Masks are effective only if you wear them properly. Here's the right (and wrong) way

Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT) July 7, 2020

(CNN)So, about masks -- they do next to nothing if you don't wear them properly.

Yep, even the cloth coverings touted as the best thing since social distancing have instructions. We've laid them out below, based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
And remember: Masks are effective only if they cover your mouth, nose and chin. And however tempting it may be to remove your mask for a moment, doing that could expose your fingers and face to the very virus you're trying to avoid.
Keep that and more in mind when wearing your mask -- If we all do it right, we could save 33,000 lives.

How to properly wear a mask

Wash your hands and grab a clean cloth mask.

  • Follow the steps to properly wash hands. (If you've forgotten the multi-step process, read our refresher here.
  • Only wear clean, breathable face masks. Re-wearing the same mask could expose you to contaminants.

Put on your mask, holding it by the ear loops.

  • Your mask should also fit snugly against the sides of your face -- no open flaps. But it shouldn't be so tight that it's difficult to breathe through.
  • Your mask may have a wired side, meant to adhere to the shape of your nose. Press down on it over your nose for a more comfortable fit.

Make sure your nose, mouth and chin are covered.

  • If your mask has pleats, they should open downward.
  • Pull your mask up so it covers your nose, and tug it down so it covers your mouth.
  • After you've put your mask on, don't touch it again until it's time to take it off.