Keep masks on the kitchen counter next to your phone so you remember to grab one when you leave the house. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Keep masks on the kitchen counter next to your phone so you remember to grab one when you leave the house. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Household strategies to manage summer’s hottest new accessory

This mom lays out her plan to keep clean masks available to all four family members at all times.

Now that there is a statewide requirement to wear masks while in public spaces, masks are everywhere — in our car, tucked into coat pockets and littered on the floor where kids left them after biking to the donut shop.

We need strategies for cleaning and organizing masks so they are ready when we are.

The first step is to make sure you own enough masks so that you don’t have to wash them every day. Right now it’s possible to buy inexpensive masks for adults and kids online at places like Old Navy, where I recently ordered 10 for $25. However, I prefer the more expensive masks I purchased from Athleta that were five for $30 because they feel easier to breathe in, have adjustable ear straps and a nose bridge. Homemade masks are another option, and we have several that my mother-in-law sewed for us.

Another reason to stock up on masks is so that you can bring more than one mask with you when you leave home. Masks get wet the longer you breathe on them, which makes them less effective. When September comes and my kids (hopefully) return to school, I’ll send them with at least a couple of masks per day so they can replace them as needed. That means I need six masks per family member, so that I don’t have to wash masks every day.

The CDC gives two options for laundering masks: washing them by hand with a mild bleach solution, or tossing them into the washing machine at the hottest temperature setting the fabric can handle. With those guidelines in mind, I’ve devised a strategy for managing our household’s mask supply.

Storage: I made room on the kitchen counter for a basket to hold all of our clean masks. It’s conveniently located by the cellphone charging station, so that anyone who leaves the house can pick up a couple of masks on their way out the door. The rule is, only clean masks go in the basket. This is important to emphasize because it’s tempting to put on a mask while greeting someone at the front door, and then toss it back in the basket because “you only wore it a few minutes.” Nope! That’s a no-no.

Washing: I keep a lingerie bag (a mesh bag for washing delicates) next to the basket. Used masks go into the bag. When it’s semi-full, I wash the bag in our machine on warm, by itself. I use a fragrance-free detergent because I don’t want my family to breathe in perfumes.

Drying: The CDC recommends drying masks in the dryer at the hottest setting, or laying them flat to dry in the sunshine. At first, I was worried that my dryer would destroy the masks, but I was wrong. They came out fine.

Wearing masks isn’t fun, but I want to do my part to help stem the spread of the coronavirus. Plus, I’ll do whatever it takes to reduce the chance that we’ll have to return to distance learning this fall.

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as The YA Gal. Email her at teachingmybabytoread@gmail.com.

Talk to us

More in Life

Flytrap, Carnivorous plant. ( Dionaea muscipula ), close up
Grow a carnivorous bog garden for the weirdness factor

Alien-like plants — such as pitcher plants, cobra lilies, sundews and Venus fly traps — can do well here.

Silver, Blue and Gold, a Bad Company tribute band, will perform May 14 at Historic Everett Theatre. Pictured (from left) are Jeff Mills, Dean Babbitt, Bob Kelly, Steve Kelly, Dan Canyon and Dan Ellsworth. (Tribute Kings)
Rock show Friday in Everett pays tribute to Bad Company

Silver Blue and Gold, named for the 1970s British supergroup’s power ballad, headlines a show in Everett.

While Bulley’s candelabra primrose can naturalize, it is best to plant three to five to insure pollination and seed set. (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: Primula bulleyana, Bulley’s candelabra primrose

This primrose can naturalize, but it is best to start with more than one to insure pollination and seed set.

This strange looking cast-iron tool is a coffee grinder. Beans go in the top, the lid is put in place and the beans are ground and drop into the lower section mounted on a wooden base. It sold for $413 a few years ago. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
This strange looking cast-iron tool is a coffee grinder

The Enterprise Manufacturing Co. founded in 1864 was one of the leading makers of grinders.

See "Rusty Red Axe" by Scott Filipiak in the "Northwest Enterprise" exhibition in Lynnwood.
Exhibits focus on Northwest’s natural and built environments

“Northwest Enterprise: Working in the Northwest” and “Northwest Eden: Trees, Plants and Gardens of the Northwest” can be seen through June in Lynnwood.

Sorticulture, Everett’s garden arts festival is scheduled for June 11-13 on Wetmore Avenue between Everett and Hewitt avenues. (Ian Terry /Herald file)
Ian Terry / The Herald People look at roses at the Sorticulture Festival in Everett on Friday, June 9, 2017. Photo taken on 06092017
Home and garden events and resources around Snohomish County

Home and garden events and resources around Snohomish County

Owners Newton and Naomi Kellogg opened the Ulysses Coffee cafe on April 24. (Kira Erickson / South Whidbey Record)
South Whidbey’s abuzz over couple’s new coffee shop

The owners of Ulysses Coffee Co. drive-thru in Bayview have opened a sit-down cafe in Langley.

salmonberries. Getty Images
What to look for when picking wild berries native to our area

You can find nutritious huckleberries, salmonberries, salal, dewberries, thimble berries and more.

A primer on the health advantages of eating whole grains

Brown rice, whole grain pasta, oatmeal, popcorn and whole wheat bread offer whole-grain goodness.

Most Read