Where to Buy Reusable Cloth Face Masks Online for COVID-19

Where to Buy Reusable Cloth Face Masks Online for COVID-19

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that most adults and children wear cloth masks or face coverings in public places and around people other than fellow household members, especially when social distancing is impossible.

This recommendation — not to mention widespread public mask mandates in more than 30 states and hundreds of cities across the United States — recognizes that cloth face coverings can reduce the spread of larger respiratory droplets that can contain harmful viruses and bacteria, per the CDC.

Wearing a mask when you’re out is one of the easiest, most effective steps you can take to reduce the spread of the virus responsible for COVID-19 in your community. Doing so could also reduce your own risk of infection. A study published in The Lancet in June 2020 found that using high-quality face coverings in conjunction with social distancing and other infection-control measures can significantly reduce the wearer’s risk of infection.

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, it’s worth remembering that face coverings can mitigate the spread of other infectious diseases as well. During the influenza pandemic of 1918 – ’19, cities that mandated mask-wearing saw significant reductions in flu transmission — and a corresponding resurgence when local authorities lifted mask-wearing ordinances, according to Health Affairs.

One of the first things you need to know about masks and face coverings is that the category is divided into two broad types. Cloth or fabric face masks can reduce the spread of large respiratory droplets from the wearer’s mouth and nose, while functional masks and respirators are rated for medical use (and often denoted as “medical grade”).

The former category includes both fashionable and utilitarian masks and coverings. Look for masks and coverings that meet these criteria:

  • Made from at least two layers of fabric (“double-layer”) or can be folded with ease to increase thickness
  • Made from thick, sturdy fabric like denim, flannel, batik, or high-thread-count cotton
  • Secured with behind-the-head ties or adjustable ear loops, both of which allow adjustment for comfort and fit
  • Allow unrestricted breathing (read user reviews for guidance on this point) but does not have a vent, which reduces effectiveness, and is available in different sizes for increased comfort
  • Can accommodate an internal mask bracket for improved wearability and breathability
  • Has a pocket to place a removable PM2.5 filter, which may provide at least some wearer protection, according to S. Steve Zhou, co-author of a PM2.5 mask effectiveness study published in the Journal of Thoracic Disease (but note that very little research has been done specifically on removable filters)
  • Has a water-resistant layer or coating, which is known to increase effectiveness in surgical masks per a University of Georgia study (in a pinch, you can add your own water-resistant layer by inserting a hydrophobic fabric filter of double-layered polypropylene like Oly-Fun or apply a chemical like Scotchgard to the outside of the mask, according to Northeastern University’s press shop)
  • Is machine-washable

The latter category mainly includes utilitarian masks used in medical settings and by workers at high risk of exposure to hazardous airborne particles, such as smoke, chemical fumes, and respiratory aerosols. A true respirator approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) confers significant protection to the wearer by filtering at least 95% of airborne particles down to 2.5 microns (PM2.5) — smaller than most respiratory aerosols. Bear in mind that N95 respirators look similar to lower-quality (and cheaper) disposable respirators (aka “dust masks”) that filter larger particles well without protecting against respiratory aerosols.

Best Places to Buy Reusable Cloth Masks

Since they can endure weeks or months of daily use, reusable cloth masks are generally more cost-effective than disposable surgical masks or disposable respirators that wear out quickly and can’t be washed. However, while they do reduce the spread of potentially virus-laden respiratory droplets, they don’t necessarily afford meaningful protection to the wearer. You primarily wear them to protect others.

Hundreds of retailers, both small and large, sell reusable cloth masks and face coverings. As such, there’s an overwhelming quantity and variety of quality coverings, including products made or sold by independent craftspeople or merchants, products with varying degrees of fashionability, and products sold by merchants that donate to first responders and others affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. Etsy

  • Chloegigis Face Mask: Two layers; filter pocket with one free PM2.5 filter included; nose wire; adult and kid sizes; black masks feature several white overlay print options, including cat face, dog face, zipper, “venom” (similar to a jack-o’-lantern), and a quote (“If you’re reading this, you’re too close”; about $9 and up (shipping is included)
  • Efikl elasticated 3-D design face mask: Number of layers not specified; no filter pocket; no nose wire, but mask shape conforms to the nose; one size fits most adults; color options include black, blue, khaki, lilac, leopard, blush, and white, plus two printed pouch (cover) options; about $5 per mask (shipping starts at about $4)
  • Orozcosshop Reusable Mask: Three layers; no pocket filter; nose wire; two adult sizes and two kid sizes; color options include black, royal blue, green, delft (blue), radish (crimson), pink floral, coal, and purple; $4 and up per mask (shipping starts at about $3)
  • AALTrade Face Covering: Three layers, filter pocket (disposable filters sold separately in packs of five); one size fits most with adjustable ties; color options include snake black, snake gray, snake albino, midnight black, sky blue, jaguar, and blueberry; about $6 and up per mask and about $2 per filter five-pack (shipping starts at about $15, but it’s free on U.S. orders over $35)
  • FlyingStars Face Mask: Two layers, side-loading filter pocket; nose wire made with flexible pipe cleaner; adjustable ear straps; three sizes that fit most teens and adults; more than 15 color and pattern options, including “paint splatter,” “balloon animals,” and “bee sweet”; $15 per mask (shipping is free on all orders)

Etsy curates a vast selection of reusable cloth face masks from hundreds of independent craftspeople and resellers. Basic, double- or triple-layered masks with solid-color prints and adjustable ear loops or head ties start around $5 per mask, but occasional discounts can drop per-mask pricing to $2 or less. Due to the extremely fragmented nature of the Etsy mask and face-covering market, ascertaining quality and durability is not easy for the average shopper, so give preference to masks with hundreds or thousands of positive reviews and high average star ratings.

