My new nightly ritual is to hand-wash the day’s pile of face masks in the sink (hashtag normal things we do in 2020), but if I wasn’t hanging them just so, they wouldn’t be dry the next day — and wearing a wet face mask is a definite no-no if you want it to be remotely effective. Then I remembered the weird, clip-laden hangers we used to use to dry diaper covers back in our cloth diapering days.
Back then, we were doing daily loads of laundry filled with plastic-lined reusable diaper covers that couldn’t go in the dryer, so we picked up a circular hanger covered in plastic clothespins that allowed us to hang everything up without taking up all the space on our shower curtain rod. At the time, I foolishly assumed these hangers were made specifically for drying diaper covers, but they are actually intended to dry all kinds of tiny delicates you’d rather not subject to the torture of a wash/dry cycle — and they work just as well for face masks as they do underwear.
There are plenty of these gadgets available online (we’ve got this one), but you can approximate the same effect with a few regular hangers and a package of curtain clips, or even binder clips (see above image).
The World Health Organisation advises washing masks once a day, and the cloth masks I purchased specify they can be washed in a washing machine up to 15 times. The U.S. Centres for Disease Control advises that hand-washing with detergent (and preferably in hot water) should sufficiently decontaminate your masks, and washing by hand and air drying is certainly less damaging to your clothes than constantly cooking them in the dryer at high heat. The sink + clippy hanger option seems like a smart alternative, then — especially if you don’t want to pull out your salad spinner.
Since the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic — even back in January and February before things really started to get bad in the U.S. — there has been some mixed messaging when it comes to wearing masks. At Lifehacker, we’ve been fortunate that our senior health editor, Beth Skwarecki,...Read more