This Popular Face Mask Isn’t as Effective as You Thought, Study Finds

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<p>As COVID-19 numbers begin to surge in areas around the country, public health officials keep coming back to one simple mandate to keep the virus from spreading: <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Wear a face mask</a> when social distancing isn’t possible. And while making a homemade one for yourself is still an <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>incredibly effective way</a> to keep COVID-19 at bay, not all DIY face masks are created equal. So, <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>what sort of fabric</a> should you avoid? Well, according to a recent study, you should <strong>steer clear of bandanas</strong> if you want to keep yourself and others safe from the coronavirus.</p>
<p>A new study from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) compared different materials from around the house that could potentially be used to make a <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>homemade non-medical cloth face covering</a>. The research found that uncovered coughs sent droplets traveling more than eight feet, three feet when <a href=”″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>covered by a bandana</a>, eight inches with a cone-style mask, and two and a half inches with a properly fitted two-layer quilted cotton fabric mask, making that the most effective of the fabrics tested.</p>
<p>”Loosely folded face masks and bandana-style coverings provide minimal stopping-capability for the smallest aerosolized respiratory droplets,” the FAU scientists concluded.</p>
<p>The research also determined that a higher thread count by itself is not more effective against COVID-19. In the FAU experiment, the bandana had the highest thread count, but was the least effective.</p>
<p><img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-221828″ src=”″ alt=”man wears bandana over nose and mouth” width=”1200″ height=”800″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ /></p>
<p>Researchers said they undertook the study to better understand the types of face covering materials that may be available—or ultimately resource-friendly—for most people. “While there are a few prior studies on the effectiveness of medical-grade equipment, we don’t have a lot of information about the <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>cloth-based coverings</a> that are most accessible to us at present,” <strong>Siddhartha Verma</strong>, study author and assistant professor at the Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering at FAU, told CNN.</p>
<p>Similar research has found that while the type of material is important in determining the effectiveness of a face mask, a <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>tight fit can be crucial</a> to ensuring it works properly. One recent study published in the journal <em>ACS Nano</em> found that “the effect of gaps between the contour of the face and the mask, as caused by an improper fit, will <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>affect the efficiency of any face mask</a>.”</p>
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<p>Ultimately, experts say that using a well-made DIY mask is a good way to keep yourself safe while making sure <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>medical-grade supplies</a> make their way to the healthcare workers who need them the most—as long as it’s not a bandana, of course. And if you want to know how to keep your PPE nice and clean, check out how <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Doing This to Your Face Mask Kills 99.9 Percent of All Germs</a>.</p>

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