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Wearing a face mask is a new normal in daily life. Whether you head out to the grocery store or want to enjoy a nice walk in your neighborhood, chances are you and many others, will be wearing one. For those who have made, ordered or been gifted a fabric mask, here are some tips on how to wash it properly.

Wash Your Mask Regularly
Ideally, each time you use your mask at the store, on a run or otherwise, you should wash it. In addition to the potentially harmful virus, the moisture, oils, sweat and makeup can build up and create more bacteria that can be harmful to your skin and overall health. 

Discard and Replace Filters
Most fabric masks have an inside pocket for filters, adding another layer of protection. After each use, it is important to discard your used filters and replace with a new one each time you use it. The filters are there to catch any harmful bacteria and virus-carrying particles. Also, be sure to remove the filter before you launder your mask. 

Use Hot Water
When the time comes to wash your mask, be sure you use the hot water feature on your washing machine. Hot water, rather than cold, removes germs and sanitizes fabrics. Avoid any cold water loads. Add your mask to a load of towels or bedding to ensure a hot and sanitary wash. 

Don’t Air Dry
Some people like to air dry their clothes after a wash cycle, however, your mask should be dried in high heat. Again, adding your mask to a load of towels or bedding will ensure you dry it at high heat and kill any lingering bacteria that may be on it. After washing and drying, immediately place your mask in a clean container or bag before use.

Though wearing a mask is a new addition to your daily wardrobe, it is an important one. Keep yourself and others safe and healthy by ensuring you are washing your mask after each and every use. And remember, wearing a mask is only one way to stop the spread of the virus. Wash your hands thoroughly, continue social distancing and don’t touch your face—it will help you and your loved ones in the long run.