Home Face Masks A brief look on the history of Cloth Face Masks

A brief look on the history of Cloth Face Masks

By now, you’ve seen the images of people wearing cloth face masks during the 1918 Spanish flu. A perfect picture that shows that history does repeat itself. Also, to realize the value of cloth face masks even in these modern times. 

But the Spanish flu wasn’t the beginning of the wide use of cloth face masks. 10 years before that there was the Manchurian plague where a Cambridge-educated physician Wu 
Liande develops cloth face masks to be worn by medical personnel and the general public to the discovery that the disease is transmitted through airborne contact.  

And a few hundred years before that, there were the plague doctors and their long-beaked full face mask. But their masks were made to ‘mask’ the stench. 

But after the Spanish Flu (where it was mandatory to wear cloth face masks when going out or going in into different establishments, like today) fabric masks were widely used on the medical fields. The real value of fabric masks were applied, studied and further developed. 

With the industrial revolution, manufacturing of the medical grade, disposable cloth face masks started. Ecological concern wasn’t a real issue during these times as it’s really not an everyday necessity like a drinking straw, plastic bags or clothes. 

But then it happened. Q1 2020. Covid-19 emerged. We all know how it went. Cloth face masks in Singapore and all over the world were downplayed for a while with of course the noble cause of preventing the chaos that will ensue if everyone gets their hands on a medical-grade mask and respirators like N95. Of course everybody wants the best. And the best face masks in Singapore comes in high price tag. 

But then, some time on March-April 2020, that’s when it was announced globally that cloth face mask in Singapore really helps in some way. Not as effective as the medical grade ones but enough to make a huge impact on controlling the spread of the Coronavirus. 

There are studies out there that illustrates the effectiveness of homemade masks like this, but the bottom line is, cotton, a material that everyone has in their house, has a good filtration efficacy, good enough when going out in a public but of course not recommended in a hospital or any treatment facility.

The fabric mask is more on preventing from spreading your own droplets. And if everyone does this, you are protecting yourself indirectly. It’s really a collective effort thus making cloth face mask mandatory is an absolute essential.

Effectiveness of cloth face masks relies on the fabric construction (the finer yet breathable, the better), the layers (at least 3 layers of suitable fabric is needed) and the fitting (nose bridge wires and adjustable sides are very important). These parameters by the way came from WHO and CDC. 

As of the time of writing, unfortunately, there are still no vaccine for Covid-19 yet and cloth face masks in Singapore will be here to stay. Most people figured this out specially business who are manufacturing their own face mask designs for retail. Which is not wrong. We should actually use cloth fabric mask rather than the disposable medical grade mask unless it is really needed (which we went in-depth article here).  

With this measure, along with our premium items, we’ve added C+ Fabric Mask designs in our line of products. It is something that we are proud to have developed with tremendous effort on testing out prototypes, sourcing the most suitable fabric and thinking of the best way of producing it to meet both corporate or retail demands. 

Learn and see some of our C+ Fabric Mask designs here.

Cloth face masks made us realize what we could’ve done early to at least reduce the impact of Covid-19 In Singapore or in any part of the world. Let’s not let history repeat itself in a devastating way again in the future. 


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