A little about mask experiences (type of material, hygiene practices)

The mask wearing thing will be with us for a long while, I think.

People around me seem to have generally accepted this fact and are carrying on to the best of their abilities. I mean, most people are sick to death living with so many restrictions so if they’re given a chance to *do* something besides sit in the house, but are forced to wear a mask, they do it.

We do it. Wear the masks, that is.

But I wonder if people are applying proper hygiene practices to their mask wearing habits.

There are some elderly neighbours who have been observed reusing their masks without ever washing them. When asked about that, they looked confused. I am not convinced they comprehend why this is not advisable.

I know someone who developed a rash from the masks. The doctor prescribed a cream and told her to wear a shield without a mask. Shields are generally accepted by some, but not all essential stores, so she went back to masks and experimented with different types of material.

The disposable, medical masks bother her the most I think. The cotton ones as well. The hemp and silk ones bother her the least. There are other types she’s tried with mixed results.

But one thing she does consistently is wash the masks after every single use, no matter how short a time she wore them.

Main reason, besides common sense?

When she used the shield without a mask, the inside of that shield got really dirty in a very short time. Spitty and spotty. Gross.

The best example to illustrate just how quickly dirt/germs accumulate is to compare it to eyeglasses.

I wear contacts but use readers for close-up reading (my phone, books). I’m continuously wiping my readers of spots even though they are nowhere near my mouth.

When I wear my regular glasses (instead of contacts) it’s worse. Constant wiping and cleaning.

Now, imagine what a face covering, such as a mask, in front of your lower part of your face is exposed to. The breathing orifices expel droplets into the air where they dissipate if no mask is worn. These droplets coming out of our nostrils, but especially out of our mouths, contain all sorts of particles which may include germs such as those that may cause cold/flu/covid symptoms…

The masks will contain these droplets from floating around the air space in front of you. But. If you wear that mask even just for a short amount of time, consider where those droplets will go.

Here’s a hint: onto the skin on your face.

Sure, the masks may absorb some of them, but the mask touches your skin. Some people with sensitive skin will react with a rash, or worse.

It can be a problem. Which is why it’s important to wash your masks and not reuse them until they are clean and dry. (Also wash your face, especially at night before bed. And change the pillow cases often if you have a rash on your face.)

My daughter brought two masks to school when it was still open. She’d wear the first one till lunch, and after lunch, she’d put on a fresh mask. Upon returning home, both masks went into the red basket (red=stop) until someone washed them. The clean masks then went into the green basket (green=go).

Hanging to air dry washed masks

We have enough masks now which allows for all of us to wear multiple clean ones in a day. Plus we have medical disposable extra ones in the car. (Never mind that we rarely wear masks now because no one leaves the house anymore. Boo.)

As far as the person with the skin rash is concerned – it hasn’t been easy but diligent hygiene practices have helped manage her condition. That, and a prescribed lotion.

Happy Tuesday! It’s snowing here in Toronto. I’m not sure how I feel about that. See you in the comments.

33 thoughts on “A little about mask experiences (type of material, hygiene practices)

  1. Ours get washed on a regular basis too.
    Just a note for people getting a rash – it’s possible it’s from the soap or whatever is being used to wash the masks. Even if it’s your usual laundry soap, the skin on your face can be more delicate and if hand washing it’s possible they are not getting rinsed as well as in the machine.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I know. I hate that. I often walk places and the whole having to take off your hat before putting on the mask to go inside and then nose running and then coming out and trying to juggle my bags with taking my mask off and putting on my hat and mitts. Total drag. Lol

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great info on mask cleanliness. Although I’m not really going anywhere at the moment, I shall definitely wash mine more frequently now after reading this. I like your system of getting them cleaned and dried.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. snowed here for about 20 min no accumulation. I have enough mask’s to last a little more than a week. Kind of defeats the purpose if someone wears it but never washes it. That would be like never washing your underwear.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for your post it is most informative. As I think I have said here and in my own pages Covid is not as prevalent in Aus (yay for us) but we recently had a cleaner from hotel quarrantine (everyone coming into the country must quarantine for 14 days in a government designated and controlled hotel) contract the UK strain. It was a big deal (I know, one case versus thousands but when you don’t have any for months…) so now we are required to wear masks. It has been challenging and all of the knowledge you guys have from your experiences is not around here.


    1. Good luck with the next stage. I hope you can keep the virus at bay…I feel like masks will probably be common place in many countries for the foreseeable future. Let’s hope we can get organized to get things under control like you did. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Interestingly most of the population is on board with the extreme measures. Maybe because we have seen them succeed and we know that it is a short term thing. Unlike what we are seeing overseas where it seems like it is never going to end.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. We have a similar system, except the baskets are for the clean masks. We all have different styles and sizes, so this means you can just grab without verifying it will fit. Dirty ones go in the mesh bag on top of the washer. That way it gets zipped shut and washed. They then hang dry off the shelf above the machine.(old lingerie hanger with 6 clothes pins. Good idea about disposables in the car. Need to do that.

    To me, they are like underwear – you need to change frequently, and wash regularly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I keep thinking I’ll use the washing machine too, but I always forget. Our routine is at night, during kitchen duty, the masks get hand washed. Well, not now with lockdown keeping us home all the time… πŸ™‚


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