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February 19, 2021
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Face Coverings

Face coverings are intended to prevent wearers who have a virus without knowing it from spreading infectious respiratory droplets to others.

Respiratory droplets travel into the air when a person coughs, sneezes, talks, shouts, or sings. Droplets can be inhaled by people in close proximity.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, the most effective fabrics for face coverings are:

  • Tightly woven fabrics, such as cotton or cotton blends.
  • Breathable.
  • Two or three fabric layers.

Less effective fabrics for face coverings are:

  • Loosely worn fabrics, such as loose knit fabrics.
  • Difficult to breathe through (i.e., leather and vinyl).
  • Made of a single layer of fabric.

Face coverings should be worn correctly and consistently. Be sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before putting them on, and avoid touching them while wearing. Always wear a face covering that:

  • Covers your nose and mouth.
  • Fits snugly against the sides of your face.

To properly take off a face covering:

  • Stretch the ear loops.
  • Fold the corners together.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash hands immediately after removal.

Reusable face coverings should be washed regularly. To properly clean:

  • Use regular laundry detergent and a warm water setting.
  • Dry completely using the dryer’s highest heat setting.


Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Port Clinton, OH:, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple Inc., Olathe, KS;



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Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

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