Common FAQs on Cloth Mask Vs Surgical Mask Vs Respirator Mask


Wanted to know about Cloth Mask Vs Surgical Mask Vs Respirators Mask? and to be Safe From Corona is need of demand in this pandemic time.  Many are confused in this pandemic time about which types of masks are safe to wear a mask?

 In this Corona pandemic time, we all are in panic and fear regarding the use of the Mask. There is a lot of confusion and misconceptions regarding the quality of the mask, and the use of a mask for all health and non-health personnel.

Which mask should be used by whom? Which is the best corona mask? Common people should use what type of mask? Health personnel should what type of masks are some of the most common questions. So here I present some discussion regarding the types of masks in this COVID-19 or COVID-19 pandemic in this blog.

Here are the most common FAQs on Cloth Mask Vs Surgical Mask Vs Respirator Mask

Common FAQs On Cloth Mask Vs Surgical Mask V

Regarding the Mask and its Use with their respective answers. I hope these questions and answers will help to know about the proper use of the mask, the quality of the mask, and how to use the mask

 What are the types of masks available?

The common three types of Masks are :

  1. Cloth mask,
  2. Surgical Mask
  3. Respirator Mask

Cloth Mask:

Cloth masks are made locally using the clothes. They generally have large pores.

These masks are locally made at home or in local shops.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending to use of this type of Mask to prevent the spread of the virus from people without symptoms while going in public places where it’s difficult to maintain a 6-foot distance from others.

Types of cloth Masks
Different Types of Cloth Masks

Along with wearing this CDC has also recommended maintaining social distancing and proper hygiene.  Filtration is very less. as compared to other Masks.

Surgeon General mask

A surgical mask or surgeon general mask is the most common mask used by health workers. These are of 1 ply, 2 ply, and 3 ply masks. Mostly health personnel like doctors, nurses, and other health people have to wear 3 play masks.

Surgeon General mask  or surgical mask
Surgeon General mask or surgical masks

These surgeon general masks are disposable, loose-fitting face masks that cover your nose, mouth, and chin. This surgical mask is used to block only large-particle droplets, splashes, sprays, or splatter.

  • It prevents the spread of potentially infectious respiratory secretions from the wearer to others
  • It is not designed to protect from inhaling the air-born bacteria and viruses.
  • Surgical masks if touching their mouth/nose, could transfer virus/bacteria after having touched a contaminated surface.
  • Filtration can vary between 10-90% according to the manufacturer and the quality of the Surgical Mask

What is Respirator Mask? 

Respirator Masks are of a special type of mask which can be called a tight-fitting face mask too. The respirator mask is generally circular or oval in shape.  It has more filtering capacity along with blockage of splashes, sprays, and large droplets. They can filter most viruses and bacteria according to their quality and type.

Actually, the respirator mask must be fit and is tested before use to make sure that a proper seal is formed or not.  If the mask doesn’t fit and not seal effectively to your face, you won’t receive the appropriate protection.

What is the difference between General Mask and Respirator Mask?

Masks and respirators are different due to their quality and mechanism. They are being used for different purposes.  Generally, the mask has a loose fit and it doesn’t seal out the nose and mouth while the respirator is in advance of the mask which is tightly sealed and most of the time and it seals the nose and mouth completely.

Why Respirator Masks are Good?

The air in wearing the mask passes away from the end border of the masks however due to the tight-fitting of the respirator the air passes only by the filtration of the mask in the respirator mask.

During respiration air moves along the edges of the mask, while the respirator has a tight seal and most of the time air passes only through its material after filtration called a valve. That valve is a one-way mechanism with the following functions

  • helps in the effort of expiration,
  • decrease  heat inside the mask,
  • dissipate humidity in the mask and
  • reduce CO2  from the dead space of the mask.

Is Cloth Mask Effective Then Surgical Mask?

The cloth mask is made of woven polypropylene material whose pore size is bigger however the surgical mask is made of nonwoven polypropylene and has a lesser pore size. So, a cloth mask is less effective than a surgical mask in terms of filtration efficiency.

Few studies done on the normal populations concluded that the use of simple masks can decrease the incidence of flu by up to 75%. In the same way Respirator Mask is more effective among all.

Does wearing a double cloth mask gives more Protection?

No, it’s not advisable to wear a cloth mask with an extra layer. It is not advised so far regarding the cloth mask  Each extra layer adds only 2% of extra protection if the extra layer is added. So, it is not recommended to use a multiple-layered cloth mask.

What are  Respirators Mask and their types?

Respirator masks are a special type of mask that is made for effective microorganism protection. The available respirator masks are N- 95, N- 99, N- 100 type Respirator Mask.

These Means that respirator masks are capable of trapping 95%, 99%, and 99.9% of particles. The smallest respirator mask can trap the smallest up to the 0.3-micron size also.

Are all respirator masks are different?

the respirators are of different types and they are graded according to their filtration efficiency and capacity. They are graded as:

  • According to the used filter type
  • According to the type of materials used
  • And additional features

Types of Respirator Mask

Respirator masks are of different types of grading. Depending upon the shape the respirator mask is of two types: one is cup-shaped and the next is flat shaped. In the case of grading Generally, there are 3 types of a respirator mask is

Type of respirator masks
Different Type of respirator masks according to Shape

 P1 respirator mask

  • P1 is FFP1
  • (FFP1) – 80% Filtration efficiency.

P2 Respirator mask

  • , P2 is FFP2 mask
  • P2 (FFP2) – 95% Filtration efficiency.

P3 respirator mask

  • P3 is FFP3 mask
  • P3 (FFP3) – 99.95% Filtration efficiency.

What is the meaning of N, R, or P in the mask?

You may see it written as N, R, P over the Mask which is abbreviated as follows with the following Meanings

  • N – not oil-proof
  • R- oil resistant
  • P- oil-proof

Can Mask be reused?

Not all masks can be reused. A cloth mask can be reused after washing while a Surgical mask should be discarded after a single-use. In the same way, the Respirator mask should be discarded when the resistance of breathing gets increased or gets soiled. The Viruses/bacteria can grow and flourish inside the reused mask.

WHO recommendations for using masks

Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. here are the WHO recommendations for using the best corona mask.

  • For the normal population, any type of mask is not required, maintaining the social distance and hand hygiene are sufficient.
  • The sick person should always wear a surgeon general mask
  • Any person who is taking care of a sick person should also wear a surgical mask.
  • N 95 mask should be used by the person who is potential to get exposed to the respiratory secretions of the infected patient e.g. During the Endotracheal intubation, CPR, Ventilation, Bronchoscopy, and Tracheostomy, etc.

The bottom line

Regarding the Cloth Mask Vs Surgical Mask, it is recommended to use the surgical masks as far as possible. But when you don’t have any availability of surgical mask then cloth mask with the social distance is very important in the protection of coronavirus.

In the same way, Respirator masks should be used by the health personnel working in health institutes mostly. Proper use gives the safety by knowing above mentioned Surgical Mask Vs Respirator Mask uses.


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