Here's what experts have to say about how to wash your face mask. One important note: All these tips are for cloth masks, not N95s or the single-use paper kind. And experts say cotton is best, because it's good at filtering, but also breathable.
1. Should you hand-wash your mask, or just toss it in the washer? Either option is fine. You just might want to run it on the gentle cycle if it's in a machine. And it's best to use a gentle detergent that won't irritate your face. Especially if you have sensitive skin.
2. How warm does the water have to be? Hot water is probably best. But don't scald yourself if you're hand-washing it, because warm is good enough.
3. Should I use bleach? It's probably not necessary. According to one dermatologist, bleaching something you put on your face and breathe through isn't the best idea.
4. How should you dry it? You can let it air dry, or toss it in the dryer depending on the fabric. You might need to avoid the hotter settings though.
5. How often do you need to wash it? The CDC says face masks should be "routinely washed depending on the frequency of use." Ideally, you should wash it every day or after each use.
6. Why do I need to wash it so much? Obviously to remove germs. But also because they STINK after a while . . . mostly from your breath. And if you never wash your mask, you could end up with "maskne" . . . a.k.a., "mask acne."