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How to Wear and Wash Your Mask

Wearing a mask is one of the best things you can do to help stop the spread of COVID-19. When you pick out your mask, you will want to consider a few things:

1. Layers of protection

Pick a mask with multiple layers of protection to help reduce the spread of respiratory droplets. 

2. Wear a mask that fits

Pick a mask that fits closely to your face, covering your nose and mouth. The CDC recommends masks with a metal nose strip, which helps to eliminate gaps. Many masks also have adjustable ear loops to ensure a snug fit.

N95 respirators

Respirators such as the N95 or KN95 provides the greatest level of protection because they help to filter out smaller respiratory droplets than a regular surgical mask. However, a proper fit is key. N95 respirators cannot be washed and they should be discarded after use. 

Do NOT layer N95 respirators with other masks.

n95 mask

Surgical masks

Surgical masks are disposable and if you are wearing one, you should throw it out after every use.

How to wear a surgical mask:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
  2. Put on your mask by holding onto the ear loops.
  3. Pinch the top of the mask over the bridge of your nose to ensure a snug fit and adjust the bottom half of the mask to cover your mouth.

Do NOT layer surgical masks with other surgical masks.

surgical mask

Cloth masks

Pick a cloth mask that has multiple layers of protection. One way to do that is to layer up a cloth mask ON TOP of a surgical mask. 

How to wash a cloth mask:

  1. The CDC recommends washing your cloth mask once a day.
  2. In your washing machine, use regular laundry detergent.
  3. Dry your mask using the hottest setting in your dryer or place in the sun to air dry.

Helping kids with masks

How kids should wear masks:

  1. Wash hands thoroughly or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
  2. Pick a mask that fits the child’s face properly.
  3. Put on the mask by holding the ear loops.
  4. Make sure the mask is covering the nose and mouth.

If your child is uncomfortable with wearing a mask, start slow. Try just 10 minutes at a time at home, get them involved with picking out their face mask fabric, and explain to them why it’s important to wear one.