Now that the CDC has updated its recommendation that people in public wear non-medical face masks, people are crafting them out of everything from T-shirts to socks. The best practices for removing these masks involve only touching the ties that go over your ears (or wrap around your head) and avoid handling the front of the mask. But sanitizing a reusable mask has been left up in the air.
Some methods circulating online—such as microwaving them or dousing a reusable mask with alcohol or bleach—are not effective or safe. The only real way to cleanse a reusable face mask is to launder it. Surgical masks cannot be laundered and must be disposed of in a waste can with a lid, only touching the elastic strings to remove them.
As far as laundering, machine washing is the best option, as you won’t have to touch the mask and it will do the most thorough job of washing the mask. It is not recommended to hand-wash a mask, as it may not completely remove viral particles.
The CDC does not recommend the wearing of N95 surgical masks or disposable surgical masks by non-medical personnel.