Cloth Surgical Masks- with Disposable Inserts are an Excellent Work Around!

Editor’s Note:

The mask I am wearing is one of four cloth masks that were custom made for me by Caitlyn Bondank, owner of a custom sewing business called SewingSolutions.ME.

Email:  [email protected]

Click on Image Above to view Website


I had approached her about making and designing these masks in lieu of our current shortage and current suggestions of re-use options that are TOTALLY unacceptable!

So anyway I would recommend cloth masks as an option that is viable and a good work around.

Here are the reasons why:

    • The masks are cloth and well made.
    • The masks have an insert sleeve for a filter OR barrier.
    • 2 masks will get you through a day easily- and then can be hand washed and dried.
    • The inserts don’t need to be filters- please review the data below in terms of efficacy and longevity of current disposable surgical masks.
    • The inserts can be one of many options: ALL impermeable barriers.
      • Sialastic sheeting cut to fit the shape of the sleeve pocket
      • Thick plastic sheeting found at any hardware store- either in roles or pre-cut sheets
      • A small plastic sandwich bag- or whatever you have that will fit into the sleeve and not collapse.

YEP!  These will do just fine as shield inserts 🙂


There are many reasons I suggest we bypass (no pun) commercial filters out there:

  • They are hard to find, AND would be short in supply very quickly- AND wouldn’t be effective at allWhy?
    • surgical/procedure masks are intended to help put a barrier between the wearer and the work environment or
      sterile field. They may help keep spit and mucous generated by the wearer from reaching a patient or medical equipment.
      They can also be used as a fluid barrier to help keep blood splatter from reaching the wearer’s mouth and nose.
      However, surgical/procedure masks cannot provide certified respiratory protection unless they are also designed, tested, and
      government-certified as a respirator.
    • If a wearer wants to reduce inhalation of smaller, inhalable particles (those smaller than 100 microns), they need to obtain and properly use a government-certified respirator, such as a NIOSH-certified N95 filtering facepiece particulate respirator. If the wearer needs a combination surgical/procedure mask and a particulate respirator, they should use a product that is both cleared by FDA as a surgical/procedure mask and tested and certified by NIOSH as a particulate respirator. Such products are sometimes called a “medical respirator,” “health care respirator,” or “surgical N95.”

What are the arguments that suggest that an impermeable insert would be the better solution?

  • It actually prevents exhaled droplets and bacteria from escaping forwardly out of your mouth and through the mask-
  • It would not present an issue in our ability to breathe- since just like all disposable masks- they do not create a sealed enclosed environment- rather the side flaps allow us to breathe and at the same time vent our breaths backward away from our mouths– which s why no one ever turns their head around when they sneeze or cough at the surgical field.

The Bottom Line?

Surgical masks do 2 things well:

  1. Prevent dissemination of mucous, spit, and particulate matter from medical personnel to the patient.
  2. Prevent dissemination of blood, mucous, spit, and particulate matter from the patient to our medical personnel.

What don’t they do?

  1. They don’t protect you from sprayed or airborne viral or bacterial infection.

After 150 minutes of wearing the same mask-

You might as well not be wearing one at all-

Let’s Get Past This  🙂

Pump Strong (bcf)


Graphs from a study supporting the fact that surgical masks are essentially useless after 2.5 hours are offered up below to support this argument.

Bottom Line:  After 150 minutes- Fabric Face Masks are useless in terms of containing bacteria.


Bottom Line:  After 150 minutes- Disposable Face Masks are useless in terms of containing bacteria.