It’s been a bit like a second skin for a few months. Whether they are fabric or surgical, masks are mandatory in enclosed public places, such as restaurants or shops, even, in some cities, outdoors. Put in place in recent weeks, these measures aim to limit the spread of Covid-19 and prevent a second wave. But to achieve this goal, the mask must still be effective. And to do this, better to use the right fabric. In his file “Test of 18 homemade fabric masks”, consumers association UFC-What to Choose has tested several textile materials in the laboratory according to two study criteria: particle filtration and breathability. “The filtration and breathability measurements were carried out nine times, and after ten washes “, specifies the association on its site.
Pique knit or polyester satin to be preferred
As a result, not all fabrics are created equal. Although they filter particles the best, jersey masks (T-shirts) interfere with breathing too much. Same story for cotton poplin, Japanese fabric or even denim, which have the same drawbacks. “Clearly, if some fabrics offer more or less good filtration, this is not the case for breathability, and vice versa”, can we read on the site UFC-Que Choisir. The materials which filter the best without interfering with breathing, even after ten washes, are polo-type pique knits and polyester satin.
Add a tissue for more efficiency
To optimize particle filtration, the association recommends making a third layer using an unfolded tissue. “If you are in doubt as to the fabric you are using for your masks, all you have to do is provide a space between the two layers to slip a handkerchief in to obtain sufficient protection, easily available and inexpensive”, she concludes. Only downside: it must be replaced regularly because the cellulose wadding contained in the handkerchief is sensitive to humidity.
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