Over the last nine months, the pandemic has taken over the world. Our transition into the new normal, consisting of hand sanitizer, face masks, and six-foot distances, hasn’t been as smooth as anticipated. It seems as though many of us are still making minor adjustments to our day to day lives – one of those adjustments being putting a face mask on before leaving the house.
Due to how quickly everyone has had to adapt to this new way of life, there are still a number of debates surrounding the face mask. One of the more prominent questions being asked right now is – are disposable or reusable masks better? Let’s see!
At the beginning of the pandemic, many people started by purchasing single-use medical masks as they were considered safe and reliable considering they had been used in sterile environments for so long. That being said, many reusable mask manufacturers, such as SmartCover, have been working with regulatory boards in order to perfect the technology behind their washable designs to ensure maximum protection.
Verdict – Although reusable masks are getting there, medical-grade, single-use masks definitely have an edge if fitted on the face correctly.
Single-use masks are generally made of processed plastics which can cause irritation on your face if worn for long periods of time. With reusable masks, there are a variety of fabrics to select from – whether cotton or linen, you can find what works best for you.
Verdict – Reusable masks definitely have the upper-hand on this one because of the vast choice available in the market.
Another big comfort factor with face masks seems to be the ear straps. Both disposable and reusable masks have options that can be tied behind the head for a more comfortable wear.
Verdict – This one is a tie – no pun intended!
Who can forget the time when the price of medical masks had gone up so drastically due to the lack of supply. Now they’re all available in abundance and at way cheaper rates. Reusable masks, depending on the design and the brand vary, in price but there is definitely something in everyone’s budget. Considering you can wash and re-wear them, most masks within the £15 range are reasonable.
Verdict – Although the price for single-use masks has come down significantly since the beginning of the pandemic, there is no doubt that reusable masks are worth the higher one-time fee.
There has been a lot of buzz around the breathability of masks. Single-use masks have been found to be a little difficult to breathe in, especially when being worn during exercise. Due to the variety available, the breathability of reusable masks vary, but again you are more likely to find one that works for you personally – cotton blends and linen seem to be the favourites!
Verdict – Reusable fabric masks seem to have more breathability than the average single-use masks made from processed plastics.
Disposable masks and filters are said to be effective for up to four hours and anyone wearing a mask for longer periods of time should carry spares. Most mask manufacturers will recommend cleaning your reusable mask after a day of wearing it. Usually, reusable masks with in-built filtration systems are said to be effective for 50-100 washes – make sure to check what the brand says!
Verdict – This one depends on how much you may use a mask, but for anyone wearing a mask throughout the day, it would seem like reusable masks would be more efficient as you wouldn’t have to change your mask every 4 hours!
After looking at a number of factors that one might consider when buying a mask, it seems like reusable masks are the winners of this debate. There is so much variety on the market today that everyone is bound to find something that tickles their fancy! Maybe it’s better we leave the disposable masks for our frontline workers who need them the most.
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