Making the most of homemade masks

Local News

(NBC News)  Amid a shortage of commercial facemasks, Americans are getting crafty.   Many are making their own.

You can make masks from materials found around your home, but experts say some fabrics are better than others.

“The best guide we can give is to use heavier weight, what they call quilting cotton,” said Dr. Scott Segal of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.  

Doctors at Wake forest tested various materials to see which were most effective at filtering particles.

A surgical mask filters about 65 percent of particles, and as the name implies, an N95 mask filters 95 percent.

“We had masks that trapped less than 20 percent of the small particles that we tested and we had masks that trap 75 or even 79 percent of the particles,” Dr. Segal said.

Flannel-like fabrics and dense t-shirt material performed better, while some, such as a single-layered scarf or bandanna, were as low as one percent.

Multiple layers are better than one, and adding a coffee filter can help too, but officials warn cloth masks are not a replacement for social distancing

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