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How to clean, care for your face masks

Don’t use a plastic bag to store or clean a mask. They’ll retain moisture and that can lead to bacterial growth.

NEW ORLEANS — When worn correctly, a face mask helps minimize the spread of COVID-19, but what is the right way to wear a mask? And how do you properly clean and store it between uses?

No matter the material, the mask should always cover your nose and mouth. You should always be able to breathe, but you’ll feel some resistance if the mask is on correctly.

You want the mask to be sealed around your face. The more loose spots, the more chances particles can get in or out.

After you've worn a mask you should treat it as a biohazard. So what's the proper way to clean and store one?

Fabric cloth masks can be machine washed with detergent or handwashed with soap. Another option is putting them in a paper bag and leaving them in a warm place for at least two days.

If you have an N95 or surgical mask, leaving them out or handing somewhere is never a good idea. You should also never wash or bleach these masks because it will damage their filter. Instead, clean them by putting them in a paper bag at room temperature or warmer for at least seven days.

Don’t use a plastic bag to store or clean a mask. They’ll retain moisture and that can lead to bacterial growth. It’s also good to store each mask separately.

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