As more states require face masks, you’ve probably noticed more stores are selling them… like Old Navy and Target.

Well, in the interest of keeping you safe, always wash new masks BEFORE you wear them! Because according to infectious disease expert Dr. Nigel McMillan, pathogens like coronavirus can easily survive on most fabrics for at least a day. And with synthetic fabrics – particularly rayon and polyester – the virus has been known to stay viable for up to THREE DAYS! And that’s a big deal when you start thinking about how many other people may have touched or tried on a mask before YOU bought it.

Dr. McMillan says machine washing and drying new masks will kill most sickness-causing pathogens. And even if your mask came wrapped in plastic, it’s smart to wash it anyway… because many fabrics these days are coated with toxic chemicals like ammonia and even formaldehyde. And some of the dyes used in printing novelty masks often contain compounds known to be carcinogenic.

So, no matter where you buy a face mask, always wash it before you wear it!