How Many Layers of Cloth Should Your Face Mask Have?

With so many reusable face masks and other face coverings available it can be hard to know if you are buying the right thing, especially when it comes to how many layers your maks should have and what material they should be made of.

Generally the advice it that reusable face masks should have at least two layers of material. With different combinations providing different levels of effectiveness.


The masks we have chosen are made with a double layer of fine knit breathable poly cotton. They also have a pocket that allows you to insert a filter for added peace of mind and protection of yourself and others.

The carbon filters also provide protection against smoke, fumes and other pollution as well as unpleasant smells so you might decide to keep wearing your reusable face mask on public transport even when it is no longer a necessity.

It is, of course, important to make sure that your mask is comfortable to wear and that you can breathe properly through it. Too many layers may restrict breathing to the point where it is not possible to wear the reusable face mask for prolonged periods.

However, masks with a valve that let the air out more easily are not recommended as in general when you are wearing a mask to the shops or when you are travelling on public transport you are doing this to protect others rather than yourself and they visa versa. This is known as source control and prevents water droplets that may contain the virus getting into the air for other people to breathe.

The idea is that if we all wear masks then people who are unknowingly carrying the virus will be less likely to unwittingly pass it to others while they are going about their daily lives. This is particularly important for diseases that can be asymptomatic. This means that the face-covering you are wearing doesn’t need to be the same level of quality or effectiveness as a surgical mask which should be reserved for those who need them.

Making Your Own Face Mask

If you are thinking about making your own face coverings there are plenty of tutorials available online with many different designs from no-sew masks to more complex designs.

There are a number of benefits to making your own masks including making sure you get the perfect fit, choosing your own material so that you have a design that is unique to you, and choosing the type of fabric and the number of layers.

When choosing your material cotton with a high thread count is generally a good choice as it provides a fine filter and can be washed at high temperatures. You could cut up a pillowcase or a t-shirt to make masks or buy the fabric. And if you do a lot of sewing making your own masks is a great way to use up leftover fabric from other projects.

Adding a double layer of chiffon to the cotton has been shown to be highly effective and creates a mask that is pretty much on a par with masks used by medical professionals.


Next Up: How Do Reusable Face Masks Work

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