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

Reviewed 6/10/2022

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.

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Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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