How often to change your face mask

  • 2021-04-21
  • 1697

You cannot re-use surgical masks.

You can wash and re-use cloth masks. It is a good idea to have at least two, so you will always have a clean one available.

On a single trip away from home there might be times when you can’t stay 1.5 metres away from other people and wear a mask, and times when you can maintain the distance and don’t need to wear a mask. For instance, you might take crowded public transport to and from work, but at work be able to maintain appropriate distancing.

Don’t re-use the same mask to go home that you used on the trip to work. Throw used surgical masks in the bin or store used cloth masks in a plastic bag until you can wash them.

Re-using a cloth mask without washing it is risky, because it can become contaminated or may not be as effective in protecting you. For each new situation put on a clean mask. Carry your clean masks in a plastic or paper bag to keep them clean. 

Washing a reusable cloth face mask

Cloth masks should be washed after every use.

They can be washed in the washing machine with other clothes, or handwashed using soap and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth. Dry the cloth mask in the clothes dryer or in fresh air before you re-use it.

Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub (made up of over 60% alcohol or 70% isopropanol) after handling used face masks.

Dispose of a single-use mask correctly

When disposing of a mask, put it in a sealable bag to ensure the used mask won’t be touched by others. Then put the sealed bag in the bin.

Always clean your hands immediately after removing your mask and putting it in the bin.

You must wear your mask when at an airport or on a domestic or international flight departing or arriving in Queensland.

While not mandatory, you are strongly encouraged to:carry a mask with you at all times when you leave home

wear a mask when travelling on public transport, in a taxi

or rideshare or in shopping centres

wear a mask in any indoor or outdoor space when you are unable to stay more than 1.5m distance from other people, such as busy walkways and thoroughfares.

There are some exceptions to wearing a face mask, including:

children under 12

a person eating, drinking or taking medicine

where visibility of the mouth is essential

where a mask needs to be removed to clearly communicate

a person with a particular medical condition or disability

a person undergoing medical treatment

if a person is asked to remove a face mask for identity purposes

if wearing a mask creates a risk to a person’s health and safety

for emergencies or when allowed by law

in any circumstances when it’s not safe to wear a mask.

Face masks alone will not protect you from COVID-19. Social distancing is the gold standard of COVID-19 prevention methods, coupled with washing your hands regularly.

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