Wearing face masks and coverings is recommended, or in some places mandatory, in public spaces to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
But what kind of DIY face covering offers the best protection?
Researchers at Florida Atlantic University have experimented with different materials and styles of non-medical masks and found that a well-fitted stitched mask made from two layers of quilting fabric was the most effective in stopping the spread of droplets from emulated coughs and sneezes.
They also compared a loosely folded homemade face mask, such as one you could make with a handkerchief or T-shirt, a bandana-style face covering and a cone-style non-sterile commercial mask that is usually available at pharmacies.
The researchers said they chose to test these styles of face covering because they are readily available to the general public and do not draw away from the supply of medical-grade masks and respirators for health care workers.
“While there are a few prior studies on the effectiveness of medical-grade equipment, we don’t have a lot of information about the cloth-based coverings that are most accessible to us at present,” said Siddhartha Verma, an assistant professor at the department of ocean and mechanical engineering at Florida Atlantic University and author of the study.