Face Mask FAQs
Recently, we’ve launched our TUDIA mask project in an effort to help make masks accessible and affordable in a time where they are neither. We’ve gotten a lot of questions in the last week or so- are they reusable? Do they work? How do you know? We’ll answer all of these and more!
Why should people be wearing masks?
On Friday, April 3rd, the president and CDC announced a recommendation to wear face masks while in public places- going back on what was originally suggested. Why is this the case? In may studies across the world, one of the largest factors in the spread of Covid-19 is asymptomatic carriers- or people who don't know that they're infected. Multiple countries that have previously been affected by the virus, such as South Korea, have seen decreased infection rates after the public began to wear masks- having some sort of barrier when in public places is a great way to prevent any further spread. Of course, nothing is more effective than social distancing- make sure you're only leaving the house when you absolutely have to!
Do these masks protect against COVID-19?
No mask can truly protect you from COVID-19. A mask in of itself can only help curb the spread of the virus, both for the wearer and those around them. Wearing a mask will significantly decrease the likelihood of spreading harmful droplets that can contain COVID, but the truth is we all have to practice additional steps to keep ourselves and each other healthy!
Are they re-usable? Can I wash it and use it again?
Unfortunately, no. The best practice for these styles of masks is to dispose immediately after usage. The front of the masks is an electro-static anti-microbial layer. This means that various bacteria and viruses stick to the outside, rather than entering through to your face. Because of this, it is very important not to touch the mask itself when removing it- instead use the ear loops and dispose of it immediately! And, as always, wash your hands after disposal.
Where are our masks coming from? How are we vetting our suppliers?
Like most of our products, we are shipping our masks from a factory in China. Our team in China went to dozens of production centers to research and observe how the masks were made. They are aware that there are a lot of falsely certified masks going around, but our team made sure that both the registration and products are the real deal. All products are rigorously tested and screened before they leave China for our warehouse in Saint Paul, MN.
So- what exactly was our team looking for to make sure the masks work?
For starters, we are shipping masks that exceed a Bacterial Filtration Efficiency score of 95 (BFE 95), the standard for US FDA and EU CE registration. This means that our masks are effective at filtering more than 95% of bacteria per average while testing! Many production centers claim to be US FDA/EU CE BFE 95 registered and falsify their documentation, but our production team made sure that the registration of the facilities we are shipping from are authentic.
But how do we know it's authentic? Put our masks to the test and see for yourself!
How can we tell our masks are good quality from the features of them? What does burning the inner layer of the mask really show? What does that layer do?
Authentic BFE 95 face masks have three distinct layers: An electrostatic outer-layer; a non-woven, filtrating fabric 2nd layer; and a moisture absorbing inner layer.
A non-woven layer is a sign of a functioning mask- but be careful! Non-woven fabric is very similar in both appearance and texture to tissue paper. Many manufacturers and sellers will try to pass off these fake masks for extremely cheap prices- if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. The sure-tell way to tell if the material is authentic non-woven fabric is to hold it to a lighter.
Non-woven material is flame resistant, and when held to a lighter seemingly just melts away in the blink of an eye! No smoke or burning like it would with tissue paper or other knockoff materials.
The inner layer closest to your mouth is moisture-absorbent. When you are wearing the mask, it’s important that the moisture produced from your breath is contained and doesn’t leak into the other layers of the mask. An easy way to tell if the mask is authentic in this regard is to see if it can hold water:
Obviously, if your mask is leaking, it probably isn’t doing its job correctly.
Want to really test our masks? One way to see if a mask is working properly is to try to blow out a flame while wearing it. If your mask is filtering the air properly, you wont be able to extinguish the flame, no matter how hard you blow!
Where do the masks ship from? How long will I be waiting for my order?
All of our orders ship from Saint Paul, Minnesota. We import that masks in from China, so you don’t have to worry about long ship times or customs delays. If we are fully stocked - mask orders should be delivered within 3~5 business days when shipping within the continental US. If we are back-ordered, delivery time may be an additional week. Delivery times vary for international shipments - please expect 2-3 weeks delivery time if you are shipping your order outside the US.
Can I use these masks for my kids?
Most face masks are made in adult sizes and thus, intended for adults. It's important to have a properly fitting mask- if it's too loose, it won't be able to properly filter the air around you! Luckily, we also have FDA registered masks in children's sizes as well. Make sure to check out both sizes to ensure you're getting the maximum protection.
What are the cons of homemade masks or masks without filters?
The obvious advantage of home-made masks is the accessibility. Cloth masks are extremely easy to make; all you really need is some material for attaching the mask to your face and a cloth- bandanna, loose fabric, handkerchiefs- whatever works. In truth, whatever you use will generally work the same way. There’s no filtration (beyond the fabric), so there’s a high chance that harmful bacteria can still get through. Even if it doesn’t, the entire fabric is then holding the harmful bacteria without any sort of barrier, thus making the mask contaminated and potentially dangerous to wear. Obviously, this is still better than nothing. But, when presented with an alternative, a three layered mask with proper filtration is much safer than anything you can make at home!
As of August, 2020, a study conducted at Duke University found that surgical masks (such as ours) are significantly more effective than cloth alternatives. This is for a variety of reasons; most notably, cloth masks can still spread droplets even after catching them, making them rather hazardous for those around you. Surgical masks, however, keep droplets contained to the user and thus are more effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, it should always be remembered that no mask can fully protect you from COVID-19! Always make sure you are washing your hands, social distancing, and wearing a mask when in public spaces.
If you want to pick up some masks today, us the button below to Shop Now!
Stay healthy, and stay safe!