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Open AccessArticle

Reusable Face Masks as Alternative for Disposable Medical Masks: Factors that Affect their Wear-Comfort

1
Institute of Textiles and Clothing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
2
Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6623; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186623
Received: 2 August 2020 / Revised: 2 September 2020 / Accepted: 9 September 2020 / Published: 11 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution & COVID-19 Outbreak)
The coronavirus outbreak that commenced at the end of 2019 has led to a dramatic increase in the demand for face masks. In countries that are experiencing a shortage of face masks as a result of panic buying or inadequate supply, reusable fabric masks have become a popular option, because they are often considered more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than disposable medical masks. Nevertheless, there remains a significant variation in the quality and performance of existing face masks; not all are simultaneously able to provide protection against the extremely contagious virus and be comfortable to wear. This study aims to examine the influential factors that affect the comfort of reusable face masks, but not to assess the antimicrobial or antiviral potential. Seven types of masks were selected in this study and subjected to air and water vapor permeability testing, thermal conductivity testing and a wear trial. The results indicate that washable face masks made of thin layers of knitted fabric with low density and a permeable filter are more breathable. Additionally, masks that contain sufficient highly thermally conductive materials and have good water vapor permeability are often more comfortable to wear as they can transfer heat and moisture from the body quickly, and thus do not easily dampen and deteriorate. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID−19; face mask; mask comfortability; breathability; fabric mask; reusable mask COVID−19; face mask; mask comfortability; breathability; fabric mask; reusable mask
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lee, K.-P.; Yip, J.; Kan, C.-W.; Chiou, J.-C.; Yung, K.-F. Reusable Face Masks as Alternative for Disposable Medical Masks: Factors that Affect their Wear-Comfort. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6623. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186623

AMA Style

Lee K-P, Yip J, Kan C-W, Chiou J-C, Yung K-F. Reusable Face Masks as Alternative for Disposable Medical Masks: Factors that Affect their Wear-Comfort. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(18):6623. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186623

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lee, Ka-Po; Yip, Joanne; Kan, Chi-Wai; Chiou, Jia-Chi; Yung, Ka-Fu. 2020. "Reusable Face Masks as Alternative for Disposable Medical Masks: Factors that Affect their Wear-Comfort" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, no. 18: 6623. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186623

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