How to Wash Your General Purpose Cloth Face Mask


Both Health Canada and the CDC are now recommending wearing a face mask any time you need to enter a public space where it’s difficult to maintain social distancing. As healthcare workers should take priority for surgical N95 respirators and surgical masks, many are choosing to make or purchase reusable cloth masks instead.  

hanging face masks

Cloth face masks can be washed and re-used, so they’re great for the general public to use to reduce the spread of germs and reduce also waste. Its important to wash your cloth mask between each use, but you may be wondering: how do they need to be washed? 

It’s pretty simple, actually!  

There are a few options for washing cloth masks: 

  1. Machine WashThrow your mask in the washing machine and wash using hot water, then tumble dry with high heat. Don’t wash your masks with other clothes; always wash them on their own. 
  2. Wash by Hand: If you’ve hand sewn your mask, it may be too delicate to be put in the washing machine. Not to worry! You can wash your mask by lathering it with anti-bacterial soap and scrubbing it for at least 20 seconds with warm or hot water. Then rinse your mask, wring it out, and throw it in the dryer or hang to dry.
  3. Steam CleanUse a clothes steamer or iron (using the cotton on linen setting) to steam your mask for 7-10 minutes after use. 

What about washing filters? 

Most filters are intended for a single use and should not be washed and re-used. We recommend replacing your filters after each use and recycling or composting the used filters. 

Hand made mask

If you’re interested in making your own general purpose cloth mask, take a look at these new easy-to-sew patterns and no-sew tutorials.

We also have a variety of mask and respirator options available at Fairware, along with other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that can be branded. See what we have available here.