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Explained: How should I clean and reuse my home-made face cover?

How does one clean the face cover? An advisory from the the Health Ministry recommends three possible ways.

Louis Vuitton announced it is making face masks. (Source: louisvuitton/Instagram)

In the new conversation around masks, governments in various countries, including India and the US, have now recommended that even uninfected people cover their faces when they go out. Can you wear the same face cover again and again? You can, the Health Ministry says in an advisory, while insisting on cleaning it after each use.

The advisory includes a disclaimer over the home-made face cover’s limitations: “This face cover is not recommended for either health workers or those working with or in contact with COVID-19 patients or are patients themselves as these categories of people are required to wear specified protective gear.”

How does one clean the face cover? The advisory recommends three possible ways:

– Wash in soap and warm water and dry in sun for at least 5 hours; or

– Place in water (preferably with salt added) in a pressure cooker and pressure boil for at least 10 minutes, and leave to dry. Otherwise, you may boil it in water for 15 minutes; or

– Wash and clean with soap and apply heat on the face cover for up to 5 minutes (you may use an iron).

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For wearing the cover, the advisory recommends:

– Wash your hands thoroughly before wearing the face cover;

– As soon as the face cover becomes damp or humid, switch to another one and clean the used one;

– Never reuse a face cover after single use without cleaning it;

– Never share it with anyone.

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– Do not touch any surface of the face cover; remove it using the strings;

– After removal, immediately clean your hands with 65% alcohol-based hand sanitiser or with soap and water for 40 seconds;

– Drop cover into a soap solution or boiling water to which salt has been added.

The advisory recommends that the face cover, after removal, be sealed in a cleaned plastic bag.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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