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.
- 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 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
Caution: Gaiters and Face Shields
Evaluation is on-going but effectiveness is unknown at this time
- If you wear glasses, find a mask that fits closely over your nose or one that has nose wire to limit fogging
- 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
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.
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 to take off a mask
- Carefully untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops
- Handle only by the ear loops or ties
- Fold outside corners together
- Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing
How to Clean
- 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
For more information, visit the CDC How to Wash Masks webpage.
For more information, see the CDC Masks website.