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Face masks, whether we like it or not, are here to stay for awhile. Now that we've settled in to this new masked lifestyle, you've probably found a favorite mask or two. Given that you're wearing masks daily and sometimes for hours at a time, it's safe to say they are subject to a lot of wear and tear. And that being the case, maybe you are great at washing your mask, and maybe you aren't. But regardless, how often should you be cleaning your mask and how much is too much (or not enough)? At what point is it just time for a new mask? Lucky for you, we got curious and looked into it. Here's everything we know.


  1. If you're wearing a cloth face mask, the CDC recommends washing your mask after each use. We know that may not happen, so just be smart about it and wash it as often as possible.  If you've been wearing your mask for a few days (and often), it's time to give it a wash. 

  2. You can wash your mask by hand or in the washing machine. To make life easier, the CDC says it is totally fine to wash your mask with other clothing. Wash with the warmest water the fabric of your mask can handle. We'd also recommend allowing the mask to air dry to it doesn't shrink or lose it's shape. 

  3. If you're wearing disposable masks, use once and then toss. 

  4. Do your best not to touch the inside of the mask where your mouth and nose touch to avoid the spread of anything that is on your hands. Ideally, wash your hands before removing your mask. 


Given the frequency we are wearing masks plus the constant washing, masks can breakdown and lose their shape. So at what point should you buy a new mask?

  1. If the fit is wrong. A mask that's too small and a mask that's too big won't do you much good. If your mask has shrunk in the wash or has been stretched out and doesn't stay on your face, it's time to get a new mask. 

  2. It smells funky. If your mask starts smelling funky, even after a good hot wash, it's time to toss it. Smells can mean bacteria which means the mask is no longer doing it's job. 

  3. You need a refresh. Since we're wearing masks so frequently, sometimes you just need to change things up to keep it fresh. 


We know wearing masks can be annoying sometimes, but it's worth it, not only in keeping yourself healthy but in keeping our neighborhoods and communities healthy. 

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