As cleanliness continues to be a priority amid the COVID-19 pandemic, face mask sprays that tout varying degrees of odor elimination and disinfection have joined the group of products we feel pressured to buy.
Lifestyle brands like Spinster Sisters, Uncommon Goods, and Way of Will, major retailers such as Amazon and Walmart, and small businesses on Etsy started selling mask sprays intended for use on cloth face coverings. Different bouquets make different assertions about how they’ll improve your face covering ― some claim to be antimicrobial and antibacterial, while others bill themselves as a refresher and deodorizer. Of course, a pumpkin-spice mask spray exists, as do ones that’ll make your face covering smell like sugar cookies or a margarita.
Many sprays are made with just essential oils and water. In contrast, others include alcohols that can kill the coronavirus ― but according to the experts HuffPost spoke with, some virus-killing ingredients can be hazardous to your respiratory health.
Not to mention, this is a new, unregulated marketplace that can’t guarantee effectiveness. These sprays could also break down the fibers of a cloth mask, thus the barrier to potential coronavirus exposure.
Take a close look at the ingredients list.
The word “disinfectant” on a mask spray label indicates it kills bacteria. University of Washington professor of environmental and occupational health sciences Scott Meschke told HuffPost that a “true disinfectant” would be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Suppose the agency finds the compound effective against the coronavirus. In that case, it will be featured on the EPA’s List N. Mask sprays that don’t outright call themselves disinfectants don’t require the same government oversight, and therefore “we don’t necessarily know what’s in them because of that lack of regulation,” said University of Florida epidemiologist Cindy Prins.