How to wear cloth face coverings

Published on June 04, 2020

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Cloth face coverings are an additional step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 when combined with everyday preventive actions and social distancing in public settings.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention shared these tips for wearing cloth face coverings:

Wear your face covering correctly

  • Wash your hands before putting on a face covering.
  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.
  • Make sure you can breathe easily.

Use a face covering to protect others

  • Wear a face covering to help protect others in case you’re infected but don’t have symptoms.
  • Keep the covering on your face the entire time you’re in public.
  • Don’t put the covering around your neck or up on your forehead.
  • Don’t touch the face covering, and, if you do, wash your hands.

Follow everyday health habits

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Remove your cloth face covering carefully

  • Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops.
  • Handle only by the ear loops or ties.
  • Fold outside corners together.
  • Place the covering in the washing machine. Learn more about washing cloth face coverings.
  • Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth when removing the face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.

Who should not use cloth face coverings? Children under age 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Keep in mind, cloth face coverings are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. These must be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders, as recommended in CDC guidance.