How we can Safely Sanitize every type of Face Mask

The use of a DIY protective face mask, made of fabric or plastic, is one of the barrier gestures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. You still have to use it well and clean it well.

Paper, plastic, fabric masks: It is essential to clean and maintain them well for their total effectiveness. Paper, plastic, fabric masks … It is essential to clean and maintain them well for their total effectiveness.

“The state will have to allow every French person to obtain a mask for the general public,” Emmanuel Macron said in his speech on April 13. Over the weeks, the official discourse has evolved regarding the use of masks, which is now somewhat encouraged.

how senitize every type of face mask

The only devices that allow you to protect yourself are FFP masks, which are still lacking for the general public, and surgical masks (which can sometimes be found in pharmacies). These protect against splashing droplets, but, unlike FFPs, are not effective against inhaling microscopic airborne particles.

For individuals, the most comfortable masks to obtain at the moment, or to make you, are fabric masks. Many manufacturing tutorials are popping up on the web, and we were talking about them in this article. Above all, their use helps prevent the spread of the virus.

In any case, it is essential to know how to maintain them, especially with a view to the possible DE confinement planned for May 11. Because if a mask is worn too long or poorly washed, its use can be counterproductive.

If you have a disposable mask, paper, surgical or FFP2, as its name suggests, it should be thrown in the trash after use, that is to say, as soon as it becomes wet or at most after 4 hours of use, as recommended by the National Research and Safety Institute (INRS). The duration of use should be checked on the instructions for use.

When putting it on, it is crucial to ensure that your hands are clean, and then to avoid touching it once it is adjusted. When throwing it, be sure to catch it by the rubber bands to prevent any potentially contaminated area.


New types of “masks” are emerging, with a rigid plastic visor covering the entire face. As the INRS explains: “While they can protect wearers from the large droplets emitted immediately after a cough by a person nearby and in front of the screen, they do not protect the particles remaining in suspension”.

It is important to clean both sides well, as regularly as possible, with soap and water, or with disinfectant.


Fabric masks are the most common among individuals. More than protecting oneself, they above all make it possible to limit the spread of the virus. A cloth mask should be removed after 3 hours of use or when it is wet. Please keep it in an airtight box until washing is recommended by the Stop postilions collective, as well as removing it by grabbing it by its thongs. When washing your mask, you should also disinfect the box.

The French Standardization Association (AFNOR) recommends washing these masks in the machine, at least 30 minutes, at 60 ° C, with your usual detergent, preferably as natural as possible. She then advises to disinfect your washing machine and to prefer drying in the dryer (then cleaning its filters), and not in the open air.

If you do not have a machine, the Stop postillions collective, made up of doctors, in particular, offers an alternative: put your mask in the oven at 70 ° C for 30 minutes.

1) The right steps to put on your mask

– Wash hands before placing it on the face. It sounds obvious to you, but for many of us, this step is regularly overlooked. Remember, however, that our hands are the best friends of viruses! According to information on barrier gestures relayed by the ARS in 2017, our hands-on average come into contact with our face hundreds of times in a single day! Most often by micro-gestures – more or less conscious – that we do regularly: put back a lock of hair that falls on our glasses, scratch our nose or ear, react to a micro-itch, adjust our mirrors… So many reasons to use hydroalcoholic gel or soap more than ever to disinfect our hands even before putting on the mask.

– Grasp the mask by the elastic straps or ties and not by its substantial part to avoid any potential contamination

– Please put it in place: adjust it correctly to your face to cover mouth and nose

– Put the rubber bands around each ear. In the case of ties to tie, first, connect the top part behind your head. Then position the mask and apply pressure with your fingers on the bridge of your nose, then your cheekbones, which will allow it to be installed appropriately. Then unfold the mask down the chin so that it covers the face well. It should fit well, neither too tight nor too loose. This way, you will avoid the passage of droplets and are well protected from exiting safely.

– Remember that you should never touch your face afterwards. And of course, avoid lowering your mask on your chin because all the protective effect would be immediately annihilated.

2) The right gestures to remove it

– When you return home, to remove the mask, grasp it ONLY by the rubber bands or the strap, without touching the other part potentially infected by the virus. If you have a surgical mask, throw it in a specific waste bag that you will put in the trash the next day.

– Wash your hands again

– Change your mask regularly (ideally every four hours) and never reuse the same show if it has not been washed.

3) How to clean your homemade act?

Nothing is set on how to take care of sheet masks after each use. The minimum is to wash your fabric mask with a detergent in the machine cotton cycle for 30 minutes at 60 ° C which will evacuate the bacteria excreted or present on its external face and the straps during its use and not to let it dry. Outside. After does not recommend the use of softeners or cleaning your mask by putting it in the microwave.

4) How to avoid touching your face?

Here are two straightforward tips:

– Always have something in your hand: handkerchief, stress ball, it distracts you from these gestures that you do without realizing it.

– Another solution recommended by Gilles Lachambre, the pharmacist in Noisiel (Seine-et-Marne): wearing a cap or a hat. This allowed her “to avoid touching her hair and face all the time.

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