What You Need To Know Before Reusing Your Face Mask

Face masks have quickly become a big part of our everyday lives. But if you want your face mask to continuously be effective, it's important that you know all the dos and don'ts, especially when it comes to reusing it. 

According to a study conducted by The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at The University of Oxford, we shouldn't really be reusing disposable face masks at all. But if you're short on supply (they can be hard to find at times) and you don't have any other types available, there are a few things you can do to ensure the longevity of their effectiveness.

"Number one: Don't touch your mask," Dr. Lucian Davis, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health told Today. "If you do touch your mask, wash [your hands] with soap and water or with alcohol for sure. If you need to remove it, do it in a safe place where you're not close to others."

How to reuse a face mask

Michael Chang, an infectious disease specialist at McGovern Medical School at UT Health Science Center in Houston told Allure that there are ways to cut down on germs if you find yourself with a need to reuse a disposable face mask. "The best option would be to leave it stored in a container in the contaminated area for 72 hours. You don't want it to be air-tight as air circulation helps with drying and may help inactivate the virus," he explained. If you need a mask daily, Dr. Shweta Pai, M.D., suggests using three different masks that you can rotate (via Insider).

Ultimately, if you live in an area that experiences a continuous shortage of disposable face masks, it probably a good idea to consider buying a few reuseable cotton or cloth masks as these can be washed and reused to protect you effectively, with the added bonus of being better for the environment, too (via Huffington Post).