Keep your cotton mask clean. It works by absorbing moisture – and along with that, the virus particles. The mask won't help if it gets moist from long use or if you do not clean off the trapped virus particles. Soap and water, sunshine and fresh air, these are the keys to protecting yourself.
Clean gently to extend the life of the mask. Get a new mask when you can feel the fabric has worn thin.
Virus model by the yarn-bomber and muralist JK-47 of Santa Rosa, Insta@quinkenn. Photo by Insta@Tracey_Mammolito of New York City. Mask by Vincie.
Wash your mask in detergent. Swish around to get the fabric thoroughly wet. You want to get the detergent in contct with the virus particles and with other pathogens, microbes or funguses, in order to eliminate them.
Hang-dry in a clean, well ventilated space. Do not put in the dryer, it wears out the fabric quickly. And shrinks the mask.
Microwaving doesn't work because the 'Rona isn't water-based. Microwaves use radio waves to heat the water inside things, so without water inside, the virus doesn't heat up. Baking in the oven doesn't work either.
Bleach is recommended by some experts, but it is harder on the fabrics.
Social fabric masks are effective against both breathed-out and incoming vapor and the attendant virus.
Wear a maximum of 4 hours. Put on and take off by holding the elastic. When you touch the mask, your hand picks up virus. Do not re-use a mask, but wash and dry after each use to avoid spreading the virus. Do not share masks.
Dispose of your mask when the fabric seems worn out. It becomes ineffective as fibers break down. Lifespan depends on the material, method of weaving, use and cleaning methods. There is no fixed rule for determining lifespan - use your hands and eyes.