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Cleaning your mouthguard: four mistakes you should avoid

The face mask has become the new everyday accessory - and will certainly be with us for some time to come. The more natural masks become, the more careless many people become when it comes to mouth and nose protection. Simply wearing it and letting it dry until the next use is not enough. Hygiene is immensely important when carrying and cleaning, this is the only way to reduce the risk of infection with the Coronavirus minimize.

How long the virus stays on fabric has not yet been finally clarified. However, since corona viruses can survive for up to 72 hours on certain surfaces, you should let your fabric mask dry carefully after use and ensure that it is virus-free the next time you use it. We now know that corona viruses die at high temperatures. The easiest way to clean masks is to heat them.

There are several ways to clean your cloth mask: you can wash it, heat it in the oven or microwave, or iron it at high temperatures. You should not disinfect your protective mask with disinfectants.

What temperature is needed to kill coronavirus?

Experts now unanimously recommend: 60 degrees in the washing machine is sufficient to clean the mask.

If you have encountered contradictory statements in the media, here is the explanation: In April, a report by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) caused confusion. Accordingly, temperatures of 70 degrees are not sufficient for the reprocessing of masks, as is the case, among other things recommended by the German government. Cleaning at 90 degrees for 90 minutes in dry heat is probably necessary. The ZDF magazine frontal 21 had reported on the new findings.

However, the statement by the BfArM referred to professional FFP respiratory masks and not to simple fabric masks, explains infectiologist Peter Walger in an interview with the Mirror. "The best way to clean the simple fabric masks for private use is in the washing machine at 60 degrees Celsius, because the viruses are killed at this temperature".

Method 1: wash mask

If you wear your protective mask at 60 degrees with normal heavy duty detergent If you wash it in the washing machine, it is guaranteed to be virus-free afterwards. Eco and economy programs are not suitable, the temperatures are usually too low here. If you die If you sew the mask yourself, choose a fabric that can be washed at high temperatures without any problems.

If you don't want to wait until you have the next load of laundry for the 60-degree wash, you can also wash the mask by hand. To do this, place the mask in a saucepan. Boil the water in the kettle and empty it over the mask. Soak for at least ten minutes, then wash out the mask in cold water and let it dry.

Method 2: Heat the mask in the oven

In his podcast, virologist Christian Drosten recommends heating at 70 degrees in the oven. At this temperature, viruses die, but the material is not damaged. 30 minutes should be enough. However, what you should bear in mind with this method: saliva residue, odors and dirt particles get caught in the mask when it is heated.

Method 3: Iron the mask

Ironing at high temperatures also kills the corona viruses. Carefully iron the fabric mask, also heating the folds strongly and for a long time. Again, this method only makes sense to kill viruses. You cannot disinfect dirt and saliva residue in this way.

Method 4: Disinfect the mask in the microwave

This method is quick and uncomplicated - but only works with masks without metal elements, i.e. without a nose clip. Metal parts can cause sparks or flashes that can ignite the mask and microwave oven. For this reason, masks with metal brackets should never be put in the microwave.

Also, be careful not to put synthetic fibers in the microwave, they could melt or even catch fire in the worst case.

Place the mask, outside side down, in two bowls of lukewarm water. There should be about 50 milliliters of water in each container. US researchers have found that for gentle disinfection it is sufficient to heat the mask in the microwave for two minutes at 750 watts. The steam cleans the mask thoroughly without destroying the filter effect.

Four mistakes to avoid when wearing and cleaning the mask

1. Improper mask fit or fit

Masks should always fit well and seal at the bridge of the nose and on the sides. The mask must go over the chin at the bottom and be pulled up to the bridge of the nose. If the openings are too large, viruses can escape here. If the mask doesn't fit properly, but slips or pinches, you inevitably have to touch your face to correct the fit. However, this increases the risk of infection.

2. Remove mask too soon

It is best to only touch the protective mask with washed hands - and only on the rubber bands. When you come from shopping, you should only take off the mask after you have washed your hands.

3. Store the mask

Masks should be kept dry - preferably in the air and not in a closed container.

4. Mask must not be damp

Protection is no longer guaranteed if the mask is soaked through. Therefore, always allow the masks to dry well.

Tips to ensure your mask really protects

  • Make sure that each mask is only worn by one person at a time and that everyone in the family has their own mask. The best way to do this is simply to attach a mark to the tape.
  • The current hygiene regulations and the safety distance of at least 1.5 meters must also be observed with a mask.
  • Wearers of glasses put on the mask first and then the glasses.
  • Defective masks with damage should no longer be used.
  • It is best to have several fabric masks in stock. Then you can wash and dry used masks in peace and still have a clean one ready for the next purchase.

Source: from 01/19/2021

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