Masks 101

Safe Col­lab­o­ra­tion

Got­Masks­MA requires all col­lab­o­ra­tion to be done using social dis­tanc­ing. Please arrange for a safe way to pick up or drop off masks with­out human con­tact (e.g., leav­ing masks on a porch). You’re wel­comed to have the masks sit in a bag for a few days before exchang­ing them so the germs die off. We also rec­om­mend you get 2 masks per per­son (so you have one to wear and one in the wash).

When you get your reusable masks: what to do?

Even though every­one is prac­tic­ing safe prac­tices while mak­ing masks, DO NOT just put on your mask as soon as you get it! You must wash your new mask(s) in hot water and dry on high heat before using it for the first time.

In between wears?

The best bet is to wash your reusable mask after each use in hot water and dry on high heat. Some oth­er options (vet­ted by a nurse): If you live some­where sun­ny, place it in sun­light for sev­er­al hours (if lying flat, make sure to flip and do the oth­er side!). If you won’t be using it for a while, place it in a cool dry place (brown bag is good) for 3+ days and the germs will die off on their own.

Some Reusable Mask Pat­terns

  1. Craft Pas­sion face mask sewing pat­tern
  2. Sarah Mak­er — how to sew a sur­gi­cal face mask free pat­tern
  3. Skip To My Lou face mask pat­tern
Cred­it: Mary Beth West, RN, BSN

How to Use a Surgical Mask

Putting on the mask:

  • Per­form hand hygiene (wash hands for 20 sec­onds or use hand san­i­tiz­er)
  • Put on clean gloves (if avail­able)
  • Iden­ti­fy the inside of the mask and locate the top of the mask, which will have aflex­i­ble piece of met­al to form over your nose
  • Place your fin­gers inside the loops, and place the loops over and behind your ears
  • Place the inside of the mask against your face and pinch the top of the mask overy­our nose to form to your face
  • Pull down the bot­tom of the mask to cov­er your face and chin

Removing and storing the mask:

  • Iden­ti­fy a safe place to store the mask where it will not be dam­aged or con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed. Exam­ples of good stor­age loca­tions include a Tup­per­ware container(without the lid), or on a paper tow­el on top of a shelf or cab­i­net
  • Per­form hand hygiene and put on clean gloves (if avail­able)
  • Remove mask by grasp­ing the ear loops with both hands, stretch loops and pull from behind your ears and direct­ly away from your face. Avoid turn­ing the exter­nal side of the mask toward your face or touch­ing the inside of the mask
  • Place the mask in the stor­age loca­tion with the exter­nal side fac­ing down. Lay the straps out to the sides so they do not touch the inside or out­side of the mask
  • Remove gloves and dis­card
  • Per­form hand hygiene

Reusing the mask:

  • Per­form same steps as Putting on the mask
  • Care­ful­ly remove the mask from stor­age by grasp­ing the ear loops. Avoid touch­ingthe inside of the mask!
  • Inspect mask integri­ty the mask should be clean and dry
  • If stor­ing on a paper tow­el, dis­pose of the paper tow­el and dis­in­fect the sur­face beneath it. If using a con­tain­er, dis­in­fect the con­tain­er.
  • After putting on mask, remove gloves (if applic­a­ble) and per­form hand hygiene
  • When ready to remove mask, repeat step #2 for mask removal and stor­age

**Note: you should always con­sid­er the out­side of the mask to be con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed, so avoid touch­ing it as best you can and if you do touch it, make sure to san­i­tize your hands after!

Com­piled by two clin­i­cal research assis­tants from a local health clin­ic