Wearing a cloth face mask is one of the solutions to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus pandemic. Find out how to choose the best cloth face mask now!
With the number of coronavirus cases reaching almost 105 million people worldwide, many countries respond by adopting masking regulations in public.
Singapore, Hong Kong, the UAE, the United States, and Italy are countries with policies requiring citizens of all ages to wear masks in public places, including exercising outside. As a result, medical masks used in healthcare to prevent infection are sold out globally, leading to an alarming scarcity.
At the moment, the cloth face mask is mentioned as an alternative for medical mask usage. Many people are still concerned about whether this can protect them from this devastating pandemic.
This post will cover a cloth facemask’s function and how to choose the best cloth face mask for your health and safety.
Is Cloth Face Mask A Myth?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is recommended to wear cloth masks in public places where social distancing is challenging to maintain. Moreover, the CDC also talked about how the cloth mask prevents function from the spread of coronavirus.
The cloth mask is not a recent invention exclusively for covid, but it has been around since the beginning of the 20th century. Medical personnel use fabric masks to prevent the spread of respiratory infections, diphtheria, and scarlet fever.
With cotton, gauze, or fabrics, medical staff can wear these masks for several hours and reuse them repeatedly. It was only in the mid-20th century that cloth masks were significantly reduced when disposable medical masks were made.
According to the CDC, in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic raging worldwide, the cloth mask acts as a source of disease prevention sources for both sides.
For the person wearing the mask, the cloth helps to retain the wearer’s virus particle from falling to the person next to them.
At the same time, it also helps to prevent the virus particles splashing from the other person from direct contact with the masked person’s nose and mouth.
Numerous studies show that masks reduce the risk of viral transmission by more than 70% under different circumstances. One study found that using a mask prevented the transmission of the virus from two infected hairdressers to 67 clients.
In some cases, when officials asked people to wear masks, infections and deaths were significantly reduced.
Therefore, whether it is surgical masks or cloth masks, they all serve the same purpose – protect the wearers and surroundings from infection. Although cloth mask is not as highly affected as the N95 and medical mask, they still have several benefits in this situation.
What Is A Good Cloth Face Mask?
A good cloth face mask must meet CDC criteria
With the high rise of Covid cases, face masks are mandatory in public places. Research shows that wearing masks lasts from 4 – 5 hours per day on average in the U.S.
Due to using masks, several cases with poor-condition or homemade masks report that masks worsen their breathlessness and irritate their eyes due to the exhaled airflow directing to the eyes. The mask’s fabric also affects people’s skin condition, such as irritating and reddening the contact skin by constant rubbing movement.
Therefore, people need not just something to cover their nose and mouth but a quality face mask that brings high protection, endurance, comfort, and breathability.
According to CDC, here are the cloth mask criteria:
- Breathable fabric
- Two or more layers
- Fit comfortably to the wearer’s face
How To Choose The Best Cloth Face Mask?
Material is an essential element when determining a quality cloth mask. Depending on the tightness of the fabric can the mask protect you from respiratory droplets.
To inspect the fabric, the user can bring it under the light: If the outline of individual fiber is visible, this cloth will not be the ideal material that makes up a good filter.
Manufacturers currently produce cloth masks with different materials such as cotton, gauze, synthetic fibers, leather, and many other materials. However, tightly woven 100% cotton is a good choice for users, says Christopher Zangmeister, a researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Cotton fabrics have natural fibers in cotton, which generally tend to have a more three-dimensional structure than synthetic fibers. This structure results in finer fabrics. Besides, that 3D structure can create more barriers that can prevent a particle from flying in.
The layer of the mask is an essential factor in blocking virus particles. A good amount of layer recommended is two or more cotton fabric layers with a filter in the middle.
For a double-layer cotton-woven mask, the respiratory droplet prevention capacity is about 35%. When a filter made of two more charged polypropylene layers is added, the filtration efficiency is increased by an additional 35%.
According to many researches, the best filter for a cloth mask is polypropylene. It is also known as Oly-fun or Spunbond.
In a research called Household Materials Selection for Homemade Cloth Face Coverings and Their Filtration Efficiency Enhancement with Triboelectric Charging, polypropylene is referred to as an excellent physical filter and also has electrostatic charge capacity.
This means that the Spunbond uses the force of static electricity that can happen when two pieces of cloth rub against each other. This effect attracts and prevents water droplets from splashing inside and outside.
Polypropylene’s electrostatic charge maintains in the humidity created when the wearer breathes. However, the electrostatic charge might fade during washing. Ironing or rubbing it with plastic can release this charge again.
If polypropylene is difficult to use, the wearer can also stuff tissues as an alternative for this filter. With two layers of tightly woven cotton fabric and two tissue layers, the mask is secured to protect wearers from respiratory droplets.
