Singapore residents began collecting two reusable masks each on Monday (September 21), in the fourth nationwide reusable worm distribution exercise, to help protect against Covid-19.
A Temasek Foundation initiative, the masks can be downloaded from StayMasked vending machines at approximately 800 locations by scanning the barcodes on an NRIC, a school card, birth certificate, FIN or any government identification with a barcode.
People can find out about the vending machines closest to them on this site.
The collection for two weeks will last until October 4. Although it is a useful and durable alternative to disposable masks, disposable masks should be washed regularly and replaced after a recommended period of time.
Here are some things to note about reusable masks.
How long should I use the new reusable masks?
The latest masks are for daily use. Each mask can be washed up to 30 times. Infectious disease expert Leong Hoe Nam advises users to check that the mask fits their face and cheeks well, as unfiltered air can penetrate through the side of a loose mask. When used in a “wear one, wash one”
What is the best method to wash the reusable mask?
Washing and drying is easy but must be done correctly so that the mask remains effective for a longer time. Use a mild soap and lukewarm aqueous solution. Do not use antiseptic detergent or bleach. The mask manufacturer says that the masks can be soaked in water for a longer period of time to wash away stains from cosmetics. It is not advisable to use make-up remover as it may affect the protective properties of the masks.
How often should I wash my reusable mask?
The mask must be washed after each day of use, according to the guidelines in the mask package. Dr. Leong urges users to be careful when washing the mask as aggressive washing or the use of a washboard to clean the fabric can damage it quickly.
How do I dispose of the reusable mask after the recommended use time?
The face mask should be discarded as a surgical mask – in a garbage bag with other waste or in a dustbin. Alternatively, cleaned masks can be cycled in different ways.
For example, they can be reused as a cleaning cloth, a bag for your glasses or keys, because they are made of cotton.
Why should I stop using the reusable mask after the recommended use time?
After the washes, the antimicrobial as well as filtration properties of the mask become less effective. Dr. Leong stated that the effectiveness of the mask can fall between 10 and 15 percent.
For the latest coronavirus updates, visit here.
This article was first published in Straits Times.