What Are The Best Materials For A Face Mask?

📅 August 20, 2021

Wearing a face mask has now become a norm but ever wondered which material is the best to make these face masks? In this article, we will share which are the best fabrics and why reusable ones are better.

What are face masks?

Face masks are protective masks used to cover the nose and mouth from harmful substances. There are different types of face masks that can be used today. They range from disposable masks to reusable ones.

Face masks are said to be vital in the fight against Covid-19. When someone with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or speaks, small droplets of the coronavirus are released into the air. A mask can help prevent these germs from entering your body.

Your lips and nose are hidden by a face mask. When you cough or sneeze, it can prevent virus-filled droplets from entering the air. COVID-19 spread is slowed as a result of this.

Face mask material list

Face masks are made from various materials. Disposable ones are made from materials as such:

  • Surgical mask: polypropylene, polystyrene, polycarbonate, polyethene and polyester
  • N95 mask: polypropylene and rubber and metal for the straps, staples, and nose bar.

On the other hand, reusable face masks are made from the following materials:

  • Cotton with a tight weave, such as that used in high-thread-count sheets; four layers of silk; and fabric blends, such as cotton and flannel or cotton and chiffon

Is polyester good for a face mask?

100% polyester is not appropriate for producing a face mask when compared to other materials. Polyester is a less breathable fabric and will not operate as effectively because of the moisture created when breathing. Combining various materials with polyester, on the other hand, is a smart alternative.

What are the best materials for face masks for COVID-19?

The effectiveness of the mask lies in how good the material is in fighting the virus.

Hence, here are some recommended fabrics suitable for face masks:

Best material for a reusable face mask

It was discovered that a multilayer mask composed of two different materials is quite effective. One layer of high-thread-count cotton and two layers of natural silk or chiffon (90% polyester and 10% spandex) can be used to make a reusable mask.

Additionally, using cotton with more threads per inch and tighter weaves for your face mask can improve its filtration efficiency.

Another material that is great for reusable masks is antiviral fabric. An antiviral fabric can reduce transmission of the coronavirus by more than 90%. ProXmask’s antiviral face masks are made with the best textile technology to bring both comfort and safety to you through a mask.

Best material for face mask filter

A sequence of fabric layers provides additional surfaces for virus particles to adhere to rather than disperse into the air. This is when a filter comes in handy. However, too many layers may make it difficult to breathe.

According to studies, “quilter’s cotton” filters out a lot of particles, especially in tight weaves with thicker threads like batik. Cotton outer layers and flannel inside layers are also effective.

Best breathable material for face mask

Cotton is the most common fabric for fabric face masks, particularly those available for purchase online. That’s fortunate because it’s one of the best fabrics for the job. Cotton was determined to be one of the top three fabrics for its mix of protection and breathability.

Best material for face mask ear loops

One of the best materials in making ear loops is elastic bands. Polyester and spandex yarns are used to make the ear loop. Polyester and spandex fibres are non-toxic and odourless.

Additionally, since they’re made from soft materials, they will be more comfortable to be worn for long periods of time.

Why are reusable materials better?

At the end of the day, the best materials for face masks are ones that are reusable as they are better for the environment. Here are some reasons why reusable materials are better:

  • They are biodegradable. This reduces plastic waste and also pollution in the long run.
  • Saves marine life. Since these materials are reusable, they won’t be disposed of as quickly as non-reusable ones. Hence, there will be a lot less plastic waste making its way into the ocean.
  • It is the cheaper alternative. You don’t have to spend more money getting materials regularly as reusable ones can be used more than once.

Conclusion

By making face masks with effective materials, we can all be safer from the virus as its efficacy will be increased tenfold as compared to using bad materials. Make sure you understand the face mask fabrics and their effectiveness before you choose one!

The article is a part of our comprehensive series on “Face mask: Preventing the spread of Covid-19”

REVIEWED BY

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.

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