Skip to main content

Health library

Do's and don'ts of face masks. Learn how to use yours correctly.

Reviewed 5/4/2023

Do's and don'ts of cloth face masks

A face mask that's handled the wrong way minimizes its effectiveness. Follow these do's and don'ts to avoid spreading and catching germs while wearing a cloth face mask.

DON'T: Wear your mask below your nose or under your chin.

DO: Wear your mask so it fully covers your mouth and nose and fits snugly against the sides of your face.

DON'T: Touch your mask while wearing it. If you do, wash your hands immediately.

DO: Wash your hands before putting your mask on and after you remove it. Handle your mask only by the ear loops or ties.

DON'T: Wear a dirty or soiled mask.

DO: Clean your mask in the washing machine after it becomes soiled or at the end of each day's use. In general, cloth face masks should be washed using water and a mild detergent, then dried completely in a hot dryer.

DON'T: Share masks with others.

DO: Store your mask in a clean container or bag when not in use.

DON'T: Put masks on children under 2 years old.

DO: Make sure that you and any children age 2 and older are able to breathe easily while wearing your masks.

DON'T: Use a mask as a replacement for getting vaccinated or social distancing when needed.

Keeping your hands clean is another good way to cut down on the spread of germs—if you wash the right way.




Related stories