11 votes

Mask up! How to choose and maintain the best masks for use against COVID-19 [Updated]

16 comments

  1. [3]
    thomcat
    Link
    I am not being paid for this endorsement, I am just a fan. Bona Fide Masks (as recently as last July) is the only authorized reseller of Powecom KN95's (FDA Approved) in the US. I've been using...

    I am not being paid for this endorsement, I am just a fan.

    Bona Fide Masks (as recently as last July) is the only authorized reseller of Powecom KN95's (FDA Approved) in the US. I've been using them since last July, they seem like the real deal, especially compared to the 60 packs I've purchased through Meh.

    There might be more approved resellers out there now, I apologize if my info is out of date.

    5 votes
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      I can second these masks and this vendor specifically. I have been wearing Powecom KN95s from BFM since I started teaching in person months ago, and they have treated me well -- I have made it...

      I can second these masks and this vendor specifically.

      I have been wearing Powecom KN95s from BFM since I started teaching in person months ago, and they have treated me well -- I have made it through multiple contacts with confirmed and suspected cases without getting COVID myself. I can't attribute that entirely to the mask, as we use other mitigation strategies too, but I feel like the mask is probably a big part of the protection.

      For anyone considering ordering some, I've found that the headband style is much more comfortable for long-term wear than the earloop ones, and I feel like the seal is better. They are a little more annoying to get on and off, especially for something like a quick sip of water though.

      4 votes
    2. eladnarra
      Link Parent
      I bought some of their KN95s to wear for my vaccination appointment, and they seem good! They did hurt my nose a bit, though, so folks who sometimes have issues with wire placement should keep...

      I bought some of their KN95s to wear for my vaccination appointment, and they seem good! They did hurt my nose a bit, though, so folks who sometimes have issues with wire placement should keep that in mind.

      It was also so easy to breathe through compared to cloth masks that I got a bit anxious, but that's just me. :D

      2 votes
  2. [11]
    118point3ml
    Link
    Does anyone know where to get a good pattern for making your own face masks? I have a pattern for the Olson mask and a regular pleated mask. After reading this article I’ll be adding a Pellon...

    Does anyone know where to get a good pattern for making your own face masks? I have a pattern for the Olson mask and a regular pleated mask. After reading this article I’ll be adding a Pellon filter layer to the next ones I make.

    I’d like to make a 3D mask, but the patterns I’ve found don’t allow for enough jaw movement to be able to talk comfortably.

    4 votes
    1. [7]
      Thra11
      Link Parent
      Which patterns have you tried / considered? I used the "Jesse Killion" pattern to make my mask last year and I'm pretty pleased with it. It's a fairly close fit around the edges, but not tight to...

      Which patterns have you tried / considered? I used the "Jesse Killion" pattern to make my mask last year and I'm pretty pleased with it. It's a fairly close fit around the edges, but not tight to your face (your breath goes through the mask rather than round the sides). I've not felt any awkwardness moving my jaw, but I'm aware that I really don't move my jaw much when I speak. Mine is three layers of non-woven fabric, with a nose wire to keep it snug, but I believe you can make it as two outer layers with either a filter layer of your choice sewn in or a pocket for a replaceable filter.

      1 vote
      1. 118point3ml
        Link Parent
        Hi again! I read through the directions for the mask, and peeped at the video at the part where she explains how to fit the mask. Two things I'm excited to have learned: 1) stitching the lining...

        Hi again! I read through the directions for the mask, and peeped at the video at the part where she explains how to fit the mask. Two things I'm excited to have learned: 1) stitching the lining with a slightly wider seam allowance than the outer layer just makes sense for nesting! and 2) both the deeper angle over the checks and having the nose-wire casing slightly inset from the top edge look promising! I'm off to go make one and see how it feels!

        2 votes
      2. [5]
        118point3ml
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I will try this out! Thank you for sharing! Where do you get your fabric? Edit: I should add, although I have only skimmed the pictures, the end result looks quite similar to the Olson masks I’ve...

        I will try this out! Thank you for sharing! Where do you get your fabric?

        Edit: I should add, although I have only skimmed the pictures, the end result looks quite similar to the Olson masks I’ve been making. The problem I’ve had with those, however, is, even with a nose wire, getting them snug enough across the nose and cheeks to keep air from blowing out and fogging my glasses. This one looks different across the top though, so I look forward to trying it out and on!

