Are You Covered?
We have all been thrust into a world where wearing a protective face mask is a requirement of daily life. Even if we are not on the frontlines of healthcare workers, we are all on the front lines of a worldwide Pandemic. In our collective lifetimes, the earth has never come to an abrupt stop as it has with COVID-19. So how do we protect ourselves, and of course others; in particular those who may have a compromised immune system. It seems the earth has given us the opportunity to see we are part of a worldwide family, that can care for one another and protect one another.
There are many masks being produced today, but are they all the same? Does it matter whether you buy a $5 mask from a guy at the corner in LA? T-shirt shops in LA have converted to mask shops and are using their inventory of cotton jersey to produce tens of thousands of masks. Or maybe there is a nice pattern on Etsy that looks attractive with your vibe? If you tie it, two strings, one string? Then there are layers; one, two, three, four, five…what actually are the important elements of wearing a protective face mask? Are you covered?
We, here at KD Mercantile, have spent a great deal of time and concerted effort to produce a face mask that is above all things, doing what it is designed to do. Here’s a link to “Our Story” which can give you a bit into the background of the who and the why behind these masks. Right now I want to turn our attention to the masks and their efficacy in protecting us from virus’, I mean if we are going to wear a face mask, it might as well protect us?
I mean if we are going to wear a face mask, it might as well protect us?
Following the outbreak of the worldwide Pandemic, scientists at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory began to study the efficacy of different fabrics and combinations of fabrics in stoping particles composed of aerosols of sodium chloride. As a control they compared it to the N95 mask.
“The effect of gaps between the contour of the face and the mask as caused by an improper fit will affect the efficiency of any face mask.”
In addition, they also found is that not only high thread count cotton worked well, but having a blown interfacing or silk or chiffon lining created a further barrier that due to a electrostatic charge arrests a virus in its place. They found this combination was able to stop particles very comparable to a N95 mask. The combination of cotton with higher thread count and electrostatic layer exceeded 80% efficiency in the <300 nm range, and >90% in the >300 nm range. The N95 respirators are designed and engineered to capture more than 95% of the particles that are above 300 nm. Wow! Very similar to our masks!
Summary from their research: 1. Fabric with tight weaves and low porosity, such as those found in cotton sheets with high thread count, are preferable. For instance, a 600 TPI cotton performed better than an 80 TPI cotton. Fabrics that are porous should be avoided. 2. Combining layers to form hybrid masks, leveraging mechanical and electrostatic filtering may be an effective approach. 3. It is critically important that cloth mask designs also take into account the quality of this “fit” to minimize leakage of air between the mask and the contours of the face. Such leakage can significantly reduce mask effectiveness.
“T-shirt masks don’t seem to work as well. In a Virginia Tech study, a mask made from a single layer of a cotton T-shirt captured only 20% of particles down to 300 nanometers and 50% of those down to 1,000 nanometers. A Cambridge University study from 2013 found that two layers of T-shirt material can capture around 70% of particles down to 1,000 nanometers.” source
T-shirt masks don’t seem to work as well…
“A recent Nature study found that nearly all viral droplets and some smaller aerosol particles were blocked when infected patients wore a surgical mask. But the new study suggests that a homemade mask could also effectively protect the person wearing it from other germs. But there is one major caveat: The mask has to fit correctly—without any gaps. This is something that can be difficult to achieve for those who don’t know how to sew. The filtration efficiency of a mask can drop 60% if there are gaps in the fit, making your choice of material less meaningful. “If I were making masks, I would place a lot of emphasis on the design of the mask to minimize the gap,” Guha says.” source
“If I were making masks, I would place a lot of emphasis on the design of the mask to minimize the gap,”
Here’s the Takeaway:
1. Mask must fit properly and be adjustable to be effective ✅ Our mask has multiple adjustment points AND a gusseted chin for the perfect fit!
2. Cotton Jersey is ineffective at stopping virus 🦠 sized particulate! Ours gets it done. ✅
3. A third middle layer that carries an electrostatic charge is key 🔑 arrests virus’ in their tracks ✅ Our non-woven polyester interfacing not only gives structure to the mask, but holds a static charge!
4. Masks with stitching down the middle actually break the barrier you are trying to protect 😬! Our mask boasts 3 full pieces sewn on the edges. ✅
5. Bandanas are not really super effective. “They’ve already discovered that “things like bandanas – a common item people might use as a mask – are only effective at stopping the kinds of large droplets emitted when someone sneezes,” Smith says.” source
We are crazy passionate about this mask we have developed. We have put our combined energies into making not only something that is comfortable to wear, looks great, but we can say we got you covered! For sure you can find a cheaper mask, but not one with more ingenuity and thought and honestly a whole lotta love. Get your mask HERE.
Hope to see you out there!
~The KD Mercantile Team