Using fabric masks instead of medical-grade masks is not only environmentally responsible, but it is also a way to support our front line healthcare workers.
If you take care of your fabric masks, they can be used infinitely! The most “delicate” part of your fabric mask is the elastic. Here are the best ways to preserve your mask:
- Hand wash or machine wash in gentle cycle.
- If possible, use a gentle, mild, and fragrance-free soap, such as Eco Max or Dr. Bronner’s.
- If using a washing machine, place your masks inside a mesh laundry bag to protect them. Select warm water with mild soap.
- To dry, lay flat. Warm iron when necessary (AVOID touching the elastic). Do not bleach. The material will deteriorate more quickly.
- Please wash your mask before and in between each use.
Finally, for health reasons, wash your masks with a fragrance-free soap. Why?
Fragrances are known to be carcinogenic and disrupts hormones. You can read more about this topic here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here (The WHO identifies six main hazards to children’s health: fragrance, shampoo, and nail polish are some examples.).
Most people are irritated by fragrances and don’t know it. Essential oils are mostly safe, but synthetic fragrances are toxic. Don’t fall for the “natural” label; there are no regulations around this. If a product isn’t labelled fragrance-free, it isn’t. If you see the ingredient “fragrance (parfum)” in the the ingredient list, it’s synthetic. Popular brands like Aveda, Lush, the Body Shop, Live Clean, and Method claim to be natural; yes, they contain some natural ingredients, but their fragrances are synthetic. Air fresheners are probably some of the worst offenders. Ever wonder why more and more hospitals have introduced a fragrance-free policy?
Synthetic fragrances are classified as indoor air pollutants. It’s not safe for humans or pets!