How to care for your face mask
I’m just gonna need a moment to say that I never (never, ever!) thought that this would be our reality. Yet, here we are. All across the country, schools are heading back into session. And with that, the majority of districts, colleges, and universities have mask requirements in place for the foreseeable future.
Where does that leave us? Well, I think it is safe to say that most surgical masks and N95 masks are not going to be worn by the public in general. As flu and respiratory crud season comes into full effect, the availability of these masks may lessen. Again, my assumption is, that those masks need to stay for the most part (except in the situation of the elderly and immuno-compromised) in the health care setting to help protect our healthcare and essential personnel.
What face masks will our kids be wearing?
I would assume that all over the country in all the school buildings, you’ll find kiddos wearing cloth masks of some kind to follow the mandates set into place by their governing bodies. And here’s the thing. We need to realize that these masks are going over our kids’ mouths and noses EVERY DAY. And that they’ll inevitably be touching them a minimum of five hundred and twenty-one THOUSAND times each day. Enter: mask maintenance people. Please promise me you’ll wash those bad boys.
So let’s look at how in-person school may look this fall. Mask wearing may be required all day for some. For others, it may only be required (at this time) at certain times of the day – such as passing periods, using the restrooms or general assembly times. So what’s key here? As our kids are reaching up constantly to adjust, take off, or put on their masks – their hands need to be relatively clean.
Best case scenario is that they use soap and water and wash their hands throughout the day. But in lieu of that being a reality – we’ve shared a Clean Up Hand Spray recipe to help minimize the dirt and germs that potentially can transfer from their hands to their mask. Find the recipe below.
The CDC recommends that face masks be washed after every use. So let’s not have them stuffed in the bottom of the backpack, and make sure we help keep our kids as healthy as possible during this time when we have mask requirements. Use the Freshen Up Mask spray (recipe below)to help lessen the feelings of respiratory strain, and help you continue to wear that mask all throughout the day. An easy way to use this is to spray mask lightly when you’re able to leave off for a short time (like during lunch). It takes just a few minutes for the spray to dry, but try to let it dry before wearing.
We’ve got some fun labels for both sprays for you (and don’t forget, recipes for both are at the bottom of the post). Get the labels here -> mask-and-hand-spray
Washing – don’t over think it!
Most soaps clean just fine. (This goes for laundry and hand-washing!) The point is cleaning. I would recommend throwing them into a quick cycle at the end of the evening and laying flat to dry overnight. They can be washed with other clothes – but keep in mind the functionality of the mask depends on it fitting well, and not being compromised in any way. So, we want to prevent shrinking, or fraying the elastic or ties by using cold or warm water only.
Laying the face masks flat to dry instead of drying in the dryer prevents extra wear on the masks, and helps them maintain their shape and integrity. We have hooks in our laundry room that we will actually just hook the masks on to help them air dry gently. Overnight drying is the best because you want to also assure they are completely dry. Dry surfaces diminish pathogen transfer.
Have a college student who doesn’t have easy access to daily laundry?
Teach them to wash their face masks in the sink with laundry soap (Sal Suds is great for this), rinse well and hang or lay flat to dry overnight. Again, don’t overthink it. Just wash those bad boys!
Here’s the deal. I want some normalcy to return. I want our kids to be able to laugh, congregate and (heaven forbid!) not be afraid of being together. Because life and being together is really what this whole thing is all about. I believe we are always faced and going to face potential disruptors to our immune systems. Let’s all do what we can to try and help manage through this time – and keep everyone safe and healthy.
Where do we buy our face masks?
Check out this amazing site! Sizes for everyone – and adapted patterns to allow for different needs – such as a pocket for filters, more or less layers of fabric … even a clear shield mask coming!