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Face Masks Fabric Finder

Designing effective face masks for good protection from infection is not an easy task. These devices are regulated by the FDA and there are rigorous testing requirements to make sure they are safe and effective. When designing one some important things to keep in mind seem to be*:

  1. Adequate Size & Good Fit to cover the nose and mouth to allow for entry of air only through the mask. A good, snug fit depends on the construction, to make sure there are no gaps at the edges that can allow entry/escape of particles. 

  2. Adequate Filtration to prevent transfer of particles while breathing, this can be accomplished by using multiple layers of closely knitted (or woven) fabrics.

  3. Breathability to allow for easy respiration. Layering breathable fabrics allows for good breathability along with good filtration. 

  4. Protection from microbes might be possible by using antimicrobial fabrics that have a wide spectrum of activity, such as those treated with the Antimicrobial Silver. There are advocates for and against antimicrobial fabrics, this is a choice you have to make. 

  5. Comfort against the skin is important especially with the high humidity condition created by breathing through the mask and the risk of saturation. Using a stay dry, wicking fabric on the inside can move the moisture away from the face would make the mask comfortable to wear.

Holding the mask in place can be accomplished by using elastic ear loops or elastic bands that go around the head which seems to be a more secure method. 

There are a lot of fabrics & combinations that can be used to make a safe & effective face mask; we have tried to condense the most used fabrics in the below collections. If you would like to use a ready-made face mask, please head over to Silver Arch for the X-95 Reusable Masks. Here are some recommendations for the best fabrics to be used in each of the layers

  1. Inner Layer - Stay Dry fabric for wicking away moisture/humidity.
  2. Filter Layer - Thick fabric with entanglements for adequate filtration.
  3. Outer Layer - Hydrophobic fabric that repels water & quick-drying. 
  4. Elastics & Nose Stays

As you can see, it's not a question of, "What is the best fabric combination?", but rather, "What are the best fabric combinations and which will work best for me?" It all depends on the design of the mask and your personal preference. Read more about the 3 Fabrics That Can Be Used To Make A Face Mask in the Wazoodle Doodle Blog for a more in-depth look.

We do recommend you purchase a swatch first, so you can see and feel the fabric before purchasing a larger quantity for your specific application.


Check out this wonderful guide on How to Make Reusable Face Masks by Cuddle Plush