Are CLOTH MASKS effective? How to wash CLOTH MASK?

With masks becoming a part of our daily routine, CLOTH MASKS have given this trend a Very important flavour of fashion and colour to this protection.
But the question which many might wonder is – ARE CLOTH MASKS AS EFFECTIVE AS A SURGICAL OR N95 MASK?
Are CLOTH MASKS effective? How to wash CLOTH MASK

Purpose of mask-

Are CLOTH MASKS effective? How to wash CLOTH MASK

We humans tend to release droplets into air not just when we cough or sneez, but also when we speak or even when we breathe heavily. These droplets contains our saliva along with bacterias and viruses. 
Remember, that corona virus spreads in form of droplets. These droplets remain suspended in air for quite some time. 

The purpose of mask is to prevent these droplets from getting into the air and surrounding. 
They also prevent bacterias and viruses suspended in the air from entering our nose or mouth.

Hence, masks protect not just the person wearing them but also others (an infected person may not always be symptomatic)

What determines the efficacy of a mask is the pore size in between its threads and the manner of using the maskN95 MASK is the most effective mask. Its name means it can block at least 95% of tiny particles – 0.3 microns.

MASKS are just like seive.

The less the size of pores in the seive, More is the filtering capacity of mask 

But always remember your way of wearing mask is more effective than your type of mask


Cloth masks provide a very safe and cheap alternative for protection provided by surgical masks. The best part about cloth masks is that they can be home made and come with variety of designs and colours. Plus they are easy to make and hence can be used to cope up with the difference in mask demand and supply in the market.
Are CLOTH MASKS effective? How to wash CLOTH MASK
Various research studies have been conducted which show that CLOTH MASK can provide similar protection against COVID-19 as N95 masks.


while buying or making a cloth mask, make sure you keep following points in mind

  • The density of thread used in the cloth play an important role in their efficacy of filteration.
  • Combination of atleast 3 DIFFERENT cloth materials together in mask increases the filtration efficacy of a mask. 

Researchers at University of Chicago found the fabrics used in household clothings offer atleast 40% blocking of droplets when used as single layer. On combining 2 layers this efficacy rises to 98%. Substituting the chiffon with natural silk or flannel—or using a cotton quilt with cotton-polyester batting—produced similar results.

CDC has given various ways on how to make your own cloth mask.

Materials for Cloth Mask

For the sake of comfort while wearing a cloth mask, WHO recommends using the following materials for various layers of cloth mask-

INNER LAYER – absorbent material – COTTON

This will help absorb the sweat and oils from your skin. Making it more comfortable during use

MIDDLE LAYER – non-woven non-absorbent material – POLYPROPYLENE

OUTER LAYER – non-absorbent material – POLYESTER or POLYESTER BLEND

These layers will help repel the water from your mask and help it stay usefull longer.  


Are CLOTH MASKS effective? How to wash CLOTH MASK

You might have come across masks containing small valves/respirators on masks. These are sold by shopkeepers boosting that these are more breathable than the masks not conatining these valves.

According to recent reports, the valves on these masks, push the virus excreted by an infected individual out through the valve; thereby making other people around at risk. Hence they fail in the purpose of mask of protecting one and all. 

Recently the Government of India issued notice against use of masks containing VALVES/RESPIRATORS

Even CDC (Centre for disease control) does not recommend use of masks or cloth masks for source control if they have an exhalation valve or vent. 


WHO recommends an easy way to wah cloth masks at home-

Wash in soap or detergent and preferably hot water (atleast 60 degree celcius)
CDC recommends the following way of washing a cloth mask-

For machine wash-

Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the mask.

For washing by hand-

  • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
  • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) household bleach per gallon of room temperature water 
    • OR 4 teaspoons household bleach per quart of room temperature water
    • Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection. Some bleach products, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing, may not be suitable for disinfection. 
    • Ensure the bleach product is not past its expiration date.
    • Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
  • Soak the mask in the bleach solution for 5 minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly with cool or room temperature water.
Always remember-
Are CLOTH MASKS effective? How to wash CLOTH MASK?

For more information about Masks and all related myths check out-


CLOTH MASKS with atleast 3 different layers of cloth, without valves can provide enough protection to protect against corona virus.

That’s all for this topic !!

SUBSCRIBE for more upcoming myths to be busted.

If you have any myth or doubt, and want a proper explaination for that, feel free to mention it in the comment section below !




Connect with us on social media platforms!


  1. CDC –

  5. CDC –
  6. Efficacy and Use of Cloth Masks: A Scoping REVIEW by Mehr Jain et al. Cureus. 2020.
  7. Effectiveness of Cloth Masks for Protection Against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus by Abrar A Chughtai et al. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 Oct.
  8. Cloth face masks to prevent Covid-19 and other respiratory infections [Article in Spanish, Portuguese, En] by Magda Milleyde de Sousa Lima et al. Rev Lat Am Enfermagem. 2020.
  9. Ability of fabric face mask materials to filter ultrafine particles at coughing velocity by Eugenia O’Kelly et al. BMJ Open. 2020.
  10. Viral Filtration Efficiency of Fabric Masks Compared with Surgical and N95 Masks by Harriet Whiley et al. Pathogens. 2020.

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)