Press Release

For immediate release

Just a quarter of Brits are using masks correctly

  • 72% of survey respondents said they use their mask repeatedly before disposing or washing it
  • 1 in 10 use their mask more than 10 times before changing it (11%)
  • Despite this, reusability is the main factor for Brits when buying a mask (61%)

27 October 2020, LONDON –

Only a quarter of the population (26%) is washing or disposing of their mask after one use according to a new survey from personal finance comparison site,

This means that almost three quarters (72%) of Brits are going against official advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that disposable masks, such as blue surgical masks, are replaced after every use and that reusable masks, like cotton masks, are washed after every use.

Worryingly, 1 in 10 (11%) people claim to be using their mask upwards of 10 times in between washes or getting a new one.

Across all respondents, the average number of times a mask was worn before being changed was 3.6 times.

The survey also asked what the top reason was for Brits when buying their masks, finding that reusability was the number one factor, with 3 in 5 (61%) saying this.

Encouragingly, the second top reason for Brits when buying a mask was safety (45%), tied with being able to breathe easily (45%). The third top reason was price, with a quarter of the population (25%) aiming “to spend as little as possible”.

Commenting on the findings, Georgia-Rose Johnson, shopping specialist at the comparison site said:

“It can be tempting to reuse a disposable mask, or to not wash a reusable one, but wearing a mask correctly is an important part of controlling the virus.”

“The best option in terms of price and environmental impact is to buy a mask or shield that can be reused. Over a prolonged period of time, this will save you the money and effort of having to purchase hundreds of disposable masks. You can see a comprehensive guide on reusable masks here and advice from the World Health Organisation on how to wear a mask here.”

Finder commissioned Onepoll on 14 to 16 August 2020 to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+. A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.


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