2. BlueCut

  • Featured Mask: Water-repellent double-layered cloth face mask
  • Layers: Two
  • Filter Pocket: No
  • Nose Wire: No
  • Size Options: One, with adjustable ear loops
  • Color Options: Dark olive, sage gray, dark navy, red, teal, black, and sky blue
  • Price: About $8 for one, about $20 for three; shipping starts at about $3 per order

Before the pandemic, Blue Cut was known mainly by restaurant professionals and serious home cooks for producing high-quality cooking aprons in the U.S. It’s still churning out aprons, albeit likely at a reduced pace due to slower sales at restaurants during the pandemic, while adjusting to the needs of the moment.

Blue Cut’s signature face covering is a double-layered cloth mask with adjustable ear loops and a water-resistant microsuede finish layer. The water resistance wears out after three or four washes, according to Blue Cut, but the mask itself is designed to hold up much longer than that.

3. Casetify

  • Featured Mask: Reusable cloth mask
  • Layers: Four
  • Filter Pocket: Yes, two PM2.5 filters included
  • Nose Wire: No
  • Size Options: One size fits most adults
  • Color Options: Black, white, pink, and blue
  • Price: $15 for one, $40 for three; shipping starts at about $6

Casetify’s pre-pandemic wheelhouse was stylish cases and bands for personal accessories like smartphones and watches. Earlier this year, it added another sorely needed business line: four-layered reusable cloth masks made from cotton and other lightweight, breathable materials. For the admittedly high price, you get two PM2.5 pocket filters per mask and an equal number of mask donations to COVID-19 relief organizations and first responders.

4. Los Angeles Apparel

  • Featured Mask: Facemask3 cotton face mask
  • Layers: Three
  • Filter Pocket: No
  • Nose Wire: Yes
  • Size Options: Two, adult and kid, both with adjustable straps
  • Color Options: More than 40, including black, gray, white, blue, olive green, and yellow in addition to multiple color combinations and patterns such as plaid, camouflage, and animal prints
  • Price: $30 for a three-pack of masks; shipping starts at $5 (free for U.S. orders over $75)

Los Angeles Apparel makes a highly functional cotton mask with an adjustable nose wire and adjustable head and neck ties that enable a snug fit with a variety of face shapes and sizes. They’re made from high-thread-count French terry fabric and pre-laundered to limit shrinkage. Though Los Angeles Apparel’s offering is on the pricier side, the company has been a stalwart donor of masks and other resources to first responders and is committed to paying a living wage at its U.S. manufacturing facilities, per its website.

5. Jaanuu

  • Featured Mask: Reusable antimicrobial-finished face masks
  • Layers: Two
  • Filter Pocket: No
  • Nose Wire: No, but masks are shaped around the nose
  • Size Options: Two, adult and kid
  • Color Options: Varies between adult and kid sizes but include black, ceil blue, navy, royal blue, pink, and several patterns
  • Price: $25 for five; shipping starts at about $7 (free on orders over $50)

Pre-pandemic, Jaanuu was known for stylish, antimicrobial scrubs among other apparel items at various points along the functionality-fashionability continuum. Today, the same antimicrobial fabric that sells its scrubs appears in its reusable face masks with adjustable ear loops. These masks sell for a relative bargain and — unlike many competitors’ masks — fit comfortably over N95 masks, a key selling point for health care workers and other frontliners.

The ear loops aren’t adjustable, and Jaanuu makes it clear that the antimicrobial component is not intended to protect the wearer’s health — it’s meant to curtail the growth of bacteria and mold responsible for discoloration and unpleasant odors. Jaanuu donates one mask to charity for every mask sold, up to 1 million masks donated.

6. Hedley & Bennett

  • Featured Mask: Wake Up and Fight mask
  • Layers: Two
  • Filter Pocket: Yes, but you must purchase filters elsewhere
  • Nose Wire: Yes
  • Size Options: One size fits most adults
  • Color Options: Light blue, red, gray, dark blue, light green, and beige
  • Price: $22 for one, $45 for three; shipping starts at $7.50

Apron and cookware manufacturer Hedley & Bennett’s Wake Up and Fight mask is a reusable fabric mask that fits most face sizes and shapes and features space for a pocket filter (sold elsewhere). Fabric content varies by color but is either 100% cotton or 60/40 cotton and polyester. Hedley & Bennett donates one mask to first responders and COVID-19 relief organizations for every mask sold, with at least 200,000 donated since the pandemic began.

