5 Steps to Re-using Disposable Face Masks
Updated: Aug 17, 2020
Wearing a face covering in public places is now compulsory in the UK. This includes all places where social distancing is hard to maintain. It does however come at a cost, to us and to the environment.
Recently the Guardian published an article on the impact of preventing the spread of coronavirus, stating there will be “more masks than jellyfish in our oceans.” A spokesperson from the French organisation Opération Mer Propre, goes on to say that single-use plastic is not the key to fighting Covid-19.
If you’re like us and want to limit the impact of coronavirus waste on the earth, as well as protecting yourself and others from coronavirus then this will give you hope but leave you with questions.
The obvious option to prevent coronavirus waste polluting our oceans, is to invest in a few re-usable fabric face masks. Ensuring you wash them between uses and they are made to comply with the specifications laid out for PPE. If however you can’t make your own, it costs too much, you can’t find the time to wash them or using a face covering simply doesn’t do it for you, then you’d believe using disposable face masks are your only option.
But we come with news! It is possible to re-use disposable face masks given you store and keep the mask clean enough. Here are some steps to helping you get more use out of a disposable mask:
Limit touching of the mask. It’s important that when you put on and remove the mask you touch it only by the handles/straps. This helps keep the virus from getting deep into the layers of the mask, if it’s on your hands.
Store the mask for 48 hrs or more between uses.This is the minimum length of time that the virus can live on materials so ensure you’re not adding fuel to the fire by touching the mask too frequently.
Store the mask in a clean place where air can flow and it won’t be touched by anything else. A plastic bag or container can be used and easily cleaned between storing the masks.
Don’t wash the mask.If you’re using a disposable mask then washing it with water or anti-bac spray will weaken the integrity of the protective layers. This mask will be around your nose and mouth so breathing in the disinfectant from cleaning a mask isn’t the best idea!
Dispose of the face mask as soon as there is visible weakness. It’s important to not over use disposable masks as their protective layers are compromised every time you wear and remove the mask. Our advice is to use one mask up to three times before getting a new one. Ensure you use them in rotation, this means you may have around three or four masks in use in a week.
We hope that by following these simple steps to re-using disposable masks, you’ll lengthen the time between buying new ones and discarding of old masks, therefore keeping our oceans that bit cleaner.