What Are The Best Materials for Making DIY Masks?

Best DIY Material for masks

We’ve had numerous requests from people searching for data on even more materials for making face masks. We are striving to give MORE data on MORE materials for DIY masks.

To help with this, we have created a campaign on Fundly.com where you can vote and recommend what materials we should test. Please support this campaign and help us use data-backed science to fight Covid-19!


With masks sold out throughout the coronavirus episode, many individuals will have to use what some researchers have actually called “the last option”: the DIY mask.

Data shows that DIY and homemade masks are effective at capturing viruses. But if forced to make our own mask, what material is best suited to make a mask? As the coronavirus spread around China, netizens reported making masks with tissue paper, kitchen towels, cotton clothing fabrics, and even oranges!

DIY homemade mask against coronavirus made from orange

The Best Material for Making a Homemade DIY Mask

Researchers at Cambridge University examined a variety of household products for homemade masks. To measure effectiveness, they fired Bacillus atrophaeus bacteria (0.93-1.25 microns) and also Bacteriophage MS infection (0.023 microns in size) at different family products.

Particle Sizes - Virus Labelled

They measured what percentage the materials could capture and compared them to the more common surgical mask.

Homemade Mask Virus Effectiveness

Not surprisingly, the surgical mask executed best, catching 97% of the 1-micron microorganisms. Yet every single product strained at the very least 50% of fragments. The top performers were the hoover bag (95%), the dish cloth (” tea towel” in the UK! 83%), the cotton blend t-shirt fabric (74%), and the 100% cotton shirt (69%).

Homemade Masks vs. Viruses

The examination above used bacteria that were 1 micron huge, yet the coronavirus is just 0.1 microns– 10 times smaller. Can homemade masks catch smaller sized infection fragments? To address this question, the researchers tested 0.02 micron Bacteriophage MS2 particles (5 times smaller sized than the coronavirus).

Homemade Mask Materials Particle Capture Effectiveness

On average, the homemade masks caught 7% less infection fragments than the larger microorganisms bits. Nevertheless, every one of the homemade products handled to capture 50% of virus bits or even more (with the exception of the headscarf at 49%).

Are some materials missing from the list?

We are working on more comprehensive tests with more materials. Check out our ‘Best Mask Materials’ Campaign for more info.

Are Two-Layered DIY Masks More Effective?

If the issue is filtration performance, would certainly the masks function much better if we doubled up with two layers of material? The researchers tested virus-size particles versus double-layered versions of the recipe towel, cushion instance, and 100% cotton tee shirt fabrics.

Generally, the double layers didn’t aid a lot. The double-layer pillow case caught 1% even more fragments, and the double-layer t shirt caught simply 2% even more particles. The added dish fabric layer increased efficiency by 14%. That boost made the dish fabric as effective as the medical mask.

Looking at the information, the recipe towel as well as vacuum cleaner bag were the top-performing products. Nonetheless, the researchers didn’t choose these as the very best products for DIY masks:

Instead, they concluded the pillowcase and also the 100% cotton tee shirt are the very best products for DIY masks. Why?

What DIY Mask Materials Are The Most Breathable?

The response depends on breathability. Just how very easy it is to take a breath through your mask is a crucial factor that will certainly impact exactly how comfy it is. As well as convenience isn’t simply a deluxe. Comfort will influence the length of time you can use your mask.

Thankfully, in addition to fragment effectiveness, the researchers checked the pressure decrease throughout each sort of textile. This offers us an excellent indicator of how simple it is to take a breath via each material. As a benchmark, they compared breathability of each DIY mask product to the medical mask.

Homemade DIY Mask Breathability Pressure Drop

Scientists’ Pick for Best-Performing Homemade Mask Material

Based upon fragment capture and breathability, the researchers ended that cotton t-shirts and also pillow situations are the most effective selections for DIY masks.

Best material for making homemade DIY masks out of cotton and pillowcase fabric

Are there any other materials we can use? The Cambridge researchers left out one common material: paper towel. We tested how well paper towel masks capture sub-micron particles.

Making DIY Masks with Household Materials

Bottom line: Test data shows that the very best choices for DIY masks are cotton tee shirts, pillow cases, or other cotton materials.

These products remove about 50% of 0.2 micron fragments, similar in dimension to the coronavirus. They are additionally as easy to breathe with as surgical masks, that makes them comfortable adequate to use for a number of hours.

Increasing the layers of product for your DIY mask gives a very little rise in filtration effectiveness, but makes the mask much more tough to take a breath with.


Here’s What Else You Should Know About DIY Masks

Still not sure if DIY masks truly work? See the real-world test data on the effectiveness of homemade DIY masks.

Some health and wellness authorities claim that masks are only to maintain sick people’s germs in, yet do masks really avoid healthy and balanced individuals from getting infected? Randomized studies say “yes.”

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