(AscendHealthy.com) – No matter how religious you’ve been about wearing face masks when you go out in public, you might not be doing all you can to protect yourself and those around you. Multiple cotton layers are more effective in trapping airborne particles than single-layer masks, but you might be able to take coverage even a step further by adding one more fabric.
The Best Fabrics for the Job
Depending on the material, a single layer of cloth over the face, such as a simple scarf or an unfolded bandana, will filter out 10% to 40% of the microbes you exhale. So, which fabrics are best at stopping the spread of microbes? A study recently released in ACS Nano compared numerous different fabrics to determine what was most effective against different sizes of particles.
Researchers found cotton quilt was the most effective material on its own in blocking out smaller particles, followed by flannel and chiffon. Satin was also effective against larger particles, but it was nearly as difficult to breathe through as a tight-fitting N95 mask — which may be taxing on the body. The cotton quilt and flannel felt similar to breathing through a surgical mask.
All of the fabrics, regardless of the resistance they added to breathing, were only partially effective on their own in containing smaller particles.
Try These Two Fabrics Together
Multiple layers can make a mask more effective, but the more layers you use, the more difficult it is to breathe through. That means it’s important to make every layer of fabric count. Scientists at the American Chemical Society looked at numerous cloth combinations to find the best. They found that a single layer of cotton along with two layers of polyester-spandex chiffon could offer a similar level of protection as an N95 mask. Natural silk and flannel are both suitable alternatives to chiffon.
The researchers explain that different types of fabrics work differently to block out particles. Cotton and other tightly woven fabrics physically prevent particles of various sizes from passing through. Materials prone to static, like silk and chiffon, trap potential pathogens using an electrostatic charge. A combination of both types of barriers might be superior to one on its own. Researchers stress the importance of a good fit — a mere 1% gap could render even the best combination of fabrics less than half as effective.
Wearing an effective face mask could be one of the most important steps you take in keeping that curve flattened. Remember, you can spread disease even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms, so it’s important not to assume you’re well just because you feel healthy. Consider mixing up the fabrics in your mask to add to your protection and do the most you possibly can to keep this pandemic contained.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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