How to Wash Cloth Face Masks: Laundry Tips

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I’ve given the Clean My Space community so many laundry tips so far! We’ve covered:

Plus, so many more articles on laundry. But what we haven’t covered yet is how to wash cloth face masks. Unfortunately, it’s been two years of wearing face masks, and it looks like they’ll be around for a while longer. 

If you’ve been following Clean My Space for a while, you know I’m all about eco-friendly options and choices. So, of course, I’m all about reusable face masks, not disposable ones. And in the past two years of wearing masks, I’ve perfected my mask washing skills. So here are my laundry tips for how to wash cloth face masks and how to hand wash masks. 

Laundry Tips for Washing Face Masks

Before we get into how to actually wash your face masks, let’s talk about some essential laundry tips. First, as with all laundry, it’s important to establish a routine.

The CDC guidelines recommend washing our face masks after every use. That’s because your mask catches germs on the outside layer. So you want to wash those germs away and prevent them from spreading to you. 

Personally, I like to have a lot of masks on hand. That way, I’m not stuck washing them too frequently. We’re going to be needing face masks for a while, and they’re very affordable (unless you’re buying designer face masks). So always have more than you need, and avoid doing laundry just for a couple of face masks. This will save you time, plus it’s more eco-friendly and conserves water and energy. 

Because there are three of us (myself, my husband, and my daughter), I have a little bin that I toss all our used masks in, and then I can wash them all together in a small load of laundry. 

How to Wash Cloth Face Masks

Most masks are cotton and can be thrown in the washing machine with regular laundry. However, I don’t like to do this because I prefer to wash my face masks with a fragrance-free laundry detergent that’s excellent for sensitive skin. 

Those masks are going over my nose and mouth, and I don’t want a big whiff of laundry detergent the entire time I’m wearing them! So I wash my masks separately from my other clothes. 

When it’s time to do a load of face masks, I set my washing machine to a high heat cycle. Heat helps kill germs, so I want my face masks washed in hot water. Check the tag on your masks to make sure hot water is OK for your material. 

Then I grab my fragrance-free detergent and add. I like to go light on the detergent for masks because, again, they’re going on my face. After the wash, I hang dry my masks so they can air out further.

This routine might sound obvious, but at the beginning of the mask-wearing days, I was chucking them in with the regular laundry and then wrinkling my nose every time I had to put them on. Or I’d forget to throw them in the wash early enough, and they would still be wet the following day.

My best advice for washing face masks is choose a detergent that’s comfortable to have pressed against your face, read the washing instructions on the tag, and establish a mask washing routine. 

How to Hand Wash Face Masks

For those of you who prefer to hand wash your face masks, here’s how. First, fill your sink with hot water (but not so hot it will hurt your hands) and add your detergent of choice. Then, add your masks and gently work the soapy water through your masks. Make sure you’re thorough with this step. 

Let your masks soak for about 10 minutes, then rinse them well. You don’t want any leftover soap drying in your mask! Squeeze masks to remove the excess water. To get them a little dryer, I also like to lay them on a clean towel and then roll the towel up with the masks inside, squeezing gently. This will help the drying process along, so you aren’t waiting days for soaking wet masks to dry. 

Some articles I’ve read recommend adding a diluted bleach solution when handwashing to really get rid of those extra germs. Personally, I’m not a fan of bleach on anything that’s going on my face. But, if I notice my masks aren’t smelling as fresh as I’d like, I add a little vinegar to my handwashing water. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer and cleaner and will get any mask stank out in no time. For more information on cleaning with vinegar, take a peek at my article 7 Clever Ways to Clean With Vinegar. 

Wash Your Face Masks

Face masks are no one’s favorite thing, but luckily they’re really easy to clean. Just remember to read the label so you don’t risk ruining your favorite unicorn mask with hot water when it should be washed in cool.

If you’re looking for even more laundry help, I recommend 4 Brilliant Ways To Turbo-Boost Your Laundry Routine and 5 Tips to Speed Up Laundry. Happy wash day everyone!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases on amazon.com.
Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

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