Its been around two years since the pandemic has begun and we are using masks for protection. During this period we encountered that there are 7200 tons of medical waste mostly disposable masks every day. Although people also using reusable cloth masks. But a question arises that the cloth masks are even effective after use for a year?
Well, there’s not anything to worry about as according to new research from the University of Colorado at Boulder published in the journal ‘Aerosol and Air Quality Research’ says that washing and drying of masks are effective to fight with virus.
According to research, if you are using cloth face masks for a long time then also these masks are effective so don’t throw them away. This would also result in making the masks cheaper and sustainable, said lead author Marina Vance in a press release.
During the beginning of the pandemic, there were disposable masks which are affecting the environment. So the scientists in National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) study how washing and drying effects reusable cloth masks.
Researchers used double-layered squares of cotton face masks for testing with a steel funnel which was used to stimulate breathing. In addition to this, researchers put the cotton masks into real-life conditions like high humidity levels and temperatures, to mimics the impact on the mask from our breathing.
After that, they put the mask through a washing and drying process up to 52 times (the equivalent of a weekly wash for a year) and testing the mask between every 7 cleaning cycles.
During its process, it is noticed that small cotton fibers come apart from many washing and drying cycles but there is not a big effect on its ability to filter particles. The only change that arises in the masks was that it would be difficult to breathe.
But there is a ‘big catch,’ as the shape of each person’s face varies significantly, to filter particles – as well as virus – mask must be a ‘perfect fit.’ Meaning there should be no gap between mask material and the wearer’s face otherwise its effectiveness will decrease substantially.
Along with this research also find that cloth masks alone provide less protection from the virus than surgical masks, KN95s, and N95s.
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