When Should You Replace Your Face Mask?

Vera Davidova, Unsplash
Vera Davidova, Unsplash / Vera Davidova, Unsplash

Cloth face masks offer many benefits: They're safe, convenient, and easier on the environment than disposable ones. But even reusable masks need to be replaced sooner or later, especially if you're wearing and washing them regularly (which you should be doing). Here are some signs that the face covering you bought in April needs an upgrade.

According to HuffPost, the elastic ear bands on your face mask are usually the first parts to go. Masks are most effective at stopping the spread of viral particles when they fit snugly on your face. A mask with stretched-out loops may look fine, but if it's too loose to stay in place, it's unacceptable from a safety standpoint.

The cloth that touches your face can also leave you exposed. The more you wear and wash your mask, the more worn-out the threads become. Tears and holes are obvious signs your mask can no longer do its job, but thinning fabric is harder to spot. To gauge your cotton mask's coverage, hold it up to a light. A thick, effective cloth should block any light from coming through. You can also trying blowing through the mask and feeling how much air comes out the other side.

The signs of wear-and-tear on cloth masks are generally the same as they are on the rest of your wardrobe— but unlike an old sock or T-shirt, wearing a worn mask puts yourself and others at risk. When replenishing your mask inventory, here are some options that will keep you safe and stylish.

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