Can You Reuse Face Masks?

credit: Vera Davidova, Unsplash

Can you reuse face masks? Well if you’re wondering whether you can, you’ve come to the right place!

Face masks, especially the disposable or single use masks are not designed to be reused. However, fabric or reusable masks can be reused many times over as long as they are kept clean.

Even health experts  are encouraging us to wear reusable face masks or gloves so as to curb environmental pollution and also to protect us from the COVID19 pandemic.

As the Covid 19 pandemic continues to spread in countries like United States, United Kingdom, India and Brazil, medical doctors and scientists are stressing the importance of wearing masks to prevent the spread of the virus.

Now while the use of face masks and other personal protective equipment is on the increase we also notice a huge increase in disposable waste. Indeed the pandemic is contributing to plastic pollution.

The increasing use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks means that we are also witnessing a massive increase of disposable waste—much of it made from plastic. A healthy environment is needed in order to protect our own health. Single use face masks are making their way into our oceans and we need to do something about it – now!

Eco-friendly Masks

The type of mask you wear has to be one that’s gentle on your skin. It should be reusable, light weight, durable, comfortable and easy to care for. A good mask should be of high quality, usually 100% cotton.

A great mask should also have adjustable elastic ear loops. Cotton masks are breathable and they are also biodegradable.

Reusable masks are exactly what they are – They’re reusable! You can wear, wash and reuse them and you only need two or three.

Wash Your Masks and Keep them Clean

The World Health Organization, WHO has stressed the need to wash fabric or reusable masks at least once a day. You should wash masks in hot water with detergent or soap. They also explained that if you have to reuse a fabric mask, you need to place it in a clean resealable bag. When its time to reuse, hold it at the elastic hoops and ensure it is not wet or dirty before you reuse.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention have also stated on their site that wearing a mask is a great way to slow the spread of coronavirus, especially when you are in public settings, and also when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. They also stated that masks are to be washed regularly and that you should remember to wash your hands after handling a used mask.

It is important to wear a cloth mask when in public. It is also important to wear your mask and take it off carefully to prevent any form of contamination.

Hand Washing is Now Important More Than Ever!

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The Birthday song can help!

To prevent contamination, you should wash your hands before and after you take off your masks. Now here is the good news, singing the happy birthday song twice while hand washing, will let you know if you’ve washed your hands thoroughly.

Tired of the birthday song? There are more options!

If you are tired of singing the birthday song, there are more options! Here are more songs you can sing while washing your hands.

It is important to know how to wear and take off masks the right way! It is important to do this correctly because the front of the mask is contaminated after a mask is worn. This is why you have to remove your mask without having to touch the front by the elastic or the ties.

It is very important to wash your masks and not just keep wearing them over and over again. Here is a great article that explains how to clean, disinfect and dry your cloth mask.

The World Health Organization has stated that hand washing is the most effective in these times. The organization has also advised that Governments should encourage everyone to wear a cloth mask because masks are important in the fight against corona virus. It is therefore now important more than ever to protect ourselves from the deadly virus.

Why You Should Choose a Reusable Face Mask

A reusable mask is one you can use many times over whereas a disposable or single-use mask is one that’s designed for one time use; which is why they are so fragile! Initially you may think a reusable mask is more expensive but if you think about it you would realize that the mask pays for itself; considering how many disposable masks you would have used up!

1. Reusable Masks are well fitted

Reusable masks are usually well fitted in my opinion than disposable ones. I notice people always adjusting their disposable masks when they have them on! I see them pulling them up and adjusting the masks and as they do this, they may not realize that they’re actually putting themselves at risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend constant hand washing and that we must not touch our faces. This means every time a disposable mask is adjusted, there’s a chance the person wearing it is actually contaminating it! It is recommended to wash your reusable mask after every wearing.

2. Disposable Masks or Single Use Masks are Made from Plastic

Now if you’ve watched “A Plastic Ocean” on Netflix, you know that plastic is bad for the environment. Disposable masks or single use masks are made from plastic. They are made from a type of plastic called polypropylene and as you may already know, this plastic can take hundreds of years to breakdown or decompose.

According to Ocean Conservancy, apart from the estimated 150 million metric tons of plastic circulating our marine environment, an additional 8 million metric tons of plastics make it to our ocean. This is sad and the time to do something about it is now!

 3. Single use or Disposable Masks are Harmful to the Environment and Aquatic Life

source: Silvia Fang, Unsplash

Single use masks in most cases are not being disposed of properly and they are already making their way to our oceans. Single use masks can be a huge environmental issue if we keep using them.

No doubt! Single use masks and gloves will be mistaken for jelly fish by sea creatures. Now when you think about the elastic bands on masks, sea animals can easily get entangled in them! They pose more hazard for marine animals. Single use face masks are threatening marine life. They are already washing up on Hong Kong beaches because they are not being disposed of the right way.

Also, scientists recently estimated that on a monthly basis 129 billion face masks and 65 billion gloves are used globally and of course this is resulting in widespread environmental contamination!

4. Reusable Masks help Save Money

Reusable masks can be reused many times. Single use masks may seem cheaper; but over time, reusable face masks will save you a fortune. Reusable masks give you peace of mind; knowing you can use that mask over and over again by just washing and then reusing it but with disposable or single-use masks, you have to think about disposing of it.

It is also wise to not spend any more than you really have to and the only way to curb spending is by choosing reusable face masks.

5. Reusable Face Masks Can Help Reduce The Amount of Waste We Generate

I have noticed disposable masks in parks and even on beaches. Now what happens if people touch them? Contamination!  Reusable masks can just simply be washed and dried and they’re ready to be worn again.

Plastic pollution is on the rise and single use face masks and gloves are contributing to this crisis! The health of our oceans and that of marine life is mainly threatened by plastic pollution.

Many masks are thrown out carelessly in overflowing bins or just on the ground and of course they make their way into our oceans and waterways! Reusable face masks can reduce the amount of plastic waste.

Disposable masks on the other hand will keep making it into the garbage and other unwanted places because that’s just what they are – disposable!

Here’s What You Need To Do

The Covid19 crisis is contributing to the plastic pollution problem. The only way to stop the huge amounts of pandemic related waste stemming from litter in our communities, flowing through storm drains and into our seas is to do something about it!

So here’s what you can do: say “no” to single use like single use straws, disposable masks and gloves and saying “no” to plastic cutlery when ordering takeout.

The government should support waste organizations so that recycling programs continue to run smoothly.

Manufacturers on the other hand can help eliminate plastic waste by making products and packaging from sustainable materials. When you go grocery shopping, take your reusable shopping bags along and say no to plastic and Styrofoam packaging.

Ensuring we close the loop by placing recyclables like aluminum cans in the recycling bin and buying items made from recycled materials will also help preserve our environment for ourselves and future generations.


Can you reuse face masks? I hope this post has answered your question.

It is obvious that reusable masks are the best for our environment and it has now become more important than ever to wear a mask in order to protect ourselves and others.

When deciding on what type of mask to get, a reusable mask is the best as it protects us, our loved ones and even our environment!

Reusable masks are better than single-use masks.  Are you already wearing reusable masks or are you going to start wearing reusable masks? Please leave your comments below.

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