Wearing a face mask correctly turns out need more thorough scrutiny. That is, if you don’t like to wash your hands. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that face masks (along with social distancing and hand washing) are one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19, until 70% of the population being vaccinated off course.

With that in mind, it’s still crucial to wear a face covering. Until the entire public is vaccinated, wearing a mask can go a long way toward helping keep people safe.

Wearing a mask can decrease the virus circulation, which will decrease your chance of being infected. As shocking as it sounds, these mask mistakes are easy to fix. To help you improve your mask hygiene, we categorized the mistakes found. What are those?

1. Forgetting to wash your hands

You aren’t washing your hands before and after you take off your mask. It is advised washing your hands for a complete 20-30 seconds before putting on and removing your mask, as infections transferred to hands can easily be transferred to the nose, mouth and eye areas.

Hand washing is the cornerstone of infection control practice. Washing hands prior to putting a mask on avoids any contaminants to get on the mask. When removing a mask, it is important to wash hands to assure that no contaminants or infections are transferred to the hands. When removing the mask, take it off by unlooping or untying it from the ears, taking care to avoid touching the front.

2. Not cleaning your face after wearing a mask

This one’s more about preventing breakouts than slowing the spread of the virus. But if you’re looking to reduce mask-induced acne, washing your face is a must. To cleanse your skin properly, the American Academy of Dermatology advises cleansing your face daily with a mild, fragrance-free cleanser, and moisturizing your skin afterward.

3. You’re sharing a mask with others

Just like tooth brush, towels and underwear, masks aren’t supposed to be shared with anyone, even your family members.

4. Re-using disposable mask

Jagdish Khubchandani, professor of public health at New Mexico State University, warned against doing so, as disposable masks are designed, manufactured and certified for short-term use only.

Disposable masks should be worn for a single day, and then tossed, as they quickly break down the ability to filter particles, carry microorganisms and become soiled. Using it more than one day will decrease its efficacy in preventing infection. Don’t even wash it after use, just throw it away safely to the nearest bin.

5. Exposing your nose

A lot of people wear their masks pulled down, exposing either their nose, or their entire face. This completely takes away the benefits of wearing a mask. It must be secure, covering your mouth and nose securely at all times for it to be effectively used to protect you, and others around you, from viral transmission.

Furthermore, a recent study published in the journal Cell revealed that cells in the nose are more likely to be infected with the coronavirus than cells in lung and throat areas, making it even more important to ensure that your mask covers your nose and mouth.

Don’t forget, the top of the mask should extend to the bridge of your nose and the bottom of the mask should extend to just below your chin.