New mask recommendation-is it time to upgrade your masks?

Posted by Carolyn Laidley Arn on

On November 3, 2020, Dr. Tam updated her recommended for non-medical cloth masks.  The current recommendation is a 3 layer cloth masks with 2 layers of good quality cotton and 1 layer of non-woven polypropylene.  While I have done my best to be acutely aware of guidelines and adjust as they change, most people aren't and need this information to ensure that they are able to protect themselves and others. The new recommendations should be taken seriously and are even more important to help keep your family safe with the current rise of cases and Ontario State of Emergency measures. 

I constantly see many people wearing poorly fitted non-medical cloth masks that have to constantly be adjusted, don't cover nose and chin and fall below their nose when they are speaking, or and thin masks that don't provide adequate protection. 

It may be time to take inventory of the masks you and your family are using to see whether they fit properly, are still in good shape and meet the current guidelines, and either adapt them or replace with new masks. 

I recenty spoke with a customer that was keenly aware that the masks she and her family were using didn't fit and needed to be upgraded. She had resorted to disposables and frustrated because although she had bought many masks through both home sewists and retailers, they couldn't be tried on and many didn't fit properly.  I am introducing a limited number of 'fit kit's to provide both individuals and families with a set of (minimum 2) sample masks that they can try at home to determine which size and style fits best. The neutral grey masks meet the current guidelines and are discounted when they are used for this purpose.

This 'try before you buy' allows customers to be confident of the fit before they purchase a new collection of good quality masks for themselves or their family.   I also have limited packages of 'fit bits' available.  These include a selection of items used by maskmakers, including filters, polypropylene, nose wires and elastic toggles so that older masks that have a filter pocket and are in good shape can adapted to meet the new requirement.  

The best way to keep yourself and your family safe is education and adherance to recommendations.  Here are some useful articles about masks: 
1) On November 3, 2020, Dr. Tam recommended adding a third layer of non-woven polypropylene or other filter to a two layer tightly woven cotton mask: COVID-19: Non-medical masks and face coverings -
2) The CDC has a very simple guide to wearing and caring for your mask: Your Guide to Masks | CDC
3) In June 2020 the WHO recommended a 3 layer fabric mask be worn by the public, consisting of one layer tightly woven cotton, one layer of polypropylene and an outer layer of polyester or polyester blend: WHO updates guidance on masks - here's what you need to know | World Economic Forum (

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