In 2009, Scientists from the University of Cambridge did a study on homemade facemasks in the aftermath of the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic. They thought that in a global pandemic scenario, we might run out of N95 masks. Their predictions have come true during the coronavirus outbreak.The researchers asked volunteers to make their own masks using cotton t-shirts and a sewing machine, using a simple protocol they’d devised. Next, they performed a fit test to test how well they could capture particles down to 0.02 microns. They compared the DIY masks against surgical masks.
The homemade cotton masks captured 50% of 0.02-1 micron particles, compared with 80% for the surgical mask. Although the surgical masks captured 30% more particles, the cotton masks did surprisingly well. The researchers concluded that homemade masks would be better than nothing.
We are releasing these patterns knowing that homemade face masks should only be used as a last resort.