With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the wearing of face masks becoming a requirement in more and more areas, there has become an overwhelming shortage for N95 masks (masks that filter out at least 95% of airborne particles). As a result, the demand has grown for DIY and cloth face masks.
So what does the data say, and how effective exactly are cloth face masks? We set out to find answers, and have compiled a list of helpful links and resources below to help you make your own decision.
How do cloth face masks compare?
If you’d like to know how cloth face masks compare to surgical masks, here’s an infographic that helps visualize it:
For comparison, this chart shows the effectiveness of materials that can be found around the house, including pillowcases and cotton t-shirts.
Although these materials seem to be good candidates, one more factor to consider is how breathable the fabric is. The easier it is to breathe using your cloth face mask and the more comfortable it is, the longer you can wear your mask. So for example, although the dish cloth and the vacuum bag captured the most particles, they were also the hardest to breathe through. These same researchers found that the most breathable fabrics are pillowcase fabric and cotton t-shirt fabric.
Effectiveness of filters inside cloth facemasks?
Cloth facemasks can be designed with filter pockets inside of them. This is an extra pocket space to insert another type of material for added protection. The filter can also be easily replaced and is disposable. How effective are these filter inserts, and which material works best?
Our conclusion? Stuffing face masks with tissue to filter out additional dust particles is better than not using them at all.
What is the best material for cloth face masks?
Based on our above research, our conclusion is that pillowcase fabric and cotton t-shirt fabric are the best choices to make cloth face masks from, based on both their particle capture and breathability. Adding tissue to the face mask’s filter insert also appears to be helpful.
Where to Buy Cloth Face Masks Online?
If you’re looking for a manufacturer of customized cloth face masks in the Philippines, visit our Cloth Face Masks ordering page.