The study showed that cotton protective masks are no worse than medical counterparts and even surpass them in some way.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, scientists from different authorities have tested various tissues that are able to protect the respiratory system from infected aerosol particles. American researchers have tested the effectiveness of 9 different types of cotton and 6 types of synthetics, including polyester and rayon, at 55 and 99% breathability. It turned out that synthetic materials do not change their characteristics from moisture, while cotton increased the ability to trap microparticles by 33%.
In the study, experts used salt crystals of different sizes as a test substitute for droplets with the virus. When moisture is absorbed, they increase in volume, thereby making it difficult to pass through the fabric. The test result showed that synthetic fibers, unlike cotton, repel water, do not create a humid environment and do not allow particles to swell. The best performance in particle arresting was found in cotton flannel.
However, as scientists said, this does not mean that wet masks are better than dry ones. If the mask becomes wet, it should be replaced.