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Zaku's avatar

What happens if you don't wash a face mask?

Asked by Zaku (30399points) January 4th, 2021

A recent question asked how often people wash their face masks.

What happens if you don’t wash a face mask?

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14 Answers

Kardamom's avatar

If it has Covid virus in it, or on it, you could spread it. Am I missing something in your question?

chyna's avatar

Same thing as if you didn’t wash your underwear. It gets dirty. But with masks, it could have diseases hanging on it. On second thought, your underwear could have diseases hanging on it, too. I’m kinda sorry I answered this question now.

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t even want to know. Whatever happens isn’t going to be good anyways lol.

Probably some rashing of the face, breakouts, and similar issue due to the increased amount of dirt and soiled fabric touching your face.

kritiper's avatar

It gets smelly and crusty…like a well used handkerchief.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

It has been said that the virus only lives for around 24 hours on fabric,so if you rotate some masks I don’t think you will catch it but like @kritiper said it would get smelly and crusty.

janbb's avatar

The thinking is that you could be bringing the virus in and be spreading it or getting it.

To those saying it gets smelly or crusty, i really don’t want to know what you are doing with your mask! :-)

Zaku's avatar

So I’ll just confess. I have been using almost only one cloth mask and paper towel, though I have several.

It tends to either be in my jacket pocket or on my face.

I have made zero effort to clean it, for… 8 months or so?

I was thinking that COVID doesn’t survive more than a day on cloth, as SQUEEKY2 posted, so I have not been concerned about it.

I have not noticed any smells or stains developing. Maybe I just can’t smell the odors my own mouth produces?

Jeruba's avatar

I think on one of his Covid Q&A threads, @Caravanfan also said they get saturated, presumably with what we inhale and exhale; which I took to mean that they clog up and their protective function is compromised.

jca2's avatar

I would think it would be smelly with the oils and sweat from your skin, @Zaku.

Also, for people who wear moisturizer or face makeup, it would get on the mask. Lipstick, too.

Jeruba's avatar

Now, lipstick would be one of the things I would expect to see in low use during this time. Mascara is another story. I sure have seen some stagey eye makeup lately.

jca2's avatar

You’re right, @Jeruba, which is why I haven’t worn lipstick since March, but still, there are people that wear it and mess up their masks.

tedibear's avatar

I can’t speak to their efficacy, but I can tell you that at three days of 8 hours a day of wear, mine get a little smelly.

Zaku's avatar

8 hours a day! My sympathies. I’m lucky enough to have only had to wear the mask for brief shopping visits or while passing someone on a trail.

tedibear's avatar

@Zaku – It’s not bad once you get used to it. I found that once it’s on, if I just leave it on and not do the on-and-off routine my co-worker does, it’s easier to forget it’s there.

When I get home from work, it feels odd to not put on my mask when I go inside.

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