Face masks have become more than just protection; they’re turning into fashion statements. The fabric you choose says a lot about your sense of style. Neoprene face masks with carbon filters not only look good, but they provide protection against virus particles.
Is Neoprene Fabric Breathable?
Neoprene is not a breathable fabric, but that is what makes it an excellent choice for face masks.
Neoprene is a man-made fabric that is stretchy and water-resistant. It is best known for being used in wetsuits because it insulates the body from cold water. The material comes in different thicknesses, and the thickest choices are usually 6 or 7 mm thick. Designers use it for everything from outerwear and footwear to dresses and pants.
Neoprene is often used with other fabrics. Manufacturers will laminate it between stretch fabrics like polyester, nylon, as well as velcro and plush. Because neoprene is thick on its own, it can be challenging to sew, so many people will use an industrial sewing machine if they use neoprene often.
Along with clothing, manufacturers use neoprene for hoses, gaskets, and other industrial reasons. The material is also resistant to solvents, oils, greases, and heat. Its durability makes it a reasonable choice when corrosion-resistant coatings are needed. The fabric is so versatile that you might even use a neoprene cover for your laptop computer.
DuPont scientists discovered neoprene by accident in the 1920s. It was perfected in the next decade and became a popular material for gloves, shoes, and commercial needs during World War II. Neoprene is a polychloroprene made of synthetic rubber, making it flexible, durable, and stable. Neoprene is easy to clean, as it does not break down in boiling water.
Why Neoprene is Used for Wetsuits?
While designers are using neoprene for all types of garments, most people still associate the fabric with wetsuits. Neoprene traps a thin layer of water between the suit and skin, and this allows the material to reach body temperature and keep the wearer warm. Neoprene thermally insulates the wearer.
Perforated Breathable Neoprene
If you punch on the neoprene fabric, then the fabric will be breathable. This perforated neoprene fabric is widely used to make neoprene tote bags.
Is Neoprene Good for Face Masks?
Since neoprene is not breathable, it is an excellent choice for face masks, but only with valve and filters. If you make a face mask out of neoprene, but without a valve, you will hard to breathe through it.
Because of the durability of neoprene, it has been used for face masks for years. Skiers and other athletes turn to neoprene because it offers a protective barrier against the elements. The material does not fade in the sun, and it has high-ozone resistance. In cold weather, people who wear neoprene masks can spend more time outside than people who do not wear them.
The thickness of neoprene makes a top choice for face masks. Despite being stretchy, the synthetic material does not allow droplets to get to the nose or mouth. Neoprene also maintains its structure after being stretched, and it is not affected by exposure to extreme temperatures.
Advantages of Using Neoprene for a Face mask
There are several advantages for using neoprene as a face mask, despite them not being breathable.
- You can make one by gluing or sewing pieces together.
- They are stretchy, so they fit all faces.
- Neoprene is weather-resistant and water-resistant.
- The fabric is inexpensive.
- Neoprene is resistant to abrasion and UV rays.
- You can print custom designs on neoprene.
- Neoprene works well with other fabrics.
Use With a Filter
If you decide to use a neoprene face mask, you will need a filter. The best choice is an N95 filter that uses carbon to prevent dust, viruses, and toxic gases from getting to you. But, if you do not need to worry about dust, gases, or fumes, the N95 filter is also a wise choice as it keeps out viruses.
The only issue with a neoprene face mask with a valve and filter is that your exhales do leave the mask. The valve opens when you exhale, so if you have a virus, you could infect people who are around you and not wearing a mask. The valve closes up when you inhale so that you will be protected from others.
Neoprene has several factors that make it comfortable to wear. It is a soft fabric that wicks moisture away from the body. If you wear a face mask made of neoprene, you can be guaranteed that it will not pick up sweat or moisture from the weather.
Face masks made of neoprene are comfortable in all weather conditions. The fabric is heat-resistant, so your face will not overhead under the mask. Neoprene’s elastic quality makes it fit any face without losing its protective features.
Attractive Designs and Colors
Neoprene fabric comes in all colors, so you could pick several to go with your outfits. The real beauty of the material is that you can print on it. And, manufacturers laminate other fabrics to it. The design options are practically unlimited.
Easy to Maintain
Neoprene is one of the easiest materials to keep clean. It can be washed in a machine or by hand. If you do use a machine, set it to gentle and use hot water to kill bacteria. You can use a typical household laundry soap. Don’t forget to remove the filter. Some people will put their masks in a lingerie bag to protect the valves.
If you prefer to wash your masks by hand, you can. Scrub them with gentle soap and ring them out to remove the excess water.
Because the face masks have valves, it is best to let the masks air dry or hang dry. If it is sunny and warm outside, hang your mask outside to benefit from UV rays.
Don’t forget to wash the valves, too. It is best to use warm or hot water on them. You can also use alcohol wipes to clean bacteria or other unwanted debris that you cannot see that builds up in the filter.
When to Change the Filters
Like health-care providers who have to change their PPE regularly, you should do the same with the filters in your mask. N95 filters are designed to last for up to 35 hours of use. Many people will replace them every two weeks unless they wear their masks all day.
People who wear their masks where it is dusty, then you might want to change your filter once per week. If you are wearing it to protect against COVID-19 in an indoor setting, you should change it every two or three days. These masks are technically not medical-grade unless you add a medical-grade filter and replace it regularly.
The best way to determine when to change your filter is to pay attention to how dirty it gets. If your mask gets dusty or covered with pollen, then it is best to change it. If you use it in an indoor space where you regularly interact with people, you should also change it frequently.
How To Choose the Right Neoprene Face Masks?
Not all neoprene face masks are made the same way, or with the same quality of fabric.
Avoid for the Glue Smell
If you are going to wear a mask, you do not want it to smell like glue. There are neoprene face masks that are sewn together, so they do not smell like glue. Neoprene itself is made of foamed synthetic rubber, and the scientists at DuPont spent years removing a chemical smell to make it wearable.
Poorly made neoprene might have an odor because of the chemical process used to make the fabric. If you are concerned with a smell, buy your neoprene face masks from Neoprener, as they are the only face masks that do not have an odor.
Laminated With High-Quality Cloth
Top-quality neoprene face masks often have other types of cloth laminated to them. The cloth should have elasticity and be soft so the mask is comfortable to wear. Many manufacturers will laminate nylon, lycra, polyester, and other stretch-jersey fabrics to neoprene for face masks. They use other types of fabrics for industrial and commercial purposes.
Valves and Filters
The best neoprene face masks must have valves so you can breathe. They should also have pockets for filters. The valves make the face masks comfortable to wear in the heat, and the filters keep you protected from unwanted particles.
Fits Your Face
Because neoprene stretches, many face masks come in one size. When you put on the mask, it should fit around your nose, mouth, and chin without any gaps. You want it to block the droplets that can cause COVID-19. The ear loops should not pull on your ears. When you remove the mask, do not touch the outer shell of the mask itself. Only touch the ear loops.