Hello, here are answers to some of the most common questions about home-made masks.
Can a home mask replace N95 masks?
No. No home-made mask can replace N95 masks, no matter what filters are applied to it.
How big are the particles of coronavirus?
Coronavirus diameter varies between 0.17-0.3 microns. None of the filters that were created for other specific use and are now being used for home made masks are safe to use: they don’t give N95 protection, and they also contain particles (fiberglass and other substances) that are harmful when inhaled. This includes HEPA filters, NP2.5 filters, carbon filters and what not.
Is my mask protecting me?
We have heard over and over again that masks help reduce the spread of the virus, but do not protect the wearer. Here is how it works: masks create a filter that limits the quantity of particles that go through the mask (either direction) and the distance they travel. This means that many of the particles that you emit through your mask will not reach a person standing at a normal distance from you. However, those particles emitted by them that make it through your mask, will go directly into your nose and mouth since there is no distance between your mask and your face. Therefore, wear your mask when needed, in order to limit the spread of the virus, but don't buy into a fake sense of safety that makes you disregard physical/social distancing. Wearing a mask has a huge impact on the virus' ability to spread. This is a typical example where taking care of others benefits you and your dear ones.
What is the best fabric for masks?
The denser the weave, the more effective the fabric, but keep an eye on breathability! Having two layers of different fabrics can also help (their different weave helps patching up their respective holes). Stay away from masks made of stretchy knitted fabric: their ability to stretch goes hand in hand with the expansion of the spaces between threads and consequent lack of protection. Linen masks and cotton masks have great breathability. You can insert a double layer of paper-towel in the filter pocket to increase efficacy. Unfortunately, breathability and efficacy tend to be inversely proportional, so it's a matter of finding the right balance between the two. You may want different masks for different uses, for instance, one type of mask for your regular shopping and a different type for exercising. The weather will also make a difference. Our denim mask is more efficient but has less breathability, so you may want to use the denim mask in crowded spaces and the linen or cotton one in less crowded environments. The structure of denim is a very tight weave, which makes it very protective. Silk has thermostatic properties that attract and trap particles, sort of like a magnet (you may have felt this when wearing silk garments). Sign up for our updates to know when we add new items.
What is the best filter for home-made masks?
Paper towels and non woven fabrics make the best home-made filters.
Do I have to keep social distancing if I wear a mask?
YES YOU DO. Watch out for false safety. Always remember that physical/social distancing is the most important discipline to practice. The risk wearing masks is that they may give you a false sense of security and you automatically get closer to people than you would if you didn't wear a mask. Don’t do that! Don’t turn your protection into danger!
So, are home made masks useful?
Home masks and face coverings are better than no mask at all. When you wear a mask and interact with someone who doesn't, their chances of getting infected by you are 5%, while your chances of being infected by them are 70%. When both of you wear a mask, the chances of infecting each other drop down to 1.5%. Therefore, yes, any kind of mask or face covering will contribute to everyone's health.