Since the news came out that face mask brackets may make your mask less effective against Covid-19 and other viruses, we’ve been looking for different solutions. Most people who’ve tried the brackets found them to make mask wearing a lot easier and more comfortable. They hold the cloth away from the nostrils and lips so that as sweat and condensation builds up, one doesn’t get the “self waterboarding” situation of trying to breathe through a wet mask.
The problem is that because wet cloth becomes airtight, the bracket only makes it easier for air to bubble out the edges of your mask. So it reduces the effectiveness of a mask to the level of a face shield. It’s not completely open, but air is getting in and out of the sides unfiltered.
Another problem with the brackets is that they may not fit everyone’s face. Just because something is comfortable doesn’t mean it’s fitting correctly. If you’re still going to use them, check to make sure both that the edges touch your skin no matter how you move your mouth or face, and that some cloth of your mask is also securely covering the bracket no matter how you move your face.
Instead of Mask Brackets
If you’ve found that face mask brackets solved your comfort issue, but leave you more vulnerable, there are some alternatives. You can use aluminum or stainless steel crafting wire to fashion boning to sew into your masks. Fashion a sort of a “cage” that would hold the mask away from your face, and then sew it into some thin cotton or silk fabric. Use this as the innermost of 3 layers.
Many have found the envo mask to be a better alternative to mask brackets. They are certainly among the safest. There are other brands of sure sealing silicone and polymer masks with filter valves, but the envo mask is the best example of one that is comfortable for many different faces and situations. For pandemic protection, it is best used in combination with a cloth mask since in general, filter valve dependent masks are not the best at protecting others from you.
If you don’t mind the cloth touching your face, but you do end up with a wetness problem from sweat and condensation, the best is still the old fashioned Ebola era solution: a panty shield. The best are the Libresse Daily Fresh normal or Carefree Breathable normal. These can be stuck inside any mask, and you’ll still be able to breathe, but they will suck up the moisture. If you can’t find these, use a mask that has a filter pocket, and take the plastic backing off of other pads. If you need the adhesive, you can make holes in the pads with a hole puncher. Just make sure to make enough holes so that you can breathe freely, but placed so that it’s still absorbing condensation and sweat.
You should still change the shields every 2 to 4 hours, but they will extend the wearing time of your face masks. Instead of having to carry two or three extra masks if I’m going to be out all day in the summer, I can get away with carrying one backup mask if I also carry a few panty shields.
I don’t understand why someone hasn’t made absorbent adhesive mask filters yet.
I hope that the advice in this article helps you to stay safe and a bit more comfortable. If you have any other suggestions or know of a good product we should look at, please let us know in the comments.
Blessings and Ashé!