The front of the fabric mask usually comes in different styles and sizes, each with its pros and cons. One of the cloth face masks is the neck gaiter, a scarf that can be worn around the neck to keep warm but can be used to cover the mouth and nose.
However, as respiratory drops can still penetrate through the open-top design, there are still debates about the neck gaiter’s effectiveness in protecting the wearer from coronavirus.
Standard cloth masks should cover both the nose and mouth without causing significant respiratory effects. The mask’s bottom part should fit comfortably under the wearer’s chin for high coverage and protection.
A “one size fits all” shape is currently sold in most stores, so some users with large faces may need to consider carefully for the best fit. Integrated metal strips on the top of the mask can improve the fit around the nose. Extended elastic bands are ideal for increasing the comfort of the wearer’s ears.
Cloth masks are used mainly due to the protection from coronavirus. When compared to medical masks, cloth masks have so much more to bring to the table. Here are the features that you can benefit from using cloth masks:
The increasing demand for disposable masks is creating a surge of plastic pollution. Disposable masks are being used and carelessly disposed leading to many are drifting into the oceans and waterways.
This action threatens the oceans’ health and marine life because these medical masks contain non-recyclable and non-biodegradable materials, which fishes can mistake with real food and eventually die from eating it.
On the contrary, reusable masks can reduce the risk of contamination and waste plastic. As mask-wearing becomes increasingly compulsory in many countries worldwide, the shortage of disposable masks is increasingly severe.
The demand for it is increasing, and disposable masks’ importation seems to have become an economic and political problem. An alternative to disposable masks is a reusable one. Masks that are reusable or washable can reduce the number of masks used once.
Besides, the use of fabric masks also helps to reduce the cost of buying masks many times. You can wash a standard cloth mask up to 30 times, which has a longer minimum expense usage.
Stretchy ear loops
When wearing cloth masks, protection ability is not the only thing you need to consider. As masks are mandatory in most countries nowadays, you might likely have to wear masks for a long period every day.
Stretchy ear loops are a great feature when looking for a good cloth mask. Normally, many cloth mask brands tend to have one size only, which gives a limited length to the straps.
If you have used a medical mask before, you will understand the pain when putting on the mask with short straps. They can irritate your ears by bending your ear rims and pushing them to the front.
On the contrary, masks with extending straps are easier to wear and more comfortable for long usages. They sit nicely on the ears and allow them to be at their natural position.
Water-resistant outer shell
What is better protection than a water-resistant mask? This feature results from water-resistant fabric like polyester or polypropylene for the outer shell of the mask and a water-repellent coating.
Normal cloth masks might have many layers and filters, but they are not entirely waterproof, which means a higher chance for respiratory droplets to infiltrate.
Mask certificates are essential for consumers to know if the product can be trusted. Since the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020, many standards have been applied to cloth mask products. To sell their products internationally, some manufacturers must meet certain criteria.
Here are some reputable testing certificates that you can check when buying a cloth mask:
- Fabric TUV certified against rashes and irritations.
- ISO CE & INTERTEK certified for water-resistant and antibacterial function.
- C.E. Certificate for filtration efficiency, breathability, splash resistance, and biocompatibility standard.
If you’re a mask seller and interested in importing masks from manufacturers, this is what you should know about mask manufacturers.
Finding a good cloth mask is not an easy job, especially when many mask sellers and manufacturers worldwide. As there is a high demand for masks, buyers must carefully consider the source before buying masks.
When talking about manufacturers, Dony Garment is a rising star in the cloth mask industry recently. Their medical and cloth mask products are certified by international and domestic tests regarding safety and quality. During the pandemic, they have contributed more than 100,000 standard masks to the United States.
Dony Garment Company is a manufacturer and supplier of masks in Vietnam, with an outstanding record in the manufacture and export of quality, efficient, reliable, and certified masks worldwide, including America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Their Dony Mask fabric masks are being favored by many retailers in the market for its handy features:
Two hundred seventy percent of the straps’ original length.
- Sustain antibacterial capability up to 99,9% even after 60 washes (no other masks reach this pinnacle yet)
- Three layers for maximum protection
- Skin-friendly with soft cotton fabric.
- No suffocation issues, which can be used for sports players.
- Available in different designs and colors.
- Resist 99.95 % U.V. resistance.
- Eco-friendly, Save over 85% vs. disposable masks.
You can find out more about the product features in this video.
DONY masks are made of a three-layer fabric, 99.9% waterproof and antibacterial. Their cloth mask has passed most of the most stringent safety standards globally and achieved certification from C.E., FDA, TUV Reach, Intertek Global, DGA, among others.
Currently, DONY Garment focuses solely on business to business (B2B) with exclusive benefits for business partners.
Wearing masks is becoming a social norm since the coronavirus outbreak in 2020. When choosing masks, many buyers have to face a huge selection of different brands and manufacturers. Understanding how to choose the best cloth face mask allows you to maintain a safe environment for yourself and your family.