“It doesn’t have to be a mask. It can be a scarf,” Trump said. “What I do see people doing here is using scarves. And I think in a certain way, depending on the fabric, I think in a certain way, a scarf is better, it’s actually better.”

A new study of the best and worst materials for DIY face masks just proved he was absolutely incorrect.

a social enterprise and that promotes cost-effective, data-backed air filters as a solution to indoor particulate air pollution, has released the results of on DIY face mask materials, in which they tested over 30 different materials ― including bra pads, coffee filters, pillow cases, electrostatic cloths, for 河北11选5遗漏made masks.

Keep in mind, however, that paper towels are not washable or reusable.

The 0.4-0.5mm thick canvas material ranked as being easier to breathe through than a surgical mask, while still performing fairly well at filtering particles. But if thick fabrics aren’t available to you, the study’s data showed that 100% cotton T-shirts, layered up, are also still effective options for 河北11选5遗漏made masks. (More on this below.)

In general, natural materials are a better option than synthetic ones. Because synthetic fibers (like polyester) tend to be smooth, they don’t filter out particles as well as the rougher texture of natural fibers (like 100% cotton).

What happens when you use multiple layers of a material?

Many DIY face masks incorporate at least two layers of fabric, and sometimes up to 16 or even 32 layers if you’re making multiple folds. So how does that increase the material’s effectiveness?

Testing in this study was done on one and two layers. Robertson told HuffPost, “Doubling the layers increased 0.3 micron efficiency from 2% to 15%, whilst also reducing breathability. It’s difficult to give an exact ‘formula’ for each material on how doubling layers increases effectiveness, as air resistance plays a major part. We want to work on this though.”

Robertson said Smart Air plans to continue its research and release a third edition of the study with more information on layering the materials.

Best materials for blocking large-size particles

The majority of materials tested in Smart Air’s study blocked more than 50% of 1-micron particles, but some of the worst-scoring materials were the wool scarf, bandana (100% cotton) and light scarf (keep in mind, these were each tested in a single layer ― increasing layers slightly increases how many particles can be blocked).


Best materials for blocking small-size particles

For 0.3-micron particles, Smart Air found “a much wider range in effectiveness.” The N95 mask, HEPA filter and surgical mask performed best, all capturing over 75% of small particles. But in terms of household materials, the best blockers were Hero-brand coffee filters. In the study, only four other materials filtered more than 48% of small particles: the 40D nylon, Chemex coffee filter, kitchen towel and canvas.


According to the study, “some materials were only slightly better than nothing.” The bandana, neck-warmer, scarves, cleaning cloths and 100% cotton T-shirt (one layer) all captured less than 10% of small particles.

No matter what your mask is made of, make sure to wear it responsibly

Whichever material you choose to make your mask from, and no matter how you choose to make it ― for the most updated recommendations.

Face Mask Tutorials

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