How to wash your re-usable face mask properly

how to was your face mask
(Image credit: 2020 Edward Berthelot)

The end of lockdown might be in sight, but sadly that doesn't mean we should stop wearing our re-usable face masks anytime soon, especially if you're going into a supermarket or getting on a packed tube. Whilst not as effective as PPE, which we've been advised to leave to frontline workers if possible, they are still better than nothing and will help you stop spreading germs.

With that in mind, it's important to wash them properly in-between uses, which is where these laundry tips from expert Deyan Dimitrov, CEO of Laundryheap, come in handy.

Wash your face mask every time you use it

If you buy or make your own cloth face mask, it’s wise to clean it regularly. Even though the face mask’s purpose is to protect others from yourself, your fabric face mask still needs washing. If you don’t wash it, you risk germs and bacteria harbouring on the face mask, which could cause you to become ill or cause blemishes on areas where your mask rests on your face.

How to wash your face mask

The best way to wash your face mask is to pop it in the washing machine and add some fabric-safe disinfectant to the rinse compartment of your washing machine. You should do this every time you wear it, just to keep safe. It’s fine to throw it in with other similar colours, so don’t worry about washing it on its own.

Can I hand wash my face mask?

If you don’t have the time for a machine wash in the evening, then you can easily hand wash your mask. Fill up a clean basin with hot water and some detergent and begin to scrub the mask. Have the water as hot as you can and be sure to scrub the mask well for five minutes. Then rinse the mask with cold water and leave to dry completely.

How to store your face mask

If you take your mask off for whatever reason, make sure to store it properly until you get home to wash it. Leaving your mask loosely in your handbag could transfer germs to other items in your handbag and vice versa. Keep a small disposable bag inside your bag or pocket that you can keep the mask in until it’s time to wash it. If you take your mask off, don’t put it back on until after you’ve washed it.

Have more than two masks

Having two face masks means that you will always have one spare when the other’s in the wash, so it’s worth investing in a two-pack. Many fashion retailers now sell non-surgical masks so you can easily pick some up.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.