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  • Writer's pictureDerek

Disposable vs Fabric Face Masks

This is the world we live in. No longer can we show our whole face in public. Literally. This is what Covid has done to the human race. At least for the foreseeable future.

Now that masks are compulsory in some places and strongly recommended in most others, what are our options? There are two: disposable and fabric.

Disposable masks are just like the ones used in hospitals, except that there is an elastic loop that goes around your ears, rather than a tie that you have to do up at the back. They are single-use, and costs somewhere around $1-2 each (they are cheaper if you buy in bulk, obviously). They are uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time- both on your face, and also behind your ears. They can also be very flimsy, and break easily, especially if you need to take them off briefly to eat, drink, etc.

Fabric masks are reusable. They should be at least 3 layers, and they need to be washed after each use. Apparently in hot water and then air dried. They are more expensive to start with, but their costs decrease as you wear them on more occasions. We are planning on making our own, but right now, we're buying stuff that others have made.

Both types of masks can be hard to get, especially as demand continues to increase. Many consumer brands are now starting to make cloth masks, but most are on backorder.

Recently, I bought a box of ten reusable masks from our local pharmacy. They are good for 30 washes apparently, due to an antimicrobial coating on them. But do you really believe in this coating? And who's going to keep tabs on how many washes right? These masks do work out to be significantly cheaper than disposable masks. Are they comfortable? Initially they are. They do feel like you're wearing a bra or a pair of undies on your face. There is no metal thing on the top that you can shape to your nose, but they still seem to fit ok. They do, however, feel more claustrophobic than the disposable surgical masks though. Every time you breathe, the mask gets sucked into your face. I don't know if I could wear these for 10 or 12 hours. I've done this with the disposable ones and have managed. Time will tell.

But the bottom line is, we all need to wear masks. All the time when we're in close proximity to other humans. So which one will you choose?

Stay safe,


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