, or essential workers.
Fleece Face Mask | American Blanket Company
These fleece-based face masks are plush and soft, making them ideal for people with sensitive skin. One face mask will be sent to a medical professional with each purchase.
Wake Up & Fight Mask | Hedley and Bennett
With the help of their apron-production facility, women-owned Hedley and Bennett teamed up with a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at a local children’s hospital to create protective cotton face masks. For every mask purchased, one is donated to a doctor, nurse, grocery store employee, restaurant worker, or first responder on our front lines.
Washable and Reusable Face Masks | Kiya Tomlin
Clothing designer, and friend of the Laundress, Kiya Tomlin halted her spring collection in order to stitch masks for healthcare personnel. They recently paused public sales to ensure they’d have enough supplies for essential workers, and 20% of profits from her line will be donated to help COVID-19 funding through the month of April.
Face Mask Guide | The New York Times
Have some sewing skills? Repurpose old t-shirts, pillow cases, flannel pajamas, or tea towels into a protective face covering with this easy to follow pattern and guide from the New York Times.