A study published by UBC researchers at the end of last year has found the most effective fabrics for homemade masks, and the results might surprise. Turns out, the usual fabrics like cotton and polyester don’t work as well as some household alternatives.
The study used a ton of different fabrics, from low-grade polyesters to flannel and even silks. Basically, they were after a high Q factor. In this case, Q more or less translates to how much the fabric can filter out particles, while still allowing for proper airflow to function.
Aerosols expert Dr. Steve Rogak comments on double masking – saying the biggest problem isn’t that the need to make better masks, but that we need everyone to be wearing them, and that we need to consider how a mask fits as well as its filtration.https://t.co/Xad0DIANCz
— UBC Mechanical Engineering (@ubcmech) February 4, 2021
And, there were some interesting results. The study found that dried baby wipes, 2-ply paper towels and a fabric called Halyard worked the best. For reference, Halyard is the fabric dentists often use for setting their tools down.
The researchers noted that dried baby wipes didn’t degrade like the other two when washed, so they’re most likely best for repeat uses. They also said that while these were the best tested, they did not compare to commercially-available surgical masks.
But, a lot of people like their own custom or homemade masks, so it’s good to know what the best materials are! Stay safe out there, folks.