The Surprising Secret Feature Hidden in Your Face Mask

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<p>If you’re like most people, you’ve probably been wearing a face mask every time you’ve left your house in the past two months. Maybe you ordered a <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>homemade mask</a> from Etsy, maybe a friend or family member was kind enough to sew one for you, or maybe you got crafty and created a mask yourself. But as you <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>examine your mask</a> to ensure you’re putting it on the right way each and every day, you probably use one defining feature to tell the inside from the outside: the interior face mask pocket. What you may not know, however, is <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>why that pocket is there</a> in the first place.</p>
<p>The pocket in your face mask is actually intended to house a filter—an added material that helps block out aerosol particles that could carry the COVID-19 contagion. Simply put, “<a href=”″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>filters can boost the effectiveness</a> of DIY face masks,”<strong> Leilani Fraley</strong>, RN, MSN, wrote for Healthline.</p>
<p><img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-228587″ src=”″ alt=”closeup of hands holding face mask and putting something into the pocket” width=”1418″ height=”800″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ /></p>
<p>Ideally, you’d want to invest in a multi-layered <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>HEPA filter</a> (which stands for “high-efficiency particulate air”). According to <span class=”qlink_container”>a recent </span>study out of the Missouri University of Science and Technology, this mat of synthetic fibers can make a huge difference when it comes to your face mask’s functionality. The Missouri University researchers found that a <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>mask made from a bandanna with no filter</a> only blocked about 10 to 20 percent of aerosol particles. But when they added a HEPA filter, the mask <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>blocked 80 to 90 percent of the particles</a>, which is similar to the effectiveness of <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>an N95 mask</a>.</p>
<p>Though you can order <a href=”″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>HEPA filters on Amazon</a>, if that isn’t an option for you, there are a couple of other possible filters you can put in your face mask pocket to stay safe. Research from the air purifier company Smart Air found that a <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>double layer of paper towel</a> can increase your mask’s ability to block out COVID-19 by 33 percent. So try cutting two rectangles of Bounty and sliding it in your face mask pocket. Another option? Coffee filters. The experts at Smart Air found that <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>putting one in your mask’s pocket</a> can help capture 62 percent of particles.</p>
<p>So start figuring our your filtration system, and then you’ll really be using your face mask to the best of its ability. Just make sure you <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>take the filter out of the face mask pocket</a> before you clean your mask. And for more ways to keep your mask clean, check out the <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>7 Face Mask Care Mistakes You’re Making</a>.</p>

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