Can I wash and reuse a face mask? – The Sun
EVERYONE in the UK has been told to mask up when out in public as we face an uncertain future with social distancing which could last until 2021.
They are generally not required in 99 per cent of circumstances, but non-N95 and FFP3 masks can be reused and should not just be thrown away. Here's how to get the most from them.
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Please do not buy an N95 of FFP3 mask as they are most needed by NHS heroes and carers, or those looking after people with coronavirus, and can only be worn once.
Top grade masks come with a whole load of other issues that could actually put you at more risk than a normal covering if used improperly. They are also really uncomfortable.
Top advisors in SAGE recommend a face covering that you can make yourself, or use something like a bandana or thick scarf for when you're out and about, saving you money so the NHS can get the top grade PPE.
If you already have a high-grade mask you can re-wash them for going to the shops, though the process will likely degrade them from FFP3/N95 standards.
Can I wash and reuse a face mask?
Yes for normal face coverings, but washing and reusing N95, surgical and FFP3 ones is still subject to debate so please read the manufacturer's guidelines.
If you wash your mask at over 60C and dry it off properly, just like you do with infrequently washed clothes, then it should be good to go again.
The higher the temperature you wash your masks in, the more likely you are to kill off any signs of covid-19.
Most viruses won’t survive in temperatures over 60C, so you should opt for this setting for items that are particularly germ-ridden and washed less often, like tea towels, bedding, bath towels, gloves, scarves, and children’s clothing.
Should I be wearing a face mask?
Yes, but not a high grade one.
Following Tuesday's SAGE meeting of Britain's top pandemic experts, we are now being officially told to wear masks when leaving the house.
Masking the mouth and nose limits asymptomatic people — who are infected but show no symptoms — from passing on the disease by coughing or sneezing.
The general rule is to wear a face mask when you are out in public and in areas that could involve coming into contact with other people, like public transport, exercising in urban areas, popping to the shop or walking the dog.
Don't wear them around the house unless someone at home is believed to be infected.
No mask can guarantee absolute protection, so other measures need to still be taken.
Remember social distancing rules as you normally would under lockdown, even if wearing a mask. Don't be a covidiot.
If you believe you have symptoms, sit tight at home and get someone else to go out for you if you can.
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Invest in a high-grade mask if you believe you or a household member are infected, or extremely vulnerable to the virus (if you have cancer for example), and absolutely have to go out.
How do I make my own face mask?
It's easy and cheap to make your own mask. Kids can help as well which makes it something fun for them to do.
There is no reason why you can't get creative and decorate the mask so long as you don't damage it – break loose the glitter and crayons and turn it into family fun.
Where can I buy a face mask?
You can buy masks online at most major retailers like Amazon and ebay.
They are about £10 per mask, but prices and quality vary.
You can find more details and useful links for buying masks in our explainer here.
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