With the CDC now recommending we all wear a cloth face mask when leaving the house, it’s worth noting which fabrics offer the best protection to use in a DIY face mask.
According to NBC News, the key is to use a high quality cloth that still allows for breathability.
Reduce spread of #COVID19. When in public, use a cloth face covering that
✔️Reaches above nose & below chin, completely covering mouth & nostrils
✔️Fits snugly against sides of your face
✔️Is made of multiple layers of cloth that you can breathe throughhttps://t.co/bihJ3xEM15 pic.twitter.com/wvaRlxv47G
— CDC (@CDCgov) April 6, 2020
NBC interviewed Dr. Scott Segal who is the chair of anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem. Dr. Segal tested a variety of different cloth materials to find out which ones were better able to filter out small particles – such as viruses.
Dr. Segal told NBC the best DIY masks were constructed of two layers of heavyweight “quilters cotton” with a thread count of at least 180, and had thicker and tighter weave. Lesser quality fabrics also worked well, as long as they had an internal layer of flannel.
“You do want to use a woven fabric, like batik,” Segal shared with NBC, “but you don’t want to use a knit fabric, because the holes between the knit stitches are bigger.”
Take action to slow the spread of #COVID19 by wearing a cloth face covering in public spaces, keeping at least 6 feet of physical distance, & frequently washing your hands.
Make a cloth face covering from a t-shirt, scarf or cloth napkin. Learn more at https://t.co/bihJ3xEM15. pic.twitter.com/IVZklVYUtS
— CDC (@CDCgov) April 5, 2020
The CDC notes the use of a DIY face mask is not a substitute for social distancing and people should still obey the six foot rule when heading out of the house for essential activities.
According to USA Today, “The CDC press release says that cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. They recommend that critical supplies such as surgical masks or N-95 respirators, continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.”