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Mask Essentials Part 2: Best Practices for Wearing & Removing a Face Mask

In order to spread awareness about the importance of wearing a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have prepared a series of articles designed to provide essential information and guidelines so that you can get the most out of your mask.

Mask Essentials Part 2: Best Practices for Wearing & Removing a Face Mask


While masks are intended to be worn in order to prevent the spread of viruses and other germs, they are only effective when worn properly. Here are some guidelines on how to handle and wear your mask for maximum protection and effectiveness.


How to Put on a Face Mask

  • Be sure to clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water or an alcohol based sanitizer before and after handling your mask. 
  • Remove your mask from its packaging, and ensure that there are no tears/holes in the mask. Avoid touching the main area of the mask, and hold the mask by the ear loops/ties.
  • Identify the inside of the mask--usually the white side. This is the side that should be facing you as you put the mask on.
  • Identify the top of the mask--with a disposable mask, the top has a wired edge designed to mold to the shape of your nose for a better fit.
  • When the mask is in the correct orientation, hold the mask by the ear loops, bring the mask to nose level, and place a loop around each ear.
  • Ensure that the mask covers both your nose and chin, and mold the wire to your nose for a comfortable, snug fit. You should be able to breathe normally.

Avoid touching your mask for the duration of your wear time to prevent contamination.


How to Dispose of a Face Mask

  • Ensure that your hands are clean before handling your mask.
  • Remove your mask by the earloops without touching the front or inside of your mask. If possible, you may cut the earloops in order to prevent second-time use and to prevent the mask from becoming caught or tangled in wildlife. 
  • Immediately dispose of the mask into the trash, preferably a closed bin.
  • Wash/clean your hands once more after handling your mask.

Wearing a mask alone will not completely prevent you from being exposed to viruses. It is most effective only when combined with other social distancing measures, such as washing your hands with soap and water, keeping at least a six-foot distance from others, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 

Typically, disposable face masks are one-time use only. Replace your mask immediately if it starts to get moist or if it develops any odor.

For a video and visual reference on how to wear a mask, you can view a video from the CDC here: https://youtu.be/adB8RW4I3o4