Covid-19 special edition
At Core Merino, we have been promoting our new Merino Wool Neck Warmers as an alternative to wearing a face mask during the Covid-19 pandemic. As we are promoting wool face masks as an alternative to single-use face masks or face masks made of cotton or other fibres, we want to make sure we address some of the concerns you may have.
So if you are thinking about wearing our merino wool neck warmer as a face mask or already do but are unsure if it is safe, this blog post is for you.
Biggest concern: wash on a cold wool cycle only
Whenever you read the care label on all of our merino wool products, you will notice that it says: wash on cold wool cycle. This also holds true for our neck warmers. The reason is that hot water temperatures combined with the tumbling in the washing machine can lead to unwanted felting effects. Depending on your washing machine this means a wool cycle reaches between 20-40° Celcius.
Now, all of us have learned that we need to wash our clothes (and re-usable face masks) at 60° C in order to kill viruses and bacteria. So what does this mean for safely cleaning our merino wool face masks if we cannot wash them at high temperatures? The answer is that we need to dig in a little bit more into what actually kills the Covid-19 virus.
Do you wash your hands at 60°C?
The easiest way to understand what kills off the Covid-19 virus is to look at the recommendations for regularly washing our hands. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that we regularly wet, lather and then scrub our hands with soap for 20 seconds followed by rinsing our hands with water and dry them. Nowhere does it say that we need to use water with a temperature of 60° C as anyways that would hurt our skin.
Combination of water, soap, temperature, and movement
Like many things in life, it is the combination of things that do the trick. In the case of disinfecting our hands (and face masks), it is the combination of soap, water, movement, and temperature.
Research shows that a fat cover with proteins surrounds the coronavirus. The inner part contains the RNA (genetic material). Soap molecules have two ends: One attaches itself to water molecules (H2O) and the other end to fat. The soap molecules break open the fat cover of the coronavirus. Without a protective cover, the virus can no longer multiply. When rinsing your hands (or clothes) with water, the virus residues are then washed away. The movement of your hands ensures the soap and water gets to all parts of your hands.
When we wash our merino wool neckwarmers on a wool cycle in our washing machine or even when we wash it by hand in the sink, we combine all of these four elements as well and therefore ensure the Covid-19 virus is destroyed and removed from our neck warmer. So, we do not need to wash our neck warmers at 60°C, as already soap, water, movement and warm water temperatures of our wool cycle are enough.
Last but not least, all of this of course only works if you wash your merino wool neck warmer or reusable face mask on a regular basis.
We hope we were able to answer any questions or concerns you may have had about the safety of wearing wool as a face mask like our Core Merino neck warmer.
If you have any further questions that we can answer, make sure you get in contact with us anytime. We are always happy to talk wool 🙂