How Long Should You Keep Using a Reusable Mask?
There are many great benefits to using reusable masks in your daily life, but if you aren’t careful, they can also spread and potentially worsen existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, allergies, and sleep apnea.
When you first purchase a reusable breathing mask, it’s tempting to use it as often as possible because they are far less expensive than its disposable counterparts.
However, you may be surprised to learn that there are limits to how many times you can use the same mask before it needs to be replaced or cleaned.
Here’s a quick overview of reusable masks and how long they can be used safely before you need to replace them.
Recommended Period of Use
There are no definitive studies on how many times you can use a reusable mask before it needs to be replaced.
Generally, it is recommended to replace your mask within three months of use. The silicone and other materials used in creating a reusable mask can become worn over time. After a few uses, it will not perform as intended, increasing your risk of infection or irritation.
You should replace masks that have broken down or become stiff, especially if you’ve had them for more than a year. If your mask is cracked, torn, or has any holes, it is time to throw it away and get a new one.
If you use your mask regularly, the recommended replacement time is between 3 and 6 months, depending on how often you use your mask. If you are using your mask daily and/or multiple times per day, it will need replacing more frequently than someone who only occasionally uses their mask.
If your mask has become discolored over time or smells funny (like mildew), then it’s probably time to get a new one. You can test out whether or not your reusable mask needs replacing by trying to bend its frame slightly.
If it doesn’t feel like bending metal but rather like rubber that you can easily fold and crease, you should replace it immediately. This is especially true if you’ve had your mask for more than six months.
Factors That Determine How Long You Can Keep Using a Reusable Mask
The number of times you can use your mask is determined by how frequently you clean it. Some companies recommend rinsing and disinfecting masks once every 24 hours, while others suggest doing so every 12 hours.
Regardless of how often you clean it, if your mask becomes visibly dirty or compromised, replace it immediately.
Other factors that determine how long you can keep using your reusable mask include but are not limited to:
- How many times you’ve used it before?
- How often do you use it?
- The type of mask you have.
- Where you are using it (indoors or outdoors).
- The climate and environment in which you are using it (dry or humid).
- Your general health and hygiene habits.
- Other medical conditions you may have