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How hygienic are your mask habits?

How hygienic are your mask habits?

Tuesday 23 February 2021

How hygienic are your mask habits?


Does your mask live in your pocket? And how often do you use it between washes? Dr Ivan Muscat has these tips for hygienic handling.

With masks now in use in hospitality venues that reopened this week, as well as in all shops and other public spaces, it's worth checking whether our newly-acquired mask-wearing habits are hygienic.

Jersey's top pandemic medic, Dr Ivan Muscat, had this advice...

Storage and disposal of masks

  • It is important to store and dispose of masks properly, making sure to always wash your hands before handling a new mask and after handling a used mask.
  • To store a mask before or after use we recommend a non-porous disposable plastic bag (such as a sandwich bag) or a reusable sturdy plastic container that can be wiped with 70% to 90% alcohol sanitiser and left for a minute to dry before re-use.
  • Single-use masks, inner filters and other fabric masks should be disposed of carefully in normal household waste bins (non-recyclable). Try to avoid touching the inside of a mask or the middle of a filter layer and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. If using an outdoor bin, try to use a bin with a closing lid.
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Pictured: Dr Muscat says to avoid touching the inside of the mask or the middle of a filter layer when disposing of it.

Washing cloth masks 

  • When washing masks, we recommend a hot wash cycle around 60 degrees Celsius or higher with soap or detergent.
  • If a mask has a middle filter layer, we recommend replacing the filter at least daily and disposing of the old filter. It is important to wash and dry your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds before handling a new filter and again after handling a used filter. 
  • Do not use disinfectants to clean masks as these can soak into the fabric and later be breathed in causing health problems and/or skin irritation.

Express has also been campaigning since last year for people to safely and responsibly dispose of their masks or to use reusable masks to avoid a PPE pandemic after hundreds of examples were found strewn across the island, including in island beauty spots.

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Pictured: Masks left on the fence outside a private home, spotted this weekend.

Ministers and eco campaigners got behind the bid, while JCG students also recently embraced the anti-littering spirit by starting their own school campaign to encourage the use of reusable masks entitled, 'Don't be blind to all the waste'.

GET INVOLVED: Express wants as many islanders as possible to get involved in the bid to keep our streets, green spaces and oceans PPE-free.

If you see any examples, tag Express on or Twitter (@BailiwickXpress) or send a photo to editor@bailiwickexpress.com.

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