Here’s how to wear a face mask properly - and tips to stop your glasses from steaming up

Face coverings are now mandatory in England on public transport (Photo: Shutterstock)Face coverings are now mandatory in England on public transport (Photo: Shutterstock)
Face coverings are now mandatory in England on public transport (Photo: Shutterstock)

Face coverings are now mandatory in England when using public transport, as the new law comes into effect.

Some form of facial protection must be worn for commuters to be able to travel on public trains and buses as of Monday (15 June), with the law to be enforced by transport operators and British Transport police “if necessary”.

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Travellers can be fined and refused travel if they do not comply with the law.

Very young children, disabled people and those who have breathing difficulties are exempt from the rules, but all other public transport users must comply from 15 June.

But which types of face coverings are acceptable, and how do you wear them properly?

How do I wear a face mask properly?

The government has advised that scarves, or homemade cotton coverings, that cover the nose and mouth, and other bought masks that are not the same as those used by the health service are fine to wear. Surgical masks should be kept for use by health professionals.

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Officials have said that people can make a face covering at home, but added it is key to ensure it covers your nose and mouth.

Government guidance states that a cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably. This can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.

Before putting it on, you should wash your hands or use hand sanitiser and do the same after removing it.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times and store any used face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.

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Do not touch the front of the face covering, or the part of the face covering that has been in contact with your mouth and nose.

Once removed, make sure you clean any surfaces the face covering has touched and wash the covering regularly. The covering can be washed with other laundry, using your normal detergent.

When wearing a face covering, take care to tuck away any loose ends.

How do I stop my glasses from steaming up?

If you wear glasses, wearing a face mask at the same time can cause the lenses to steam up, making it difficult to see properly.

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But the common problem has an easy solution, thanks to advice from doctors in the medical journal Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

To prevent the issue, doctors advise washing your glasses with soapy water before putting the mask on, and rinsing them under warm water.

Then, gently dry off the lenses with a clean towel or cloth before putting them back on.

Washing the lenses with soapy water leaves behind a “thin surfactant film” that reduces misting on the lenses, meaning they now shouldn’t steam up when a face mask is worn.

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Should face coverings be worn elsewhere?

The current government advice states that face coverings should be worn in enclosed spaces, which includes some shops and public transport.

At the moment, people are not being told to wear them outdoors, while exercising, or in schools or offices.

Several airlines, including easyJet and Ryanair, have introduced a requirement for passengers to wear face masks on board.

However, the government believes that face masks should be reserved for people who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers.

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