THE remaining mask mandates in Scotland have been dropped finally, and, judging by scientific research, this is long overdue.

A Belgian 2021 study lead-authored by Lize Delanghe examined the accumulation of bacteria on masks, determined the best cleaning routine and surveyed mask-wearers on their mask habits.

Here are some of their results:

After four hours of use, 43 per cent of bacterial colonies on masks were resistant to widely-used antibiotics.

The best mask-cleaning methods were boiling, ironing with a steam iron or washing at 60° C with detergent. Cleaning should be done daily as a minimum.

In a survey of 25,000 participants, only 21 per cent of responders reported cleaning their cotton face masks daily, 27 per cent washed them weekly and six per cent never washed them.

Only eight per cent of surgical mask-users threw them away after each use, and 15 per cent only threw them away if they were visibly damaged or dirty.

A total of 36 per cent had a health complaint when wearing a mask.

Geoff Moore,