The Ministry of Health (MOH) is recommending that members of the public wear face masks with better filtration capability as local cases of COVID-19 increase.
Silk Versus Other Fabric (Cotton, Polyester) Masks
A recent update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found new data that suggests two different fabrics may have a leg up on cotton when it comes to filtration.
Polypropylene — a plastic material used in many disposable surgical masks — and silk. But unlike polypropylene, silk “may help repel moist droplets and reduce fabric wetting” while also being comfortable and breathable.
A study published in PLoS One in November found that silk coverings work just as well as surgical masks while being much nicer to wear. “Silk face coverings repelled droplets in spray tests as well as disposable single-use surgical masks,” researchers shared. They also noted that silk masks “can be more breathable” than cotton, which may trap moisture and humidity.
According to CDC, there are 2 ways to layer:
- Use a cloth mask that has multiple layers of fabric.
- Wear a disposable mask underneath a cloth mask.
- The cloth mask should push the edges of the disposable mask against your face.
Make sure you can see and breathe easily.
Which kind of face masks with filtration should I buy?
2 Layer Silk Face Mask with Filtration Insert
At June Silk, we use 100% Mulberry Silk which is Grade 6A (the highest possible grade) and 22 Momme (a medium weight) to make our 2 Layer Silk Face Mask. Smooth and brilliantly shiny, our mask cleverly hides an extra filter in the folds of its interior lining. Each mask comes with a complimentary PM2.5 filter and features adjustable elastic ear loops and nose clip.
3 Layer Silk Face Mask with Filtration Insert
Our 3 Layer Silk Face Mask offers the same breathability and comfort as a 2 Layer Mask thanks to the lightweight property of silk while offering more protection. It also comes with an internal pocket to insert a filter and adjustable elastic ear loops and nose clip.
Every Face Mask Has a Pocket for PM 2.5 Filtration Insert
Our PM 2.5 5-layered activated carbon filter can effectively block airborne contaminants, offering extra protection to you and those around you:
- Industrial pollution
- Vehicle emission
The PM2.5 filter longevity will depend on, of course, how much it is used and the intensity of particulate matter in the environment it is used. In a highly polluted city, or during forest fire haze, it will probably last 3-4 uses due to the higher concentrations of particulate matter.
With respect to our PM2.5 filters, it is recommended that the filter be replaced after a maximum of 12 hours of use. For instance, if you use the filter continuously at work for 8-12 hours in a day, it is recommended that you replace the filter after each single use. If you use the filter occasionally for 1-2 hours at a time, you may be able to reuse the filter more than once, up to a maximum of 12 hours. Another useful rule of thumb is to replace whenever inhalation resistance increases – when it becomes harder to draw a breath, even if the 12-hour maximum use time has not elapsed. This will be especially true in environments with high particulate matter in the air.
How to Care for Silk Masks?
- How to Wash and Dry: Traditionally, silk is hand wash and dry clean only. However, June Silk Face Masks are machine washable. You want to make sure to wash silk in cold water, and this can be done by hand or in a washing machine on a delicate cycle. You can hang your silk to dry; it doesn’t take too long at all since the fabric is quite lightweight. If you want to restore the sheen, a cool-warm iron will bring it right back to life.
- Only Use a PH Neutral Detergent: Because silk is a natural fiber, washing silk fabrics in a detergent that is too acidic or that consists alkaline will cause the delicate fibers of silk to harden. This will help maintain the integrity of the fabric with every wash.
- Use a Fine Mesh Wash Bag: Investing in a laundry wash bag will certainly help to keep your silk items from tearing, especially if you use a washing machine that has an agitator mechanism. The light fabric of silk can sometimes get caught underneath the agitator causing it to tear and pull. These agitators can also have tiny cuts in the plastic caused by other laundry items such as zippers of buttons. Wash bags will help to keep your item from getting caught. For best results we recommend a fine mesh wash bag.
- Do Not Wash In Hot Water: High temperatures above 85°F (30°C) can damage silk significantly. It is best to wash all silk products in cold water.
To sum up…
When compared to cotton and polyester, silk is most effective at preventing small aerosol droplets from penetrating masks in a laboratory setting — including respiratory droplets that carry Covid-19 and are released when a person infected with the virus sneezes, coughs or talks. Silk is also very smooth, breathable, and soft, so the chances of irritation and overheating are reduced. It’s also moisture repellent. This last quality is the property that makes it a more comfortable choice as a face mask instead of cotton, which traps moisture inside.
June Silk offers the most affordable high quality silk face masks with good filtration capabilities starting from $18.