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Can I reuse my face mask? What you need to know

Can I reuse my face mask? What you need to know

While Australia is still managing Covid-19, experts are advising the public to continue measures to prevent infection.

Even when Covid cases are falling, public health figures advise wearing face masks to help continue to slash the chances of infection spreading.

We’ve pulled together some vital information about face masks — including how to reuse a face mask safely — to help you know more about playing your part in reducing infection.

What’s the current situation?

At the time of writing this article (7 August 2022), some states are reporting that the peak of the latest wave of Covid infections is passing. But despite this good news, health experts say that this doesn’t mean the virus has gone away.

The public are urged to continue wearing face masks in busy or confined indoor spaces to protect the vulnerable and reduce the reach of future waves. They should also keep up to date with their Covid vaccinations.

What options are there, and can I reuse my face mask?

There are three types of face mask: fabric, surgical (disposable) and P2 (also known as N95 masks). Let’s look at each of them in turn.

Fabric masks

To be effective, your fabric mask should be made of breathable, tightly woven material that blocks light when held up to a light source.

The beauty of cloth face masks is that they can be used more than once, but they must be washed after each use.

To reuse your face mask safely:

  • Wash it daily.
  • It’s better to wash your face mask in a washing machine with detergent, as you can set it to a high temperature. Choose a hot cycle with the warmest setting appropriate for the mask’s fabric.
  • You can also hand wash your mask with hot water and detergent or bleach if you aren’t able to use a washing machine.
  • Make sure your mask is completely dry before putting it away or wearing it again.

Surgical masks

Surgical face masks are designed to be disposable. This generally means that you should dispose of them safely after a single use.

However, some healthcare professionals say you can reuse a surgical face mask a few times if it is not wet or dirty and you are not in a healthcare setting.

P2 face masks

P2 (or N95) face masks are designed to filter out very small particles and to fit tightly around the nose and mouth.

If you’re in a medical setting, it’s advised to only wear your P2 mask on a single occasion.

But for everyday purposes, you can use your P2 face mask more than once, as long as it’s clean and dry.

Can I reuse face mask filters?

Some washable face masks come with a filter that you can replace. You should dispose of your old filter carefully before inserting a new one.

You should only use a disposable face mask filter once, fitting it into a washed and dry reusable mask.

What about face shields?

A face shield is a clear protective screen designed to cover the face and protect you from passing on infection or getting infected yourself.

They are popular for use in aged care and other healthcare settings, where it’s important for the facial expressions of the wearer to be seen. They also protect the eyes, while regular face masks do not.

Although you can wear one by itself (especially if it’s helpful for others to see your face), know that face shields work best when worn with a good-fitting surgical mask. They can be cleaned and disinfected according to the manufacturer’s instructions and used again.

Remember that both the inside and outside of the face shield should be cleaned and disinfected.

Your face mask, your choice

It’s good to know that there is a choice of face masks and other protection available. You can choose one that works best for you and reuse it safely if appropriate.

It’s all part of everyone’s responsibility to keep themselves and the community around them safe and infection-free. That’s exactly what FeverMates is all about. We believe in helping you to keep your family healthy by offering a range of quality health and wellbeing products.

Discover our full range in our online shop, which is continually updated with the latest items designed with you and your family in mind.

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