I'm anticipating that face masks will continue to be a part of everyday life for the foreseeable future. Experts agree you must wash your cloth face mask each day. A lot of face mask hardliners who are quick to admonish people who don't wear them are just as incompetent if they wear a mask without washing and disinfecting it each day. That's right, every day after use.

Face masks may help decelerate the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus but wearing unhygienic ones that are unsanitary from days of use is counterproductive and even a high risk to your health. Bacteria amass both inside and outside the mask. It's important to always remove face coverings correctly, from the elastic strings, never touching the front because it could have been exposed to the virus. People unsuspectingly touch the front and spread the disease by rubbing their eyes or touching their face.

The CDC recommends throwing your mask in the washing machine with detergent and hot water. Hand washing is okay too, as long as you lather it up and rinse it with hot water. To be sure that your face covering is free from harmful bacteria, you can disinfect it by soaking it in a bleach solution containing four teaspoons of bleach per quart of warm water for five minutes.

The idea behind this article is to get you to realize how little protection a face covering offers you if it's infected. Treat the cleanliness of your face masks the same way you do when washing your hands often, or better yet, you should treat it like your undies.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

 

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