From the initial skepticism about their effectiveness in protecting us from COVID-19 to the world's hands down acknowledgement of their heroic role, masks have come a long way. After all, they are the facilitators that help you go out and buy your grocery supply and other essentials for the week.
On account of their increased demand, the market is flooded with face covers. Many big and small brands are trying their hands to bank on this opportunity and make their place in the sprawling market. Does this mean that the filters of all the cloth masks available in the market are efficient?
The simple answer to this is- ‘no’!
Cloth masks' filtration efficiency depends primarily on 3 factors. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an ideal mask should stand tall on these parameters-1. Protection
As the particles' size gets smaller, a mechanical barrier like cloth becomes less likely to filter them. A cotton face cover that is approximately 99 per cent effective in safeguarding you from bigger particles is not quite as efficient in the filtration of smaller particles. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the size of novel coronavirus ranges from 0.08–0.14 µm. The filtration of a mediocre cloth mask is not enough to protect you from the viral transmission. Organizations like the CDC recommend the use of cloth face covers that offer electrostatic and mechanical protection. The charge in the filter media traps the airborne nanoparticles and keeps the harmful particles at bay irrespective of their size2. Layers of breathable fabric
To create an effective barrier against the virus, the CDC recommends a mask with two or more layers. The effectiveness of a fabric mask depends much on the fabric they are made of. Check the cloth mask's filtration efficiency for different fabrics to make an informed buying decision.
Once you have come across a mask with the right cloth, make sure that it covers your nose and mouth properly. Ideally, a good face cover is the one that has just 8% of leakage rate against aerosolized particulates. Not only this, make sure that there aren't any gaps or unnecessary 'bridges' that create an opportunity for harmful particles to seep in. If your mask becomes loose over time, you can follow a simple DIY technique to fix its ear loop adjuster to eliminate the unnecessary space.
How do these masks compare with surgical masks?
Cloth masks have a high filtration efficiency. Health organizations recommend their use under non-medical setting for people other than frontline health workers. Besides offering you superior protection like N95 respirators, the masks cause 25 per cent less resistance while inhaling. It keeps your heart healthier.
Additionally, unlike surgical masks, cloth masks are reusable. If your mask becomes loose over time, you can follow a simple DIY technique to fix its ear loop adjuster to eliminate the unnecessary space.
f you want to buy high-quality face covers that protect you and your family, check out our range of winter masks that provides protection and warmth. All our masks comply with the world's highest standards for reusable fabric face covers, including the European Union's EN 149:2001+A1:2009.