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Should You Buy a Cloth Face Mask?

user iconby Gvido Grubeclock icon5 Minutescalender icon2021-01-23

Should you buy a cloth face mask or face covering of any type? Yes, and there's a good reason why. Read our explainer and find out.

Health advice on face masks has been somewhat confusing in the past. But with the WHO and CDC now actively encouraging widespread use of protective face coverings, the global community has a clearer message than ever: wearing masks can be of real help in controlling Covid-19. But exactly when should you wear a face mask?

In This Article:

When Is It Appropriate to Wear a Face Mask?

When you should wear a face mask. Young woman wearing face mask and speaking on her phone.

According to the latest guidelines from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), face masks (or rather “cloth face coverings”) should be worn in any public setting when you come into contact with individuals from outside your household, especially in situations where social distancing is difficult.

Common examples of these high-risk settings would be:

With many industries and services resuming their pre-pandemic working routines, and the significant increase in social contact this will cause, we’re about to enter a new stage of the pandemic.

A stage where wearing a protective face mask in high-risk settings should be considered a matter of simple common sense.


When you should wear a face mask. Young woman with face mask walking on street.

This basic protective measure is one of the ways we can keep the virus under some control while also limiting the economic damage. So what exactly does a mask do to control transmission?

How Does a Face Mask Protect Me?

When you should wear a face mask. Face mask with pattern print lying on table.

Covid-19 is spread by moisture droplets which are expelled from the nose and mouth when an infected person speaks, coughs, or sneezes. These moisture droplets spread the virus either by landing directly on other people or by landing on surfaces which other people later touch. Droplets can be expelled up to 6 feet.

A cloth face covering simply forms a barrier over the wearer’s nose and mouth, catching the droplets so that other people don’t come into contact with them.

When you should wear a face mask. Young woman wearing colorful face mask.

So in fact, when you wear a cloth mask the main benefit is actually to the people who come into contact with you, rather than to yourself.

None of us can be sure that our moisture droplets are not an infection risk, because you can be infected and still feel perfectly healthy. You can spread the virus in the pre-symptomatic stage (when you are already infected but before you experience any symptoms), and many people with Covid-19 never develop symptoms at all.

If we all act in public as if we might be infectious, we’ll stay one step ahead of the virus. Then if we later find out we are indeed carriers, we’ll have done our best to avoid spreading it.


Cloth Face Coverings and Medical Face Masks

There’s an important distinction to be made between non-medical-standard face masks (often called “cloth face coverings” to set them apart) and medical-grade equipment, such as surgical masks and N95 respirators. Non-medical masks reduce the risk of droplet transmission, as explained above, but they haven’t been scientifically tested and aren’t suitable for medical use.

When you should wear a face mask. Close up of doctor holding N95 respirator.

As medical-grade equipment is still in urgent demand among healthcare workers, for the time being scientifically tested face masks should still be reserved for the following: frontline workers; people who already have Covid-19 symptoms; and those who are caring for people infected with Covid-19.

For the rest of us, a cloth face covering will do just fine. So where are they available?

Where Can I Get a Custom Face Mask?

When you should wear a face mask. Close up of printed face mask with flower patterns.​​

There’s a wide variety of non-medical masks available for the mass market. And if you’re looking for a mask that offers a secure fit as well as the chance to make a unique statement, you might want to choose the custom face mask sold by CanvasDiscount.com.

With two different models available – the CUSTOMASK® PREMIUM and the budget CUSTOMASK® NEO – we produce individualized, machine-washable masks for the general public. Available in both child and adult size, each mask comes printed with the photo of your choice or with one of our striking designs.

❗❗  Create your personalized face mask here ❗❗

The CUSTOMASK® PREMIUM consists of two layers of fabric (a 100% cotton inner layer and a 100% polyester outer layer), while the CUSTOMASK® NEO consists of a single layer of neoprene. The PREMIUM comes with adjustable elastic earloops and a flexible metal nosepiece, while the NEO comes with robust neoprene earloops.

Please note: as with any face covering, our masks must be used in combination with other preventive measures, such as social distancing, frequent hand-washing and frequent disinfecting of surfaces.

The evidence is clear that cloth face coverings can be an effective measure in the global fight against the pandemic. Think of it as a reciprocal arrangement: if you wear a mask you can help to keep others safe, while they can help to keep you safe if they wear a mask too. If we all play our part, our joint effort will really make a difference to transmission rates.

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