Intermountain Healthcare

Wash, Rinse, Repeat: Intermountain Experts Share How to Wear, Clean, and Store Cloth Masks


Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 09/06/2020 --Move over designer handbags and trucker hats. Masks are all the rage in 2020. Of course, face coverings and masks are necessary for health and safety — they're not statements of fashion. But regardless, masks are a high-demand accessory, equal parts must-have and must-wear.

Using a mask properly can help to protect individuals from getting the virus, as well as from spreading it if you are contagious and don't realize it. Intermountain Healthcare infectious disease experts suggestions the following guidelines to make certain a mask fits properly:
- Covers your full nose.
- Covers your entire chin.
- Fits snug with no gaps.
- Is made of thick material. (Hold it up to the light. If you can see between the fibers, it's not a good filter.)

Intermountain experts say to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, a mask should be worn in all public places and when social distancing isn't possible. Routine and frequent washing of masks is recommended. While many individuals are trying to stay home more and avoid public places, sometimes that isn't possible. Individuals that find themselves wearing masks more than a few hours total each day should wash masks before reuse.

Just like anything else individuals might don each day, Intermountain suggests masks need to be washed and properly cared for. No one wants to repurpose the makeup, chapstick, lotions, dead skin cells, and sweat that can reside in a cloth mask after wearing it.

If a mask is machine-washable, it can include it with laundry using regular detergent and the warmest appropriate water temperature for the load. In the dryer, use the highest heat setting possible and don't remove until the mask is completely dry.

For masks that can't go in the washer, or if a machine washer isn't available, masks can be sanitize by hand with a bleach solution. Intermountain experts suggest to use a bleach intended for disinfection. Bleaches made for colored clothing might not disinfect properly. After confirming bleach, infectious disease experts say to follow these steps:

- Mix one quarter cup of bleach and one quart of room temperature water.
- Soak your mask in the solution for five minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly with cool water.
- Lay flat and allow to dry completely.

Other reminders to keep masks hygienic
- Don't touch the front of the mask. Use the ear or head fasteners to remove it.
- Wash hands immediately after removal.
- Don't store masks in pockets or purses. Instead, carefully fold the mask so the outside is folded inward against itself and place it in a clean paper bag.

Wearing masks is a simple step to help prevent the spread of disease and help protect yourself and others. For more information on COVID-19 and mask, see or .

About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs. For more information, see Intermountain Healthcare or the Intermountain Healthcare Blog. Advice given by Intermountain Healthcare experts are meant to help empower individuals to protect themselves, their families, and the community.