You know those thick, blue shop towels that people like mechanics use? Turns out, those may be a better fabric to use for homemade masks than cotton fabric.
Three clothing designers got together, and tested dozens of different fabrics to see which ones would be better at filtering out particles.
We spent a few days researching and brainstorming any material that could filter: coffee filters, batting, window shades, Swiffer, interfacing, etc., all the way to more technical materials that are available to specialized industrial sectors like aviation, oil refinery, medical fieldsChloe Schempf to Business Insider
The cotton was HIGHLY permeable. This means we can breathe when wearing cotton masks, but they may not be as effective as we need them to be to protect us from the virus.
When tested, the cotton only blocked out 20% to 60% of particles.
Vacuum filters worked REALLY well, but you could hardly breathe at all when wearing a mask that contained these filters.
Breathing is still pretty important.
What the designers found, however, was that those thick blue shop towels, when doubled, and sewn into a tight-fitting mask, blocked out 95% of particles.
You could also breathe through them!
This affirms that SOMETHING is better than NOTHING, but cotton, by itself, is probably not the best choice for a face mask when given an option.
Those blue shop towels, though, may be the best choice yet!
The three designers who ran the tests on the fabrics, are trying to raise money to test the blue shop towels against the virus, itself.
If they, in fact work, these Blue Shop Towels may become the next answer to helping protect medical personnel and people — like you and me — from the virus.