Mask Use and Care Guidelines
COVID-19 is deadly! Proper use and care of cloth face masks, your best choice for protection against infection, is essential.
Whether it’s the seasonal flu or SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), these guidelines are provided to reduce the risk of spreading infectious agents. Droplets and aerosols of bodily fluids containing a virus may spread disease.
Your mask’s job is a barrier between you and the world -to keep our bodily fluids to ourselves.
A virus cannot be seen, and anyone may be shedding a virus without knowing it, so special handling is required.
With your My BFF Mask, it should fit so well that once you put it on, it will stay put. You won’t have to re-position it all day. That’s good, because then you won’t have to keep washing your hands all day to keep safe.
You should consider your mask contaminated with the virus after wearing it.
Fortunately, the coronavirus is easy to kill with warm soapy water. After wearing a cloth mask, the mask should be removed carefully, washed with warm soapy water, and the wearer should wash his or her hands thoroughly or use a sanitizer.
How many face masks do I need?
It’s a good idea to have at least two. This way, you will have a fresh mask if one is in the wash.
Consider your schedule and your lifestyle. Ideally, you’re staying at home most of the time. But you will want a clean mask whenever you go someplace where maintaining consistent physical distancing (at least 6 feet away from others) might be a challenge.
About gloves: You should not wear them unless you are a properly trained health care worker in a clinical setting. Gloves do not keep you from contaminating yourself or others, they just keep your hands clean. Don’t wear gloves. Just do your thing and disinfect your hands when they may have become contaminated.
To disinfect your hands: If soap and water are available, Wash your hands and fingertips with sudsy soap for 20 seconds (don’t forget under the nails), If not, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol (also referred to as ethanol or ethyl alcohol).
Putting on your mask
These instructions apply whether your mask is fresh and clean, or not.
Using clean hands:
- Stretch the mask out from top to bottom,
- handling the mask by the ear loops, place the mask so it fits just below your chin and over your nose.
- Adjust the elastic bands so the mask fits flat and snugly on your cheeks.
- Press on the nose bridge seal with fingers and thumb over the nose and along cheekbones so the mask material touches the skin all along the top
- Verify a good seal by breathing out strongly and checking to see if you can detect breath escaping around the perimeter of your mask
- Re-wash or sanitize your hands.
Contain your bodily fluids
Contain your bodily fluids (even if you don’t have symptoms of an illness.)
Wear the mask where prudent to reduce possible contamination of the surfaces and air around you and to protect yourself.
- Coughing: While around others, if you feel the need to cough, do not cover your mouth -cough into the mask.
- If your cough produces fluids in your throat, there are various ways to handle the fluid:
- Swallow the fluid. (Contaminated mucus is safe to swallow and helps your immune system to produce antibodies.)
- If you are near a toilet, expel the sputum into a tissue, place the tissue into the toilet or receptacle and flush.
- Otherwise, discard the tissue in a trash receptacle with a bag liner known to be a hazardous waste container.
- Disinfect your hands.
- If you need to sneeze, sneeze into the mask.
- Have an itch?
- It’s best not to touch your mask, mouth or nose with bare fingers that may be contaminated. If you do, disinfect your fingers after touching your face or mask.
- Keep a supply of tissues nearby. When you feel the urge to scratch an itch, rub your nose or adjust your glasses, grab a tissue and use that instead of your fingers.
- Use a tissue on the mask or around the eyes, then discard the tissue and wash your hands as above. If you have no tissue, and your hands are clean, use the back of your hand, wrist or knuckles and re-wash often.
- When removing your mask, handle it by the elastic bands. Be careful in handling it so you don't contaminate yourself or other surfaces.
- Wash your mask as often as it may have become contaminated. Sudsy soap wash for 30+ seconds is recommended for hand-wash; laundering masks along with other clothes in the washer is good, as well. Whichever method, a steam iron is recommended to disinfect the mask (DO NOT wash the filters. A washed filter must be discarded.)
Taking off your mask
These instructions apply whenever you take it off. After wearing your mask, continually treat it as though it is contaminated until it has been washed. Disinfect your hands if you have touched the surface of the mask, inside or out.
- If you have a job where you must wear your mask all day:
When you have finished your shift and are away from the public, remove it by handling only the ear loops and place it in a washable or disposable bag. Keep it there until washing time.
- If you are traveling from place to place:
In this situation, after having been around others and wanting to remove it, like when driving in a car, have a place where you can store it safely, like hanging it from the rear-view mirror.
Every time you put it on or take it off, since you will have to use your hands to position it properly, disinfect your hands afterwards.
Washing your mask
If you have a filter inserted into your mask pocket, remove it before washing. (The filters we provide can be disinfected for limited re-use by ironing with an iron on its lowest temperature setting.)
Wash your mask as often as it may have become contaminated.
Sudsy soap wash for 30+ seconds is recommended for hand-wash.
laundering masks along with other clothes in the washer is good, as well. (You may consider using non-perfumed laundry detergent if you are sensitive.)
Whichever method, a steam iron is best to ensure disinfection of the mask and filters (DO NOT wash the filters. A washed filter must be discarded.)