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Mask 101: Why you should treat your face mask like your underwear

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A respiratory scientist has urged Victorians to treat their mask like they’d treat their underwear, to ensure they don’t face the risk of infecting themselves with COVID-19 through improper use.

Dean of Health Science at Swinburne University, Professor Bruce Thompson, said the analogy is simple.

“Why is it like your underwear? Well you don’t really take those off in public and then put them on a kitchen bench, only to give it to somebody to put them on afterwards,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“You really need to think about your mask that way.”

Professor Thompson said you shouldn’t touch your mask unnecessarily or without washing your hands first.

“You can actually infect your hands if you start fiddling with it and playing with it,” he said.

“Again, like your underwear, if you get them wet — change them.”

Professor Thompson said it’s important masks are changed regularly, with surgical masks discarded after use and reusable masks washed daily.

“As soon as you’ve finished wearing that you want to take it off because it’s potentially now contaminated … put it in the washing machine straight away,” he said.

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