Face masks have become a standard ‘accessory’ in this season. There’s a wide range of face masks to select from, including medical-grade masks and homemade masks. Fabric face masks, in particular, have become commonplace, widely accessible and acceptable to the general public.
However, are they as effective as surgical face masks? Let’s dive in together.
What are fabric face masks?
Fabric face masks are basically face masks that are made with cloth materials such as cotton or polyester. Here are some types of fabric face masks that you can choose from:
Types of fabric face masks
- 3 ply fabric face mask
- Cloth face mask
- Woven fabric face mask
- Knitted face mask
How to use fabric face masks? Use it the right way
Make sure you’ve cleaned your hands with soap and water or used an alcohol-based hand sanitiser before picking up your mask. Do not touch the mask again once it has been fastened. Loop the elastic straps over your ears if your mask has them.
It is critical that the mask completely covers your mouth and nose. It should not be worn below the bridge of your nose. Wash or disinfect your hands before removing your mask. It’s also crucial to keep in mind which side was on the outside.
When you remove the mask, fold it carefully to protect the side that faces your mouth and nose. After that, you may store it in a paper bag until you need it again.
Fabric face mask with filter
Since most fabric face masks come with a filter, here’s how you can change them. The front of the disposable filter, which usually has words printed on it, should be put into the mask facing up so that it is on the same side as your face while you wear it.
Are fabric face masks effective?
When a person talks, coughs, or sneezes, respiratory droplets are produced. A fabric face mask is designed to catch these droplets. It also functions as a shield to keep the user safe from inhaling droplets from others.
Fabric face masks consisting of many layers of tightly woven fabric, such as cotton, are the most effective. More droplets will not be able to get through or escape from a mask with layers.
Fabric face masks will be more effective by ensuring that they are properly fitted to your face’s contours to minimise air leaking around the edges. No gaps should exist between the mask and the nose, mouth, or chin.
When you breathe out, you should feel warm air coming through the front of the mask. You shouldn’t be able to feel air flowing out of the mask’s edges.
A study conducted on fabric face masks made of three layers of TNT (non-woven fabric material) show that it can theoretically reach 95 percent of filtration efficiency based on particle size.
Moreover, scientists have been trying to increase the effectiveness of fabric face masks by indulging in textile technology. One of the newest discoveries is antiviral fabric masks.
For example, a study found that antiviral fabric coating is said to have a 99.99% efficacy against the SARS CoV-2, the Covid-19 strain that started the pandemic.
Our antiviral masks are made from the best antiviral textile technology that has more than 99% effectiveness against the virus. Our masks are also made from fabrics that have water repellency characteristics.
This provides an excellent shielding effect against these pathogenic water droplets. This technique minimises the danger of disease transmission through inappropriate handling and disposal.
Advantages of fabric face mask
There are several advantages to fabric face masks:
Washable & reusable
One of the most important factors about using a fabric face mask is that it is washable and reusable. Since it is made out of fabrics such as cotton, it is easy for users to wash them as they can just throw them into a washing machine while doing laundry.
Since fabric face masks are reusable, you just have to buy one or two masks that can be used in rotation. This saves you a lot of money as you don’t have to keep on restocking your face mask.
Comfortable for double masking
Fabric face masks are made up of soft materials like cotton or are knitted. Since they are created from those materials, it makes it more comfortable for you to wear them for long periods of time or to wear them over another mask.
Fabric face mask patterns
These face masks come with not one but various patterns, making it more fun for people to wear them. You can match them with your outfit, to enhance your fashion style. Who says you can’t be fashionable while wearing a face mask?
Additionally, with these various patterns, parents can convince their children to wear a face mask easily as they can get ones with their favourite cartoon characters on it.
Impact on the environment
Since fabric face masks are reusable, washable and recyclable, they are the more environmentally friendly option compared to disposable masks. By using a fabric face mask, you can lower the pollution level as fewer disposable masks will be used.
The most essential thing is to select a fabric face mask that is comfortable for you since this will increase your likelihood of wearing it. The more you wear it, the less susceptible you will be to the virus. Our fabric face masks are made with the utmost care to ensure it is comfortable for you to wear them on a daily basis. Get yours here!
The article is a part of our comprehensive series on “Face mask: Preventing the spread of Covid-19”
Yii Change Bong
Medical Officer, Proxmask
Dr Yii Change Bong is an occupational health doctor with demonstrated experience working with the Ministry of Health, Malaysia.
Having worked as a Medical Officer in Hospital Umum Sarawak and Sarawak General Hospital, Kuching for more than 5 years, he holds a strong presence in the fields of occupational health services, medical surveillance, and also in providing medical education.
In 2020 Dr Bong was the COVID-19 taskforce PPE liaison as the person in charge of personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers in the hospital during the early stages of the pandemic.