COVID-19 - A ‘how-to’ guide on donning and doffing masks

COVID-19 -  A ‘how-to’ guide on donning and doffing masks

By The N95 Mask Co Team


At last, there is a glimmer of hope. With the Government claiming we are past the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak we can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. Now, whilst plans are being made to restart the economy, it’s crucial that we do everything we can to avoid a second spike.  

It’s going to be more important than ever to follow safety measures i.e. social distancing rules, to protect ourselves and others, and Boris Johnson recently said “face masks will be useful” as part of the strategy for exiting lockdown. Some countries such as Germany, Austria, and Turkey have made an important decision to make wearing masks compulsory, or at least ‘highly recommended’ in closed spaces such as shops and public transport, in the interest of controlling the spread of COVID-19. 

Although it’s reassuring to see many people embracing mask-wearing in public, there are common misconceptions floating around on how to wear them properly and whether there is a correct way to put on and take off the masks. 

Putting on a face mask

  1. Wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitiser thoroughly before putting on the mask
  2. Hold the mask up to your face using your hand and allowing the ear straps to hang freely to the sides
  3. Place the mask firmly over your face and pull both straps to loop around your ears. Remember to always pull the straps away from the mask
  4. Check that the face mask completely covers the face from the bridge of the nose down to the chin by pressing the nose piece to the shape of your nose
  5. Perform a fit check by placing your hands over the mask and exhaling. If any air leaks, you should adjust the straps and mask accordingly 

Taking the face mask off

  1. When taking off the face mask, remove it from behind or from the straps, avoiding touching the front part of the mask with your face or hands
  2. Put the reusable face mask somewhere safe that it won’t be touched by you, or others when it’s not being worn
  3. Wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitiser immediately after removing the face mask

The rule: If you are going to use a mask in public, be sure to wash your hands before and after putting the mask on and taking it off.

How to wear a face mask

When you put on the mask, make sure it covers your nose and mouth and fits comfortably around your face. WHO guidelines say the wearer should make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask. 

Unlike the common loose-fitting surgical style masks (the pleated type), N95 masks are designed to create a tight seal around the nose and mouth and offer far superior protection.

Whilst your face mask is on, you must remember not to touch your mask - this defeats the whole purpose of wearing it! The main reason a non-medical person would wear a face mask is to prevent spreading virus-bourne droplets to other people, and if there are virus particles trapped on the outside of the mask, they’ll get on your hands when you touch it.

However if you need to touch the mask to adjust it, clean your hands with a sanitiser or alcohol-based hand rub, or soap and water each time you do. 

The rule: Try to avoid touching your face mask unless you need to adjust it.