In a new test performed at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, researchers found that the type of cloth used to make a homemade face mask can make a difference in its effectiveness.
Researchers analyzed 13 different designs from about 400 homemade face masks made by volunteers. They used particle filtration testing to look at how well these masks helped remove particles that were the size of many viruses and bacteria. They compared the results to how well surgical face masks and N95 respirators worked.
The worst-performing masks in the test were single- or double-layer masks made out of lightweight cotton material.
The best-performing masks were made of double-layer heavyweight quilter's cotton with a 180 thread count or greater and those made with fabrics with thick thread and a tight weave, such as batik.