Last reviewed 23 June 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published new advice for the public on when and how to wear masks safely.

The guidance covers fabric masks and medical masks, describing who should wear what type of mask and when.

Some key points for fabric masks include the following.

  • Clean hands before touching your mask.

  • Inspect the mask for damage or dirt.

  • Adjust the mask to your face without leaving gaps on the sides.

  • Cover your mouth, nose and chin.

  • Avoid touching the mask.

  • Clean your hands before removing the mask.

  • Remove the mask by taking off the straps behind the ears or head and then pull the mask away from your face.

  • Store the mask in a clean plastic, resealable bag if it is not dirty or wet and you plan to re-use it.

  • Remove the mask by the straps when taking it out of the bag.

  • Clean your hands after removing the mask.

  • Wash the mask in soap or detergent, preferably with hot water, at least once a day.

In addition, the WHO has advised the public of the following Don’ts with regard to fabric masks.

  • Don’t use a mask that looks damaged.

  • Don’t wear a loose mask.

  • Don’t wear your mask under the nose.

  • Don’t remove the mask where there are people within a metre.

  • Don’t use a mask that is difficult to breathe through.

  • Don’t wear a dirty or wet mask.

  • Don’t share your mask with others.

Further information is available via the WHO website.