How to Care for Your PPE
We know there has been a lot of mixed information about who should be wearing personal protective equipment such as masks. While we are not going to attempt to clarify that, as that should be left for the experts, we would like to provide some insight into how to properly care for this equipment should you choose to make or buy some.
1. Wearing PPE Does Not Make You Invincible
We feel like this needs to be said. People tend to believe that wearing masks and gloves makes them immune to contagions, this is not true. Protective gear increases your protection but only when properly cared for and continuously paired with good hygiene. Wearing gloves does not mean that you can stop washing your hands! If you touch your face with gloves on you risk transferring the same amount of germs, if not more, than if you touched your face with bare hands.
We make no claims that any of the gear we sell will protect you from COVID-19, nor from any other specific contagion. This goes for any protective gear you make yourself as well. These products are not sterile and not surgical grade. Surgical grade masks and other professional protective gear should be reserved for medical professionals, especially at this time of shortage.
2. Wash Before Wear
This should go without saying but before you put anything on your body, much less your face, WASH IT. Whether you make it yourself or you order one of our protective neck gaiters, these items are not sterile. We are taking every precaution in our factories and warehouses to maintain cleanliness but please remember that these items do travel to reach you. All items should be washed before being worn. Wash in hot water with soap for best results.
3. Change Gloves Often
If you are wearing gloves it is important to change them often and between tasks. A good rule of thumb is wherever you would normally pause to wash your hands, you should probably change your gloves or you risk spreading germs from one surface to another. Don’t touch any surface with gloves that you plan to touch with bare hands later (i.e. don’t wear the same pair of gloves out to the grocery store and then in your car and then in your own home). Gloves only serve to help protect you from germs, they do not prevent the spread from surface to surface. And again, don’t touch your face with your gloves! Also, disposable gloves are not meant to be washed. For most materials, washing them will degrade the protective coating, making them more porous and susceptible to breakage.
4. Your Gear is Only as Clean as the Surfaces They Touch
Wearing a mask or other protective face covering is a great step you can take to protect yourself. But it is important to remember that it is only as clean as the surfaces it touches. So for example if you wear a mask all day and then throw it on your counter, your couch, or your bed it is going to pick up any germs from those surfaces and if it is reusable you will then place it back on your face in closer proximity to your nose and mouth. The reverse is also true. By placing it on surfaces within your home you are allowing any germs that it picked up from the outside world to transfer to surfaces within your home.
Ideally you would have a specific pouch or plastic bag that is designated only for carrying your mask or face covering. Then you take it off before entering your home and throw it directly in the wash. If it is within your means, having multiple coverings (1 for each day of the week) makes this quite a bit easier. If not, handwashing or machine washing on gentle with hot water and soap each day is a good course of action.
We are proud to be able to manufacture and offer our customers these protective items at this time. As well as offer the materials such as elastic should you choose to make your own. Please order and use these items responsibly.
We are thinking of you. We are all in this together.