User Review( votes)
A face mask can be useful in many situations, for example, for allergy sufferers in the hay fever season or in the manufacture of personal care and cleaning products that use heavily dusting ingredients.
Can also reduce the risk of droplet infection in the corona pandemic.
A self-sewn, washable face mask can be tailored to personal needs and can be reused – much better than standard disposable protective masks that cause unnecessary waste.
Face mask – when is it useful?
A simple face mask also called a surgical mask, is not a silver bullet against infections. It consists of a single or multi-layer fabric or fleece layer and fulfills two functions in particular:
- It prevents droplets from the carrier from flying through the air – when speaking, coughing, and sneezing unprotected, they can be spread within a radius of up to one meter. The protection is less for the wearer of the face mask, but for the people in the immediate vicinity.
- It also prevents touching the mouth and nose with potentially contaminated hands. A face mask can thus reduce the risk of pathogens entering the body through the mucous membranes .
Depending on the tightness and accuracy of fit, the mask can also have a supporting effect:
- As dust protection, for example, in the manufacture of solid shampoo and shower bars when heavily dusting, respiratory irritant surfactants are used or when cleaning when a lot of dust is whirled up. However, since a simple face mask is not completely tight around the edges and the fabric lets through the finest particles, a small part of the dust still penetrates through the mask.
- As protection against pollen and other allergy carriers such as animal hair. Again, the face mask significantly reduces the burden, but cannot offer complete protection. Allergens can also have an effect on the mucous membranes of the eyes and the skin, so that the effects are very different on an individual basis.
- Against viruses and bacteria: However, 100% of protection against pathogens is not guaranteed! The face mask only reduces the number of pathogens that reach the mouth and nose.
The face mask’s effect, in particular, to reduce the risk of infection for the wearer and the other person, is only given if it is worn for a maximum of two hours and is not dampened by the air we breathe by coughing and sneezing. Even after removing the face mask, it is advisable not to put it on again, but to use a fresh one. A used disposable face mask should be disposed of in the residual waste, a self-made breathing mask can be cleaned and disinfected and can, therefore, be reused many times.
A study by the University of Cambridge in 2009 concluded that even simple home textiles such as scarves, T-shirts, or kitchen towels as mouth guards could partially stop particles the size of viruses.
While they are not as effective as medical-surgical masks, they are better than no protection at all. The following applies to all of these protective masks: They hardly protect the wearer from viruses that are suspended in the air in the form of aerosols.
The distribution of larger droplets through coughing, sneezing, or wet pronunciation is effectively avoided, protecting everyone else.
The face mask is not suitable for protecting against gaseous pollutants, for example, against solvents from paints, thinners, or adhesives. There are special respiratory masks available for this purpose.
Sewing mask yourself – this is important
A self-made mouthguard can be used again and again, low costs, and no waste.
For a self-made face mask, note the following:
- For reusability, the material from which the mask is sewn must be washable at least 60 ° C, better 90 ° C, such as cotton from an old shirt, or molton.
- Depending on the thickness of the fabric, two or more layers are recommended. The thicker and denser the material, the greater the likelihood that droplets and pathogens will be stopped. You can test whether the face mask is permeable enough but not too thin by pressing the layers of fabric in front of your nose and mouth. It should be possible to breathe freely. However, if you can see through the layers of fabric, the face mask is probably too thin.
- An intermediate layer of washable nonwoven can optionally be sewn in between two layers of fabric to increase the filtering effect.
- It is best to sew several folds into the face mask so that it bulges in front of the nose, thereby offering more filter areas and sitting more comfortably.
- It is advisable to sew a nasal bow made of flexible wire into the face mask’s top edge so that the fabric edge can be applied as precisely as possible to the nose. This prevents air from flowing in next to the face mask and being inhaled unfiltered. This can consist, for example, of a piece of flower wire or the metal strip of a folder.
- If the mask is to be fastened with rubber bands behind the ears, hot washable rubber is recommended. Alternatively, tie straps can be sewn from the same fabric as the mouthguard itself, which can be tied behind the head.