Health officials have proven that a face mask is fastest and easiest way to help stop the spread of coronavirus. For people making their own coverings at home, the biggest question usually is what fabric to use. While some materials may be more comfortable than others, a new study finds most homemade masks are doing the job just fine. Researchers (University of Illinois) say, even when sneezing, a homemade mask can block infectious droplets with as few as one layer.
… The researchers say aerosol particles (tiny droplets) are typically five micrometers in size or smaller. Aerosols are one of the key ways scientists believe COVID-19 is transmitted from one person to another. Larger droplets however, around one millimeter in diameter, can also be expelled as people talk, cough, and sneeze.
… While regular face masks can usually stop these potentially infectious particles, the research team wanted to see how 11 household fabrics do. These included new and used clothing, quilted cloths, bedsheets, and dishcloths. They found that all of the fabrics tested are considerably effective at blocking the 100 nanometer particles carried by high-velocity droplets similar to those that may be released by speaking, coughing and sneezing, even as a single layer. With two or three layers, even the more permeable fabrics, such as T-shirt cloth, achieve droplet-blocking efficiency.