Study finds multiple layers make cloth masks more effective

2 is better than 1

A study found that using multiple layers made cloth masks more effective.

DETROIT – Researchers are learning more about what makes a cloth mask more effective against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

A new study in the medical journal, Thorax, indicates that layers are essential and that having at least two is better than one layer.

Researchers in Australia tested the effectiveness of the CDC recommended one or two layer cloth mask coverings and a three-ply surgical mask.

READ: How to avoid breakouts from wearing a mask

Their videos captured the droplets and aerosols projected while counting to ten. Then, while coughing and sneezing. While the single layer was better than no mask.

Adding a second layer was significantly better at reducing the spread of droplets. Based on their tests, the researchers said homemade masks should contain multiple layers. They recommend at least three layers.

READ: Why leaving your nose uncovered defeats the purpose of wearing a mask

Studies also found that a tighter fitting mask allowed fewer droplets to escape, while also reducing the need to touch or adjust the mask. Experts also stress that it’s critical to make sure the mask covers your mouth and nose.

Another way to improve a cloth mask is to select one with a pocket that can hold a filter. Sliding in a coffee filter or even additional layers of fabric can increase the effectiveness.

About the Authors:

Devin Scillian is equally at home on your television, on your bookshelf, and on your stereo. Devin anchors the evening newscasts for Local 4. Additionally, he moderates Flashpoint, Local 4's Sunday morning news program. He is also a best-selling author of children's books, and an award-winning musician and songwriter.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.