Filter Test – Don’t Use Home-Made Face Masks: Fact Check

Image about Filter Test - Don't Use Home-Made Face Masks
Filter Test - Don't Use Home-Made Face Masks


Don’t Use Home-made Masks:
Watch N95 vs. Surgical vs. Cloth Face Mask Test

Fact Check:

A vide is doing rounds online alleging to show a filter test of various face masks like home-made cloth material, N95 and Surgical masks. Using a spray deodorant, a person appears to show only N95 and surgical masks are good at filtering and not home-made ones. So, they say don’t use home-made masks amid Coronavirus transmission. No, the claims as such are not true and explained here.

About the Video

In the video, a man claims to show a simple filter test of various masks simulating a sneeze with a spray deodorant. He shows the spray test over Face mask with double filter paper, cloth mask, filter from a bag, single ply common filter, single ply filter cloth. In all the cases, the spray visibly passes through the masks. But in case of surgical mask (regulatory mask) and regulatory N95 mask, it does not pass through – suggesting N95 and surgical masks are better than home-made cloth Face masks. The man says if a person with COVID-19 sneezes, the home-made masks do not protect from the virus transmission. So, he concludes not to use home-made masks amid the Coronavirus crisis.

Don’t Use Home-Made Masks?

Like suggested in the filter test with spray, amid social distancing during Coronavirus pandemic, it is not likely people will get so close and sneeze/cough from an infected person shall pass through another person’s mask with such pressure. The pressure with which the person in the video is releasing the spray also plays a role in how much it is passing through a given type of mask. Moreover, the cloth face mask used in the video is a thin, single layered one, while CDC recommends a double layered. Note, one viewer commented he tried the same with a double layer cotton quilted fabric and it worked better than what is shown in the video.

After Coronavirus spread wide, US government came up with guidelines to use face masks, which can also be made at home. CDC recommended Americans to wear cloth face coverings (masks) in public places, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. CDC recommended the additional, voluntary public health measure after study found under the right conditions, liquid droplets from sneezes, coughs and just exhaling can travel more than 26 feet and linger in the air for minutes. It also recommended the surgical masks or N-95 respirators are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.

CDC in fact suggested using two layers of tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets. Dr. Scott Segal, chair of Anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, North Carolina studied which fabrics would work best as face masks. He suggested use of relatively high-quality cloth with a denser weave of thicker material through which light does not pass through so much.


So, the claims in the video suggesting home-made masks are not effective and saying not to use them are not true. On the other hand, it is important to note only using face mask will not give protection from Coronavirus transmission or infection. Other factors like social distancing, maintaining good hygiene including regular hand wash are also important. Remember, you should not touch the outside area of the mask – and wash your hands in case you do so.

Hoax or Fact:


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