How Often Should I Wash My Face Mask?

We already know to mask up before heading outdoors, but how often do we need to wash our face masks to make sure they're clean and effective?

For cloth face masks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that they are "routinely washed depending on the frequency of use." (Thanks, CDC, but could we get a bit more specific here?)

Lisa Maragakis, senior director of infection prevention at John Hopkins breaks it down even further saying that we should wash our face masks after every wearing to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus or other germs.

For any bandannas, face scarves and masks made of fabric, such as cotton, she recommends tossing them into your washing machine, using hot water and tumble dry in the dryer on a high setting. If you don't have a washer at home, you can hand wash your mask, using hot, soapy water. Just make sure to scrub the mask for at least 20 seconds (like you would your hands), and hang it up to fully dry before wearing it again. If you're in a pinch, you can also blast it on high heat with your blow dryer.

Which brings us to our next point: If you can swing it, Maragakis makes a case for having at least two masks at the ready so you always have a clean one while the other is being laundered. Luckily, you can easily fashion one up yourself using the aforementioned scarf or bandana (or you can shop one of the 25 options below).

25 Face Masks That Are In Stock & Ready to Ship

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023
Jenny Jin

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...
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