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A face covering should cover your nose, go under your chin and:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • be secured with ties or ear loops
  • include at least 2 layers of fabric
  • allow for breathing without restriction

Using a face covering properly


Clean your hands properly before you put it on.

Practice using it so you are comfortable putting it on and taking it off.

Make sure it's made from a fabric you are comfortable wearing.

Cover your mouth and nose with it and make sure there are no gaps between your face covering.

Tie it securely.

Carry unused face coverings in a sealable clean waterproof bag such as a ziplock.

Carry a second similar type bag to put used face coverings in.


Do not touch a face covering while wearing it - if you do, clean your hands properly.

Do not use a wet or soiled face covering.

Do not share face coverings.

Do not lower your face coverings to speak, eat and smoke or vape. If you need to uncover your nose or mouth, take the face covering off and put it in a bag for used face coverings.

Do not throw face coverings in public places. These could be contaminated and you risk infecting others. 

How to properly wear a face covering, cover your nose and mouth.
How to properly wear a face covering

Taking off a face covering

To take a reusable face covering off properly:

  • remove it from behind - do not touch the front of the mask
  • put in a sealable clean waterproof bag or wash immediately
  • clean your hands properly

Throwing away a disposable mask

To safely dispose of a single-use mask:

  • remove it from behind - do not touch the front of the mask
  • throw it away immediately into a closed bin
  • wash your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • dispose of it in your general 'black bag' waste bin at home or work, or a litter bin if you’re outside
  • do not put them in a recycling bin as they cannot be recycled
  • take them home with you if there is no litter bin - do not drop them as litter

Watch a video explaining how to safely wear a face covering from

Glasses fogging up

If you wear glasses and a face covering, your glasses may fog up. The warm air from your breath can escape from the top of your face covering. This can cause the lenses of your glasses to fog up making it difficult to see.

Cleaning your glasses makes them less likely to fog up.

Before putting on a face covering:

  1. Wash your glasses with soapy water.
  2. Shake off the extra moisture.
  3. Let your glasses air dry or gently dry the lenses with a clean cloth.

A well-fitting face covering can stop your glasses fogging up. It should not be uncomfortable but should fit tightly enough to not leave any gaps around your nose.

Place your glasses on top of the seal of the face covering to try to stop your breath reaching up to your glasses. You may not be able to move your face covering up high enough to do this. If you can't, try sealing the face covering to your face at the gap under your glasses with a small piece of surgical tape.

Related topics

Shopping safely during the COVID-19 pandemic

How to wash your hands properly

Protect yourself and others from COVID-19

Last updated: 23 November at 12.10pm

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