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People are wearing dirtier masks than we even thought possible

Is mask re-wearing the everyone-does-it bad hygiene habit of our time? An eye-opening survey commissioned by the textile tech company Livinguard indicates yes. And it’s worse than you thought:

  • 79% of Americans don’t wash cloth face masks after each use
  • 43% wash them weekly
  • 8% don’t wash them at all
  • 68% reuse one-time-use masks

In other words, all those masks you see out and about are dirty dirty dirty. Moist fabric is a breeding ground for bacteria and can also carry live viruses, so changing into a fresh mask after a few hours is not a bad idea. You know how you change clothes and underwear after exercising? Do that with your face too. Same concept.

For the record, Mayo Clinic guidelines suggest that masks should be washed at least after each day’s use. (The CDC is less specific in its guidelines, suggesting “regularly.”)

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