What is the Life of a New Face Mask?

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Life of a New Mask? 4 Hours? 4 Weeks? 4 Months?


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Due to the unprecedented spread of COVID-19, which has been declared as a pandemic by WHO, use of face mask has been declared as mandatorily required, even to step out of one’s house.

Now a million dollars question arises, “When to dispose of the face mask, in use?”.

So, Team Explicit Facts has worked hard and explored the unchartered waters of understanding the life of face masks, which will surely blow everyone’s imagination.

Without wasting any further time let’s dive into the topic, “What is the life of a new face mask?”.

COVID Pandemic and Mask

The dependence on face masks because of the ongoing pandemic has triggered several concerns, the common being when should you replace your mask? and when should you discard it?

There are three types of masks available in the market –

  • N95 Face Masks – An N95 mask is a particulate-filtering facepiece respirator that meets the N95 air filtration rating of the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, meaning that it filters at least 95 percent of airborne particles, while not resistant to oil like the P95. It is the most common particulate-filtering facepiece respirator.

N95 face mask

  • Surgical Masks – Certified medical masks are made of non-woven material. They are mostly multi-layer. The filter material may be made of microfibers with an electrostatic charge; that is, the fibers are electrets. An electret filter increases the chances that smaller particles will veer and hit a fiber, rather than going straight through (electrostatic capture).

surgical face mask

  • Re-usable Cloth Masks – A cloth face mask is worn over the mouth and nose and made of commonly available textiles. They vary widely in effectiveness, depending on the material, fit/seal, number of layers, and other factors. Although they are usually less effective than medical-grade masks, many health authorities recommend their use by the general public when medical-grade masks are in short supply, as a low-cost and reusable option. Keep two for alternate days, wash and air them out in the sun after every use.

Face masks can be used for different durations, but some common signs that doctors and industry experts suggest you should look out for are to check if it’s loose, damp or the fabric is worn out.

Doctors also say that for protection, N95 masks are the best, but if you are wearing a cloth mask, make sure it’s three-layered.

Face Mask is Useless when Damp, Torn, Loose

If your mask is loose, torn, damp, and fogs up your glasses, it’s time to replace it. The purpose of a mask is that all the air we are inhaling should pass through it.

If your mask is loose, or it doesn’t entirely cover your nose and mouth, it is of no use, because 50% of the air you are inhaling isn’t filtered. So, if your mask is ill-filtered, change it.

Some masks come with nose clips, which ensure that it fits snugly around the nose.

A simple trick to check such a mask’s life has ended is to see if wearing it fogs up your glasses.

If there is fog, you are inhaling around the mask, and you should change it.

Similarly, When an N95 mask is torn, damp, or damaged, it should be changed. 

Surgical masks should not be used for more than four-six hours. 

When to Change your Mask?

  • Surgical Mask: Discard after four-six hours
  • Reusable Cloth Masks: You should wash it after every use, dry it in sun, and iron it to kill any virus that may remain on the mask.
  • N95 Masks: Keep five, rotate through them & replace them with a new set after a month. In between, if the mask gets loose, torn or damp, replace it.

How to Check Your Mask’s Efficacy?

Try blowing out a candle while wearing your mask. If you cannot blow it out, you can continue wearing the mask.

If you keep washing and reusing one mask, it deteriorates in quality.

Handling N95 Masks?

At the beginning of the month, we take five masks and number them from one to five, each with its own plastic/ paper cover.

On day 1, we use a mask, come back, out it in its cover.

On day 2, we use the second mask, come back, put it in its cover, and repeat the process through Day 5.

On the sixth day, we repeat the first mask.

After 25 days, these masks were replaced with a fresh set.

In between uses, if we feel the mask has become loose, we discard it. 

Earlier, only healthcare professionals were following this, but now anyone who goes out daily can follow this.

How Long Can You Wear a Mask?

If you opt for a reusable mask, then it is recommended to use two masks. One for odd days and others for even days.

On the day, the mask is not used, air it out in the sun or in the room with the fan on to dry out all the moisture. This will kill any virus on the mask.

It is advisable to replace your mask if its fit gets compromised, or if the breathing resistance becomes high. 

If the mask doesn’t seal your face and force all the inhaled/ exhaled air through the cloth/ filter, it serves no purpose.

Removing & Storing Mask

If you are out and have to remove your mask to eat/ drink, how can you store it?

We have seen people who wear a cloth mask, fold it, and keep it in the pocket after removing it, which is not right.

When you are eating out, for example, release the knot with sanitized hands, fold the mask keeping only the outside surface exposed, and store it in an airtight bag.

Also, keeping a mask on your lap can contaminate it.

How do we decide Life of New Face Mask? 

We follow all the rules mentioned above very religiously, without any worry of money required in maintaining so many face masks, and then disposing of them after usage of 3 to 4 weeks, depending upon the weather conditions like summers.

Courtesy – YouTube

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Courtesy:- World Health Organization, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO, CC BY-SA 3.0 igo,



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