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How To Know If Your Mask Is The Real 3-Ply Surgical Mask? Test It Before You Place Large Orders!

How To Know If Your Mask Is The Real 3-Ply Surgical Mask? Test It Before You Place Large Orders!

All you need to know before buying a virus protection mask

The 3-ply surgical mask has become the most sought-after commodity during the Covid-19 pandemic, with many buying what they can get their hands on. However, the quality of different brands may vary wildly, though the masks may look the same.

How do you tell if a surgical mask is real or fake? Check it out below!

Tips To Test

1. Visual Test

If you cut open your mask, you should see a very obvious 3-layers. The 3 layers would typically consist of an outer hydrophobic non-woven layer (translucent), middle melt-blown layer (white), and an inner soft absorbent non-woven layer (green, blue, or white).

If you don’t have those 3 layers, then it is not a 3-ply mask.

2. Non-flammability Test

The middle layer of a surgical mask is a melt-blown fabric, not made with paper, therefore, if you light it with a flame, it will not burn like paper. Instead, it melts without flame.

If your mask catches fire, then it is not a 3-ply mask.

3. Water-resistant Test

The outer-most layer is designed to be waterproof. Pour some water onto the outer layer and you should be able to see that the mask repels water properly.

If the other side gets damp, it is not a 3-ply mask.

4. Electrostatic Adsorption Test

There is an electrostatic effect in the melt-blown layer. If you tear the melt-blown layer into strips, you will feel the electrostatic adsorption effect, and you can also adsorb the melt-blown layer on stainless steel due to its large amount of electric charge.

If your mask does not electrostatically adsorb any strips, it is not a 3-ply mask.

5. Light Transmission Test

The middle layer, which is used to trap bacteria from entering or exiting the mask, should not be too porous. This will ensure the mask can catch the percentage of bacteria it’s supposed to.

If your mask’s middle layer is too porous, it is not a 3-ply mask.

6. Breath Test

3-ply surgical mask is designed with a middle melt-blown layer that is critical as a filter to contain droplets by electrostatically adsorbing them on the surface hence it cannot infiltrate the mask; while the inner layer is intended to absorb water, sweat and spit. This will ensure extinguishing fire with your breath is highly impossible.

If you can extinguish a fire easily with your breath while wearing the mask, it is not a 3-ply mask.

7. Absorbency Test

The innermost layer is designed to absorb moisture such as saliva, mucus and sneeze droplets. This ensures when a user sneezes, the mask will be able to contain the droplets, which will not remain smeared on the wearer’s face.

If your mask’s inner layer is not water-absorbent, it is not a proper 3-ply mask.

Be Cautious of These Brands Listed

With the high demand for face masks, consumers need to be leery of counterfeit face masks by illegitimate manufacturers. Carry out the tests above to identify if it is fake or real.

The difference of 3-ply surgical mask to fashion masks or ordinary hygiene mask

Just to note, fashion masks, ordinary disposable dust masks or 2-ply hygiene masks will not protect you from the virus.

  1. Fashion masks / dust masks

Made from washable cotton or sponge that is reusable. They are mainly designed to protect against air pollution or pollen allergy, but useless against viruses and bacteria.

2. Ordinary 2-ply hygiene mask

Made from fabric or non-woven material which is also disposable but lacks a melt-blown filter layer, so these face masks are useless against haze, viruses, and bacteria.

Know your difference before placing an order

The biggest difference between a 3-ply surgical mask and an ordinary face mask is the melt-blown layer in a surgical mask.

The melt-blown layer in a 3-ply surgical mask is essentially a filter, the droplets containing viruses will be electrostatically adsorbed on the surface and cannot infiltrate the mask. If your mask is properly fitted, the surgical mask will create a basic barrier between your mouth and nose and the viruses.

We hope this article helps. Share it with people you care about and stay safe at home!

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