To get to the bottom of how to wear a face mask properly we spoke to a local GP.
These rules apply to the disposable masks. The ones that have the wire up at the top.
How to wear a face mask
Using clean hands, place the mask over your face, hooking the elastic over your ears. Make sure it is clean and not wet. This will impact the effectiveness of your mask. Don’t wear a damaged mask.
The mask is designed to pinch the wire around your nose to protect your airways.
The accordion-like pieces of fabric are then pulled and tucked under your chin. Don’t leave the mask sitting on your chin, make sure it is pulled tight and snug under your chin.
Make sure the mask fully covers your nose, mouth and chin. Your mask should be comfortable, with no gaps around the mask and your face, and allow you to breathe easily.
To be really careful, wash your hands again.
Tips for wearing face masks
- Don’t share face masks with anyone, family and friends included. If you are using reusable masks, make sure they are washed regularly
- Face masks should not be worn by young children or anyone unable to remove them without assistance.
- While it may be tricky, try not to repeatedly touch the face mask while wearing it. In fact, avoid touching your face or eyes at all. If you are in an area with community transmission, this may spread the disease.
- Face masks should not be moved during use. This includes being pulled up or pulled down below your chin. If you need to remove your mask (for example, to eat) – remove it safely, dispose of it appropriately (or wash if a home-made facial covering or cloth mask) and clean your hands.
- Always ensure you have clean hands when removing the mask
- To dispose of disposable masks, place the mask in a closed lidded bin or place into a bag and seal before putting into a rubbish bin.
How to clean reusable masks properly
There are lots of great reusable masks in the market, make sure you are using a mask that fully protects your nose and mouth and covers your chin.
- Wash the mask in a washing machine with detergent at 60 degrees Celsius.
- After putting the mask in the washing machine, clean your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser (containing at least 60 per cent alcohol). Ensure your hands are dry.
- Dry the mask completely before you use it again. Do not use a damp mask.