Testing Your Reusable Face Masks


Testing Your Reusable Face Masks

Any reusable face mask worth its price tag has been tested. As there are a number of tests a face mask can undergo, here’s the TECMASK guide to demystifying face mask testing.

Bacterial Filtration Efficiency

The Bacterial Filtration Efficiency test determines how effectively the face mask filters out bacteria in the air. A model species will be chosen, usually Staphylococcus aureus, and administered as an aerosol. Delivered at a constant flow rate, the effluent produced from the face mask is compared to the bacterial control count, and this difference gives an indication of the face mask’s efficiency.

A similar test can be used to determine Viral Filtration Efficiency, using a viral specimen rather than a bacteria. Together, the Bacterial and Viral Filtration Efficiency tests show how effective a reusable face mask is in protecting people from the spread of infectious diseases. A high percentage efficiency means the mask is effective at keeping you safe.

Particle Filtration Efficiency

Another type of filtering test uses salt as a proxy for pollutants or other airborne chemicals. Sodium chloride of different particle sizes is passed through the face mask. These particles are at microscopic sizes of less than a micron across, or a millionth of a metre.

This Particle Filtration Efficiency gives an indication of the face mask’s ability to filter out the finest pollutants in the air. While it has a finer filter, it’s not necessary to get a face mask at this level, if you are wearing a face mask to prevent infection rather than in an industrial setting.

Breathing Resistance

Breathing resistance is a measure of how easily the wearer can breathe while wearing the face mask. A lower number means a more easily breathable face mask, which is important if you are looking to buy reusable face masks that are comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

There are two types of breathing resistance to measure: inhalation and exhalation. Particles of sodium chloride can be used again for this test, to measure how particles build up in the outer layers of the face mask over time, and how this affects the ease of breathing.

Splash Resistance

Though it may not be the most intuitive test, face masks can also be tested for splash resistance. This is a rarer test, which may involve testing against liquids such as blood, rather than more common liquids. The liquid is tested at several speeds, as this will affect the extent to which it can penetrate the face mask.

Splash resistance testing is usually reserved for face masks to be used in medical environments. So, if you’re looking to buy reusable face masks against infection, there’s no need to worry if you don’t see a splash resistance certification.

Trust Australian Testing

How masks are tested, or how much you can trust the testing, can vary from country to country. The safest option is to buy reusable face masks that have undergone their testing in Australia. Browse the Tecmask range for a reusable face mask you can be confident in.


1 comment

  • Where are these masks made?

    James Phillips

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