COVID-19: Masks

I hope this is ramping up. The number of masks needed will be mind boggling. It would be encouraging if the feds can ramp up production fast enough to throw about 25-50 masks in each envelope when the stimulus checks are mailed out.

1 Like

Wonder if there are washable masks?

Disposable good for healthcare workers, but for regular folks, less exposure, this could be alternative, and we might be doing this awhile.


Etsy to the rescue


Not sure I’ll order any from Olga, but I would wear something like this when grocery shopping, etc. Anything is better than nothing right now (and for the unforeseeable future).

1 Like

I have a Cambridge mask that I’ve used for forest fire smoke in the past few summers. They claim to also filter out viruses. They are washable, but the filter has a limited lifespan, and washing the mask doesn’t extend the life of the filter. The masks are now back ordered till June, though…

A month ago I told my friend it would have to be like the apocalypse before I’d wear a mask for this virus. Well, that moment has arrived! I haven’t left my apartment in a week, and I’ve received unofficial permission to work from home (such a relief!), but I’ll have to venture out eventually for groceries (hopefully to Costco, which would mean braving public transit). I’d definitely wear this mask and disposable gloves and toss the mask in the laundry when I get home.


Heh. I have always made fun of people wearing masks in the street in the past.

Today I spent a lot of time out, walking to the restaurants that are providing us with the meals we need to deliver, and I got really uncomfortable with my “comfort distance”: it was too close for me, too often. My wife and I went to Target in the eve and we agreed that, from here on, we are going to use masks when in crowded areas…


A lot of people with severe allergies need to use them. I felt really self-conscious wearing a mask on the street and riding the bus during the past few summers when air quality plummeted due to forest fires. But it was either that or ending up in emergency, so I choose the mask… I suspect after all this is over, wearing a mask in public will be a lot more acceptable in our culture.


Now you make me feel really guilty…

Ive read that you should gentlyhand wash mask in sink with antibacterial dish soap with a tender touch and then pat down with a paper towel and then air dry for recycling purposes…not through in laundry bag!!! (which may ultimately destroy the entire purpose of the mask. Beware, be smart, be safe!!! It’s lives we’re talking about.

So, if you are talking about life and death, such as with healthcare workers, then don’t use a reusable mask. Any mask, especially a reusable mask, is not going to provide anywhere near 100% protection against exposure.

For the rest of us, a mask isn’t life and death. The WHO and governments are not advising that a mask is necessary to wear, because in some ways a mask actually increases the risk of exposure (such as getting the virus on your hands or face while adjusting or removing the mask). A mask is mostly something that makes people feel more comfortable and may in some very small way help to stop the spread of the virus in the air. Social distancing, for example, is way more important than wearing a mask or not wearing a mask (for the general population).

You are right, the masks need to be hand washed, not machine washed. I live in a small apartment that has no in-suite laundry, so a lot of my laundry is hand washed, especially smaller items. So to me, when I wrote “laundry” I didn’t mean machine washed. I wouldn’t be able to machine wash anything without having to go out into my apartment building and use the elevator and so on. So it wouldn’t be possible for me to machine wash the mask after using it.

Antibacterial soap isn’t going to do anything against a virus. I’d think any soap would do. I usually use Dr. Bronner’s unscented for hand washing clothes.

Now I’m wondering about the safety of even washing the mask versus just hanging it up for a few days to air out. The latter would kill the virus eventually, but the former may just spread it around onto all surfaces of the mask and your hands.


Perhaps ANYTHING i use, just perhaps, will fend off even the slightest of oportunities of contracting the virus. we dont seem to know as much as we could about how this virus spreads. we know plenty, but not everything. so taking one extra precaution is better than not taking one. Even if it brings me a little extra peace of mind and less anxiety, i will feel better. the anxiety alone is raising my BGs :grimacing: :anguished:

But thanks for your input. and,like you, i wouldnt go anywhere near my laundry room. even if i schlepped the heavy laundry bag up and down the stairs (instead of crowding in an elevator) it would b like being in a petri dish of viral toxins :worried:

I have a lot of friends/co-workers in healthcare, including people I know who work in the ED. There are definitely not enough masks for them to safely do their jobs right now, and the hospitals are pushing employees to keep quiet about it. They are being forced to reuse disposable masks etc. ER docs and nurses are getting sick and being quarantined out of work and some even already dying (including one otherwise healthy nurse in his 40s in NYC). If anyone has a stash of masks they would use and don’t urgently need them yourself, I would strongly urge you to consider donating the majority to your local ER/hospital (someone will likely be willing to pick them up no contact from your house). It’s more important for all of our wellbeing that our healthcare personnel stay safe and able to help any of us should we need it (bc of COVID-19 or anything else you could need the ER for). Ventilators, other equipment, meds, etc are no use without the people to run them, and short-staffed ERs are where life-costing mistakes happen.

Antibacterial soap isn’t even necessary re: bacteria and tends to contain chemicals that have questionable safety issues (this is different from hand sanitizers which are alcohol-based and kill most bacteria and many but definitely not all viruses, and alcohol’s only risk is drying out your skin). Just use regular soap for all purposes (it works on everything!), and if you wash your hands and dishes properly, that will take care of all the viruses and bacteria.

1 Like