Coronavirus: What is best fabric to use for masks?

The federal government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now advising people to wear masks when out in public to protect against spreading COVID-19.

Many people are making their own to make sure they don’t use the limited supplies of N95 masks used by those fighting the illness on the frontline.

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But what is the best fabric to use when you’re going the DIY method?

First remember, the masks are not for preventing germs from getting to you, they’re meant to prevent germs from getting from you, USA Today reported.

Scientists said they’ve tested items you may find sitting around your house and said some worked better others, The New York Times reported.

The ones that did the best -- HEPA furnace filter, vacuum cleaner bags, layers of 600-count pillowcases and fabric like flannel pajamas, the Times reported.

A stack of coffee filters also worked, but was ranked as a medium effect.

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Scarves and bandannas had the lowest, but they still blocked some particles.

But there is a fine line between blocking particles and actually being able to breathe through it.

Experts said you should hold the material you plan on using up to the light. If you can see through it, find something else.

Layers of quilting fabric that is tightly woven also worked, with some masks actually having a better filtration rate than surgical ones.

Quilter’s cotton that has a thread count of 180 or more with a thick, tight weave worked well, NBC News found.

Since vacuum bags did seem to use, make sure they do not contain fiberglass. One brand that can be is EnviroCare Technologies, the Times reported.

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You can also make a mask using fusible interfacing, ironed on to cotton fabric for an extra barrier, USA Today reported.

No matter what DIY version of a mask you make, experts warn, masks do not take the place of social distancing, they only are used to add another layer of safety, NBC News reported.

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