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Masks for Curbing – SARS-CoV2 Coronavirus

Masks for Curbing – SARS-CoV2 Coronavirus

COVID-19 virus spreads easily from person to person contact. Virus carrying droplets dry fast enough to form droplet nuclei and remain airborne eventually landing on different surfaces.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been detected in aerosols for up to three hours and on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to three days. (N.Engl J.Med. 2020).

Why Wear a Mask?

Masks lower the chances of coronavirus entering the respiratory system through droplets still in the air from an infected person. Reducing the chances of inhaling the virus by wearing a protective mask that is cleaned thoroughly using a combination of approaches that use Heat, UV light, water, soap and alcohol, will be vital to stopping its spread.

World Health Oragnization (WHO)  – Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.

Types of Masks

  • Surgical Masks: These are the ones which are slightly loose-fitted around the mouth and protect a person against large splashes of droplets, water, sprays and are used at medical facilities.
  • N95 Masks: These respiratory masks are widely being used right now to lessen the spread of coronavirus.  These are slightly more tight-fitted.
  • Activated Carbon Masks: These contain an activated carbon filter, which helps collect and filter out pollutants and germs and breathe in purer air.
  • Cloth and Sponge Masks: Faced with mask shortage, many are turning to homemade masks made of different fabrics.
    • DISPOSABLE MASK – Bought from store – can be used only once.
    • HOME MADE –  make at Home re-usable mask.

Key Differences between Disposable and Homemade Cotton Masks

Properties Disposable (Surgical Mask) Homemade (Cotton) Mask
Use Single Use Multiple use
Effectiveness against virus Particles ~97% ~70%
Washing and Cleaning Should NEVER be washed as it damages filtration and protection ability Can be reused easily after washing
Availability Medical store stocks of such masks are likely to be depleted Can be easily made at home with available cotton materials.
Disposal Must be disposed after one use in a closed bag with household waste to prevent virus from travel Can be easily cleaned after use with ingredients available at home.


Before using the handmade mask remember:

  1. Thoroughly was and clean the mask before wearing it.
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly before wearing the mask.
  3. As soon as the mask becomes damp or humid, switch to another mask and clean the used mask.
  4. Never reuse a mask after single use without cleaning it.
  5. Do not touch the front or any other surface of the mask, remove it only with strings behind.
  6. For string mask, always untie the string below and then the string above.
  7. After removal, immediately clean your hands with 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizer or with soap and water for 40 seconds.
  8. Drop it directly into a soap solution or boiling water to which salt has been added.


  • Homemade reusable mask only reduce the chances of inhaling droplets still in the air from in infected person.  They do not give full protection.
  • Homemade reusable masks must be washed and heated each day.  Reuse without washing should NOT be done.
  • Disposable masks should not be washed and re-used. They must be disposed according to instructions.
  • Remember to wash your hands frequently with soap for 20 seconds.