Safe Mask Wearing and Cleaning

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you wear masks in public settings around people who don’t live in your household and when you can’t stay 6 feet away from others. Masks help stop the spread of COVID-19 to others.

    Overview

    • Wear masks with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19
    • Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
    • Masks should be worn by people two years and older
    • Masks should NOT be worn by children younger than two, people who have trouble breathing, or people who cannot remove the mask without assistance
    • Do NOT wear masks intended for healthcare workers, for example, N95 respirators
    • CDC does not recommend the use of gaiters or face shields. Evaluation of these face covers is on-going but effectiveness is unknown at this time.

    How to Select

    When selecting a mask, there are many choices. Here are some dos and don’ts.

    Do choose masks that

    • Have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric
    • Completely cover your nose and mouth
    • Fit snugly against the sides of your face and don't have any gaps

    Do choose masks that have two or more layers of fabric, completely cover your mouth, fit snugly on your face   

    Do NOT choose masks that

    • Are made of fabric that makes it hard to breathe, for example, vinyl
    • Have exhalation valves or vents, which allow virus particles to escape
    • Are intended for healthcare workers, including N95 respirators or surgical masks

    Do not choose masks that are made of fabric that makes it hard to breathe, have exhalation vents, meant for healthcare worker

    Caution: Gaiters and Face Shields

    Evaluation is on-going but effectiveness is unknown at this time

    Caution: Gaiters and face shields: effectiveness is unknown at this time

    Special Situations

    Glasses

    • If you wear glasses, find a mask that fits closely over your nose or one that has nose wire to limit fogging

    Children

    • If you are able, find a mask that is made for children
    • If you can't find a mask that is made for children, check to be sure the mask fits snugly over the nose and mouth and under the chin
    • Do not put on children younger than 2 years old

    Special Sitations: Glasses - find a mask that fits closely over nose or one that has nose wire to limit fogging   

    Special situations: Children - try to find a mask made for kids if you can't make sure it fits snugly. No mask under 2 years

    How to Wear

    Wear a mask correctly and consistently for the best protection.

    • Be sure to wash your hands before putting on a mask
    • Do NOT touch the mask when wearing it

    Do wear a mask that

    • Covers your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
    • Fits snugly against the sides of your face

    For more information, visit the CDC How to Wear Masks web page.

    People correctly wearing masks

    Do NOT wear a mask

    • Around your neck
    • On your forehead
    • Under your nose
    • Only on your nose
    • On your chin
    • Dangling from your ear
    • On your arm.

    How NOT to wear a mask: Around neck, on forehead, under nose, only on nose on chin, dangling from ear, on arm

     How to take off a mask

    1. Carefully untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops
    2. Handle only by the ear loops or ties
    3. Fold outside corners together
    4. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing

    How to take off a mask: untie strings or stretch ear loops. Handle only by ear loops or ties fold outside corners together

    How to Clean

    Masks should be washed regularly. Always remove masks correctly and wash your hands after handling or touching a used mask.

    • Include your mask with your regular laundry
    • Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the mask
    • Use the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry

    Washing machine and dryer

    For more information, visit the CDC How to Wash Masks webpage.

    For more information, see the CDC Masks website.

    Content Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)