        1 vote
        1. [4]
          Thra11
          Link Parent
          Yeah, it does look like a fairly similar design. What's your nose wire made of? How flexible / rigid is it?

          Yeah, it does look like a fairly similar design. What's your nose wire made of? How flexible / rigid is it?

          1 vote
          1. [3]
            118point3ml
            Link Parent
            I’ve been using pipe cleaners. What do you use?

            I’ve been using pipe cleaners. What do you use?

            1 vote
            1. [2]
              Thra11
              Link Parent
              I used a piece of galvanized steel fencing wire, because that's what I happened to have lying around. Bent the ends into loops so it can't turn over in its sewn-in pocket. It's stiff enough that...

              I used a piece of galvanized steel fencing wire, because that's what I happened to have lying around. Bent the ends into loops so it can't turn over in its sewn-in pocket. It's stiff enough that it basically doesn't bend unless you're actually trying to bend it, so I spent a few minutes bending it to get a good fit over my nose and it's stayed the same shape ever since (As I remember it, it was a bit too stiff to bend just by pushing it into my face, more of a test fit, remove, adjust, test fit, remove, adjust sort of job).

              1. 118point3ml
                Link Parent
                Ha ha, I feel so gendered in my revelations here: I have pipe cleaners, you have fencing wire; (in a separate topic) I’m making a skirt, another member is rebuilding their forge and the structure...

                Ha ha, I feel so gendered in my revelations here: I have pipe cleaners, you have fencing wire; (in a separate topic) I’m making a skirt, another member is rebuilding their forge and the structure that houses it 🤣 To each their own!
                Thanks again for sharing!

                1 vote
    2. [3]
      maauer
      Link Parent
      in the beginning of the pandemic I tried to make my own masks and cut apart comfortable commercial ones at the seams to use as patterns. I think it would have worked but I never found a comfy...

      in the beginning of the pandemic I tried to make my own masks and cut apart comfortable commercial ones at the seams to use as patterns. I think it would have worked but I never found a comfy fabric. (disclaimer I am horrible with a needle)

      1. [2]
        118point3ml
        Link Parent
        I’ve come across sewing tutorials for other things that suggest this approach—take something that fits you well, fold in half, trace, recreate—but it always seemed insufficiently precise for my...

        I’ve come across sewing tutorials for other things that suggest this approach—take something that fits you well, fold in half, trace, recreate—but it always seemed insufficiently precise for my liking.

        1. Thra11
          Link Parent
          I've done this in the past with a pair of trousers. Wore them until they wore out, then unpicked the seams and ironed the pieces flat. It helped that it wasn't a stretchy fabric, and the holes...

          I've done this in the past with a pair of trousers. Wore them until they wore out, then unpicked the seams and ironed the pieces flat. It helped that it wasn't a stretchy fabric, and the holes made by the seams didn't close up, so I could still see where the darts around the knee had been. For those trousers, it also wouldn't have mattered too much if it wasn't perfectly precise, so long as they were symmetrical and fitted.

  3. pallas
    Link
    For daily situations when I am not too worried about exposure, I wear an FFP2 mask underneath a secure cloth mask, which uses a velcro closure around the back of my head and has a metal nose clip....

    For daily situations when I am not too worried about exposure, I wear an FFP2 mask underneath a secure cloth mask, which uses a velcro closure around the back of my head and has a metal nose clip. While the US sources the article links to have concerns about disposable respirator mask reuse, the concrete studies and concerns they describe seem almost entirely related to degradation of fit quality. With the much heavier straps of the cloth mask securing the respirator underneath, however, this doesn't seem to be nearly as problematic. I am also not sure why a cloth mask, which I have never seen fit particularly well, would be preferable to a rotation of respirators with less-than-perfect fit, unless the concern is that a respirator could give a false sense of security.

    For situations where I am more concerned, I wear a half-mask respirator with FFP2 or P100 filters; in addition to being more secure, these are actually more comfortable than other masks, and for one of the two that I have, which has a speaking diaphragm, actually presents much less of an impediment to speech. Unfortunately, I've found that the appearance of these masks actually poses a significant problem, in that they appear to make others uncomfortable, and often cause unwanted hostility.

    3 votes
  4. jokeyrhyme
    Link

    To that end, we've updated our guide with new insights on double-masking, the best options for double-masking effectively, links to legitimate and regularly-priced N95 masks, and some of the latest information on overall mask studies.

    3 votes