Common face mask mistakes
It has been more than a year since we’ve had to adapt to a pandemic-ridden world, so popping on a face mask before leaving our homes has become second nature. Needless to say, many of us think we’re experts at mask-wearing by now. But if you’re still chucking your mask into your bag when you take it off for a meal, or secretly reusing disposable masks, it’s high time to change these bad habits. Take note of these common face mask mistakes so you don’t continue to compromise health and safety unknowingly.
1. Washing & reusing your disposable mask
You may gasp at the header, but I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of blue surgical masks hanging to dry on the galas at your HDB blocks. Disposable masks are designed to be used only once, and the World Health Organisation’s stance on reusing them? A hard “no”.
Used medically, these masks are meant to be disposed of to avoid cross-contamination. On top of that, if you do decide to wash them to avoid wastage, the filter efficiency of these masks is immediately compromised once they get wet.
Don’t be sentimental – it’s best to throw disposable masks away after each use, or simply invest in a reusable mask for better hygiene.
2. Draping your mask below your chin when eating
As someone who values convenience, I’m guilty of regularly pushing my mask down to my chin area to eat.
But this hassle-free action may be the very reason why the virus isn’t backing down, especially when the exposed area below our chin is an ideal breeding ground for germs. This makes it easy for germs to transfer onto our masks and then to our faces when we pop it back on.
Instead, bring along a sealable bag to store your mask. You can easily get Ziploc bags (from $4.30/pack of 25) from any neighbourhood supermarket, while restaurants like Shi Li Fang and Din Tai Fung provide them free for diners.
3. Spraying your mask with sanitiser
Since sanitisers keep your hands clean, that means it’ll also rid your masks of germs, right? Wrong. Though you may think that it cleanses your mask, it actually destroys its absorption capacity, bringing the filtering efficiency lower than the standard 95%.
The next time you’re planning on wearing your reusable mask, wash it thoroughly according to the instructions given on the packaging. This is a surefire way of keeping it sanitised for future use. After all, you don’t want to be breathing in sanitiser fumes as you’re going about your day.
If you’re worried about germs while you’re on the go, seek out a mask that’s able to self-disinfect and is safe against viruses like Livinguard.
4. Tossing your mask into your bag
Many of us may think that putting our masks into our bags or pockets when we’re not using them is hygienic. It turns out it has the same effect as draping it below your chin.
Think about it – your bag contains tons of “high-traffic” items that you frequently touch, be it your wallet, mobile phone, or keys. These contain lots of germs that’ll transfer over to your face once you put your mask back on.
Likewise, you should store your mask in a separate pouch to avoid contaminating it.
5. Removing your mask from the front
After a long day of wearing a mask, it’s tempting to just grab it from the front and yank it off as soon as you get home or sit down for a meal. It may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a sure-fire way to contaminate your hands and other surfaces you touch subsequently.
If you don’t want to let all your masking up efforts be in vain, it’s best to remove your mask by its ear loops instead. Though this helps to keep your fingers untainted, the rule of thumb is to always wash your hands thoroughly or slap on some hand sanitiser after handling your mask.
For those who can’t seem to kick the habit no matter how hard they try, opt for high-tech mask options like Livinguard. Their masks contain their own Livinguard Technology that’s able to destroy viruses and bacteria so it won’t latch onto your fingers if you accidentally touch your mask.
6. Not washing your mask enough
Nothing beats the satisfaction of donning a freshly cleaned reusable mask. But for the times when you’re just hopping out for a couple of minutes to dabao food or run errands, you might be tempted to put off washing your barely-worn mask and to reuse it again.
Since even the slightest contact with the outside world can already have bacteria latching onto your mask, washing it after every use will help ensure that your mask stays sanitised and in tip-top condition.
If convenience is what you’re looking for, there are masks like Livinguard that are safe to be reused without having to be washed too frequently.
7. Twisting and wringing your mask when hand washing
Kudos to you if you’ve been washing your face masks diligently, but there’s also an optimal way to clean them to extend their lifespan. Avoid carelessly twisting and wringing reusable masks just like how you would with your kitchen rags – it affects the filtration efficiency of your masks.
And if you’ve been chucking your masks into the washing machine along with your laundry, it’s high time to cut back on the habit as this also causes wear and tear.
Instead, hand-washing them with warm water is the way to go. Treat them like your most delicate piece of clothing and gently rub your mask as per the washing instructions. Masks like Livinguard only need to be rinsed with water.
Correct these face mask mistakes with Livinguard
Many of us may be concerned about how face masks can protect us amidst a pandemic. But if you’re looking for a trusty everyday protector, let Livinguard Masks dispel your worries.
Its unique Livinguard Technology effectively destroys up to 99.9% of bacteria and viruses trapped in the mask. Those who tend to unknowingly touch their masks throughout the day can also rest easy knowing that Livinguard masks reduce cross-contamination as well.
The Street Masks ($15.90) come in pretty pastel colours.
Eco-friendly individuals can heave a sigh of relief as the mask is highly reusable – wear it up to 210 times and wash it up to 30 times for up to six months. The mask also scores high on aesthetics as it comes in nine colours to match every ensemble.
If you’re someone who hits the gym frequently, you no longer have to opt for disposable masks which may offer more ventilation. The Livinguard Fitness Mask ($55) can do just that as it boasts up to five times more breathability without compromising on protection. It comes in a range of sizes so even kids can use it comfortably when they’re out and about.
For those who are working people-facing jobs and prefer a mask with a little more protection, the Livinguard PRO Mask ($31.30) features an extra filter to keep the bacteria away – doubling up on protection.
If you love a good deal, you’ll be glad to know that Livinguard Fitness Masks are now going at a 25% discount at $41.25 (U.P. $55)*. Spend a minimum of $30 on any Livinguard product via Shopee or Lazada and you’ll get free shipping as well.
On top of that, snag a 10% Lazada voucher or use the discount code LIVITSL10 when checking out on Shopee to enjoy 10% off all Livinguard masks till 14th February 2021.
Masking up is undoubtedly important to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, but that should also include handling and cleaning our masks effectively. With these common face mask mistakes, it’s high time we rectify these habits ASAP so we can hopefully see a Covid-free 2021.
This post was brought to you by Livinguard.
Photography by Nadia Loewito.
Originally published on 4th February 2021. Last updated by Josiah Neo on 14th May 2021.
*The promotions listed in this article may no longer be valid.