About Our Mask
Using handmade fabric masks to help fight off a worldwide pandemic is something that has never been done on mass scale before. As a community we need to make sure we reserve N95 masks for people dealing directly with COVID-19 to help protect our front-line workers. The next best option for the general public is to use a purpose-made reusable cloth mask.
Fortunately some clever folks from the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory recognised the need to research the filtration efficiency of common readily available fabrics and conducted a preliminary study published in ACS Nano.
Of the fabrics tested they found 1 layer of cotton combined with 2 layers of polyester-based chiffon provided the highest rate of filter efficiency (95% - 99.4%). The cotton provided mechanical filtration of larger particles and the 2 layers of chiffon provided electrostatic filtration for smaller particles.
Our masks follow these study results and are comprised of 4 layers: 1 cotton outer layer, 2 chiffon inner layers and an additional cotton or cotton/linen outer layer (as it is more durable than a chiffon outer layer).
The study also found that a close, snug fitting mask is critical for the mask to be efficient. Any gaps between your face and the mask can significantly reduce the effectiveness of your mask. An N95 mask tested with no gap had filtration efficiency of 70% - 100%, whilst an N95 mask tested with a gap dropped to 9% - 49% efficiency.
In light of this, we have chosen to use the Hybrid Mask pattern designed by Iris Luckhaus. This pattern provides a close, snug fit by combining the best elements from the three-pleat mask, drawstring mask, shape mask and pouch mask. The backwards pleat at the top forms the nose peak which allows the mask to hug your nose and cheeks without the need for a wire. The drawstring allows you to shape the mask to your face, covering the sides of your face and across your chin. The front pleats provide ventilation and movement to allow you to talk without the mask moving around. As a bonus the mask is also comfortable to wear! We are honoured to have been granted official rights to use this pattern for our masks (License Number 002a, 002b).
This is a new and emerging field and as research progresses we look forward to learning more about how we can continue to create the best possible reusable cloth mask to help keep everyone safe.