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Fabric Face Mask Science

Cloth face masks are used as an air filter. Fabric porosity testing has been conducted in university science laboratories. The results of the tests provide useful information about the effectiveness of preventing various size particles being transmitted through various fabrics.

Understanding perspective of particle size is important. A one layer fabric mask, made from polyester or cotton, can prevent the transmission of particles from 20 micron diameter and larger. A moisture ladened fabric may prevent transmission to 10 micron diameter and larger.


What is a micron ? There are 25,400 microns per inch.

1/64 inch = 397 microns and 1/25,400 inch = 1 micron

Inhalable Dust is 100 microns diameter and less.

Thoracic Dust is 10 microns and less. Dust that is inhaled and goes into the lungs when breathing normally.

Respriable Dust is 5 microns and less. Dust that is inhaled and goes into the deepest parts of the lungs where gas is exchanged.

Cloth fabric masks may prevent inhaling 10 + micron size particles.

Pollen Spores = 5 to 100 micron diameter. Average 25 t0 40 microns.

Pet Dander = 5 to 100 micron diameter. Average 25 to 40 microns.

Mold and Fungus Spores = 3 to 40 microns diameter

Bacteria = .3 to 60 microns

Atmospheric Dust = 1 to 40 microns

The human eye can see particles 40 microns and larger. If you want to see how many particles are suspended in the air in your house, turn off all the lights, get a bright flash light and look at the suspended particles in the beam of the flashlight. It is amazing how many particles we breath all the time.

Virus Particles = .005 to .3 micron diameter

Influenza Virus Particles = .08 micron diameter

Fabric face mask will reduce the amount of pollen and dust that is inhaled with normal breathing. If you suffer from allergy to indoor dust, pet dander and mold, then wearing a face mask makes perfect sense. Wearing a face mask when using vaccum cleaner on carpeting is a useful application.

Wearing a face mask during the "cedar fever" time in Texas makes sense. Wearing a face mask when allergy particles are high makes sense. Spring pollen allergy symptoms can be reduced by wearing a fabric face mask.

When wearing a fabric face mask, breathing unrestricted is very important for your health. If a fabric mask has multiple layers or a filter in between layers, the mask will not breath easily. Restricted air flow into the lungs and breathing higher concentrations of CO2 can negatively affect your bodily systems. Fabric face masks should be very breathable. This is very important for people that have to wear a mask for many hours.


* Face mask primary function to keep sneeze spray and saliva off of others

* Cloth face masks can prevent the inhalation of pollen and mold spores

* Cloth face masks can reduce the symptoms of pollen and mold allergies

* Cloth face masks should not restrict normal breathing

* Cloth face masks will not stop the inhalation of virus particles

* Cloth face masks help minimize the number of times people touch their face

* Touching the nose and mouth with virus contaminated fingers is not good