How to Keep Your Mask From Smelling

Mar 10, 2021

Whether you’re wearing a mask all day or while running a quick errand, just about everyone has run into the unpleasantness of a bad-smelling mask. We look into what causes it, how to prevent it, and some quick tips to resolve it.

When Your Coffee Breath Becomes All-Day Breath

If you didn’t know you had bad breath, wearing a mask was a rude awakening. Whether it’s halitosis, coffee breath, or a garlic-heavy diet, wearing a mask is no fun with stinky breath. The breath recirculates inside the mask all day long, with the smell only getting stronger.

Even if you just have coffee in the morning the scent might stay with you all day. Fabrics like cotton absorb smells from your breath, your foods, and your beverages. So you want to tackle bad breath before it sets into the material.

Identify & Eliminate Causes of Bad Breath

The first thing you have to determine is the cause of the smell. Often it comes from your diet, your oral hygiene, or an underlying condition. If your oral hygiene is lacking, that’s a good place to start. Make sure you are getting regular dental checkups as well as daily brushing, flossing, and gargling. 

If your oral hygiene is strong and/or your mask smell seems directly related to what you’re eating or drinking, start with your diet. Either avoid the offending food or change your eating habits. For instance, coffee is a great way to kickstart your morning, but it also gives distinctive bad breath. If you work in an office consider having your coffee before leaving for work, or while driving in. This way, you aren’t immediately going from sipping on some java and then exhaling it into your mask. 

If you must eat strong-smelling foods (which are some of our favorite foods), take advantage of the spring weather and eat outdoors. If you can eat in an area that is open and doesn’t require a mask to be worn immediately, you can buy your breath some time to improve before re-masking.

Have some gum, mouthwash, and/or brush your teeth before putting the mask back on. Fresh breath makes mask-wearing a much more pleasant experience.

If you’ve tried changing up your diet, habits, and are running a strong oral hygiene routine, and halitosis is still pervasive an underlying cause is possible. Talk to your doctor to assess possible causes and solutions.

Keep Your Mask Dry

Humidity makes smells worse. Odors bind to moisture, making smells stronger and longer-lasting. By recycling the same air inside of your mask all day long you create a moist environment where mask odor thrives. This is especially pronounced when breathing heavily such as when working out with a mask. Heavy breathing produces more droplets and warmer, wetter air that clings to your mask.

A lightweight breathable face mask can help to reduce the issue. However, humidity buildup is difficult to prevent. Some accessories can help lessen or slow the effect, but you may have to be prepared to switch masks after heavy breathing or exercising.

Carry an Extra Face Mask

If you are doing a heavy activity, like working out, or are wearing a mask for a prolonged period, bring an extra mask. The ability to swap out is an easy way to get rid of a humid or foul-smelling mask. 

Most office workers find that switching masks one time during the day is enough to stay dry, comfortable, and odor-free. If you feel like you need to switch more often, then do so as often as necessary. Remember to wash reusable masks after each use and toss disposables immediately.

Improve Air Circulation (Inside the Mask)

Recirculating bad breath, trapped odors, and a humid environment can make a mask a smelly place and a breeding ground for bacteria. One of the best ways to combat this is by improving air circulation inside your mask.

Using a breathable mask insert changes the way that air flows inside your mask. It maintains protection while allowing exhaled air to exit the mask and fresh air to be brought in. This keeps your mask smelling better and slows the buildup of humidity. 

COVID mask inserts are reusable and work with any mask. That means you can use them throughout the day—even as you swap or toss masks. Of course, you should still wash the insert daily and allow it to dry before attaching a new mask.

Shop PowerAir breathable mask inserts from Storelli. Keep your breath fresh and your breathing free, without sacrificing comfort.

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