The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
The CDC website says the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
provides the following guidance:
- Should cloth face coverings be washed or otherwise cleaned regularly? Yes. They should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use.
- How does one safely sterilize/clean a cloth face covering?A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering.
- How does one safely remove a used cloth face covering?Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.