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How to Care for Your Cloth Face Mask | How to Wash, Store, and More

Face masks will be an essential part of your wardrobe for the foreseeable future. If you read our recent post about all things face masks, then you know exactly the right kind of mask to buy for you and your family. The next question is: how do you care for your cloth face mask? How often do I need to wash my face mask? How should I store my face mask?

A soiled face mask is nobody’s friend. In order for them to function properly, they need to be cleaned regularly and treated carefully. In this post, we’ll break down everything you need to know to keep your mask clean. You’ll be happy to know that it takes just a few simple steps to ensure that every face mask in your household is in good condition and ready for use. 

Let’s get started!

How Many Masks Do I Need?

Tokki x Gravitas Face Masks

The first step to making sure that your masks are always clean is to have enough masks in the first place. How many masks you need depends on your lifestyle. If you’re a stay-at-home-hero who only leaves the house for a daily walk in your neighborhood and to go to the grocery store, then you can get by with two masks - one to wash, one to wear.

However, if you are an essential worker, or you are consistently in high-traffic areas, you’ll want a mask for every day of the week. It is best not to wear your mask for more than one day before it hits the laundry hamper.

If you have children, you’ll also want to take into consideration their messy tendencies. Food or beverage stains, runny noses, and a lot of hand-to-mask touching soils the mask and lowers its effectiveness. For children, then, you may find that anywhere from 3-7 kid-size masks is more appropriate. 

How Do I Wash and Dry My Mask?

Washable face masks can be hand-washed, or they can go in the washing machine. Make sure to use hot water and strong detergent for both. You’ll also want to line-dry your masks to avoid shrinkage. 

Our Tokki x Gravitas 100% quilter’s cotton masks will shrink in the dryer. For this reason, we do not recommend using the dryer for any of our sizes. The exception is for women who find that their adult regular mask is a little large for their faces. One trip through the dryer should shrink the mask just enough for a better fit.

Tokki x Gravitas Face Mask hanging to dry
Tokki x Gravitas Cloth Face Masks hanging to dry

How Often Do I Need to Wash My Mask?

It depends. If you rarely leave the house you can wear the same mask 2-3 times before washing it. If you are an essential worker or someone who lives in a highly-populated area, you should only wear your mask once before you wash it. 

Keeping enough clean face masks on-hand doesn’t have to be a pain. If you time it right, you can do all your mask washing twice a week. This will ensure that you always have at least one dry mask to wear at all times.

Tokki x Gravitas Face Mask in sink hand wash
Tokki x Gravitas Face Masks hand washed in the sink

It’s also a good idea to have a spare laundry bag or hamper just for masks. Then, if you’re really in a pinch and you need to do a quick wash and dry, you won’t have to scramble to find your masks amidst all your other laundry.

How do I avoid face mask acne?

"Maskne" is what the internet has started calling it, but it's really just normal acne caused by friction, pressure, and heat. When it comes to skin-loving materials, 100% cotton is the best bet for preventing mask-causing acne.

Our version of 180+ thread count quilter's cotton provides the perfect combination of protection and breathability without the friction caused by other fabrics.  The proper fit can also make a difference - which is why our masks come in 5 sizes from Kids 2-7 through Adult XL.  We also recommend washing your mask at least as often as your underwear.

How Should I Store My Mask When I’m Not Wearing It?

There are many different ways to go about this, but we’ve selected what we feel are the best and easiest options for each part of your life. 

At Home

The idea here is to get in the habit of grabbing your mask along with all your other out-the-door essentials. Keep your masks where you can see them so that you don’t accidentally forget them when you leave the house. If you have a spare key hook by the front door, you can keep one there next to your keys, or you can keep them in a special bag on your entryway table. 

In the Car

If you always keep a spare mask in your car, then even if you do forget your mask at home, you’ll always be prepared. Store your masks in a paper bag, resealable plastic bag, or better yet a reusable washable bag. The glove compartment or the middle armrest compartment are both great places to keep your mask when not in use. If you place a soiled mask back in the bag, don’t use that same bag again for a clean mask.   

tokki x gravitas face mask stored in car
Tokki x Gravitas Face Mask stored in reusable bag in car glove compartment

At Work

Always keep a spare mask at work. Again, a plastic or paper bag are both great options for mask storage. You can keep the bag in your locker or in your desk drawer and replace it as needed. This is imperative for essential workers, but it is also something to think about for those who are currently working from home. Eventually, you may need to return to the office, and this practice will become necessary for you as well.

Out and About

There will be times when it is not practical to place your mask back into a bag each time you take it off. For these instances, use one of our mask keepers. Think of them as eyeglass chains but for your mask. A mask keeper makes sure that your mask stays close and clean so that you can safely take it off and put it back on without contamination or inconvenience. 

Tokki x Gravitas Within Reach: Mask Keeper

For all occasions, make sure that you fold your mask so that the fabric that rests on your face is on the inside of the fold. This helps to keep your mask clean throughout the day, even as you take it in and out of the same bag. 

Where Should I Keep My Spare Masks in the House?

If you have a surplus of masks and you don’t want to keep them all by the door, store them in their own cabinet or on their own shelf in a closet. It’s important to keep them separate from other household items - including other fabric items such as clothes, socks, and linens - to ensure that they are always sanitary and ready for use. 

Tokki x Gravitas Face Masks - 5 Sizes to Fit Everyone in the Family

We’ve got you covered with our 100% quilter's cotton Tokki x Gravitas Face Masks, made using high-level dressmaking techniques to give you the best coverage and fit on the market. Our masks come in five sizes to fit children as young as two years old, older children, women, and men. For every mask purchased we donate a medical-grade face mask to a healthcare worker on the frontlines. Find the perfect face mask for you and your family here.

man and woman wearing tokki x gravitas face masks
Tokki x Gravitas Face Masks

Further Reading

Everything You Need to Know About Face Masks | Material, Size, Fit, and More

Pivoting With Purpose | Tokki's Small Business Response to COVID-19

Unique and Meaningful Gift Ideas for Your Best Friend 2020 | 20+ Gift Ideas She Will Love

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