Face mask Fact vs Fiction

We’ve all seen the Facebook, Twitter, YouTube… posts about making face masks to help out the local hospital/nursing home/first responders…

Ya, you know the ones I’m talking about.

Well, when you get right down to the nitty gritty of it, wouldn’t you like to know that if you’re doing this project, you’re doing it in a way that is actually beneficial rather than just superficial “feel good” effort?

Enter Suay Sew Shop of Los Angeles and Dr. Chris Martenson, PhD Pathology.

The owners of Suay Sew Shop laid out $1400.00 of their own money to buy a device to test the effectiveness of a wide variety of fabrics in removing particulates from air that passes through them.

Those of you who have been following the various online demonstrations of how to make cute masks from cotton quilting fabric and/or fleece may want to skip the rest of this post. Just sayin’.

Think about this for a moment: What kind of fabric do we want for hot weather?



Because it’s very breathable.

Breathable is wonderful for summer clothes, but terrible for a mask that you are hoping will help keep you well.

Back to the Suay Sew Shop… and Dr. Martenson comes into the picture with his sharing of their test results in this YouTube video.


In the first 30+ minutes he discusses a variety of theories and treatment options but at 31:14 he begins his discussion of masks.

While the rest of it is certainly very interesting and worth knowing, it’s that part from 31:14 on that relates to this blog post.

In a nutshell for those who don’t want to take the time to watch 8 minutes of video, those cute cotton/flannel face masks only catch somewhere between 20% and 60% of the particulates at 0.3 microns.

For reference, the recommended N-95 masks trap 95% of the particulates at 0.3 microns.

BUT, there is a way to improve those cute masks and bring them up to 93%.

Interested? I thought so.

The answer is to add 2 layers of one of two VERY SPECIFIC shop towels to the cute cotton mask, and make some adjustments to the pattern you’re using.

The specific shop towels you need are made by both ZEP and ToolBox. Scott also makes a blue shop towel, but it didn’t perform as well.

Additionally, the patterns being circulated do not fit well, allowing both air and particulates to enter around the sides and nose, particularly.

Suay is working on producing a pattern that includes a metal strip over the nose for better fit. They hope to have it available next week.

You can keep track of it with their Go Fund Me Page. https://www.gofundme.com/f/mask-response-at-suay where they’re trying to raise funds for materials to make masks for donation and to be able to pay their employees since they ARE donating, not selling, the masks.

If you have found this information helpful, please click the “like” button and share a link with your friends.

Comments are also welcome below.

One thought on “Face mask Fact vs Fiction

  1. Pingback: Another Look At COVID-19 & Masks | My Musings on Many Things

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