If it’s your first time shopping with Hedley & Bennett, sign up for the company’s email list to get 10% off your first order.

7. Athleta

  • Featured Mask: Everyday nonmedical masks
  • Layers: Three
  • Filter Pocket: No
  • Nose Wire: Yes
  • Size Options: One size fits most adults
  • Color Options: Navy, taupe, camouflage, black, and dusty pink
  • Price: $30 for five; shipping starts at about $7 (free on orders over $50)

Athleta stepped up to fight COVID-19 with multiple face-covering additions to its lineup of popular athletic and leisure wear. The highlight of its collection is a functional yet eye-catching pleated mask known appropriately enough as the Everyday. Featuring three layers of lightweight polyester and cotton, it’s breathable enough for use during exercise yet sturdy enough to provide peace of mind.

Your mask purchase supports Athleta’s commitment to donate up to 100,000 nonmedical masks to a major health care organization during the pandemic. Athleta limits orders to five five-packs at a time and waives shipping on orders over $50.

8. Avocado Green Mattress

  • Featured Mask: Organic cotton face mask
  • Layers: Two
  • Filter Pocket: Yes, filters sold separately
  • Nose Wire: No
  • Size Options: One size fits most adults
  • Color Option: Off-white
  • Price: $30 for four (shipping included)

Bedding manufacturer Avocado Green Mattress retooled much of its production capacity to support mask-making efforts. Its signature offering, a double-layered, 100% organic cotton face mask with a pocket for a removable filter (filters sold separately), sells for not much more than what it costs to make and is fully biodegradable.

9. American Giant

  • Featured Mask: Adult face masks
  • Layers: Not specified
  • Filter Pocket: No
  • Nose Wire: No
  • Size Options: One size fits most adults
  • Color Option: White
  • Price: $20 for five; shipping starts at $7.50 (free on orders over $100)

Earlier this year, apparel manufacturer American Giant retooled its North Carolina textiles facility to produce functional cloth face masks in bulk. Its signature offering is a white 100% cotton mask available in a single adult size with stretchy but nonadjustable ear loops. American Giant recommends discarding the masks after 15 washes. Sign up for American Giant’s email list to get 15% off your first order (valid only for first-time customers).

10. Bella + Canvas

  • Featured Mask: Two-ply reusable face mask
  • Layers: Two
  • Filter Pocket: No
  • Nose Wire: No, but nose and chin shirring allow conformity to a variety of face shapes
  • Size Options: Small/medium and medium/large
  • Color Option: Black
  • Price: About $4 for one, about $10 for three; shipping starts at about $12

Bella + Canvas has several different lines of face coverings. For function, it’s difficult to beat the two-ply reusable face mask, a nicely tailored covering that fits surprisingly well without a nose wire or adjustable ear loops. Choose the size that fits you best — small/medium or medium/large.

Because shipping is pricey, it pays to buy in bulk here. So if you’re prone to making unscheduled stops, buy a few of Bella + Canvas’ Movement face covers to stash in your car or around-town bag. This disposable option costs $1 per mask and directly supports social justice work in partnership with Until We Do It. Bella + Canvas has pledged to donate up to 1 million masks as part of Until We Do It’s commitment to equip every American under the poverty line with face coverings.

11. Madewell

  •  Featured Mask: Nonmedical face masks
  • Layers: Three
  • Filter Pocket: Yes, one reusable filter included (type not specified)
  • Nose Wire: No
  • Size Options: One size fits most adults
  • Color Options: Nine patterns including various iterations of blue-, black-, or gray-and-white checks, plaids, and stripes
  • Price: $20 for three; shipping starts at about $3

Best known for stylish jeans, Madewell now sells a variety of colorful three-layered masks made from fabric scraps left over from apparel production. While it’s a stretch to call any mass-produced mask “unique,” each three-pack contains slightly different color combinations, so you’ll certainly stand out next to your solid-color-clad friends. Each mask comes with a reusable filter, though Madewell doesn’t specify whether it’s a PM2.5 product or something less protective.

Though Madewell recommends hand-washing (as opposed to machine-washing) after each use, it’s safe to machine-wash your mask to shrink it down to size. Madewell has donated 75,000 single-use masks to Montefiore Medical Center in New York since the pandemic began, though it’s unclear whether purchases currently subsidize any charitable work.

12. Vistaprint

  • Featured Mask: Replaceable filter system mask
  • Layers: Two
  • Filter Pocket: Yes, removable filters sold separately in packs of 10 (type not specified)
  • Nose Wire: No, but conforms to most face sizes and shapes
  • Size Options: Adult and child, both with adjustable ear loops
  • Color Options: Dozens available, including solid colors, floral patterns, paisley prints, stripes, checks, polka-dots, and repeating prints like hearts and anchors
  • Price: $13 and up, shipping included

Vistaprint is an odd but admirable addition to this list. The printing giant dove headlong into the mask-making game early on in the pandemic and has become one of the most visible suppliers of colorful masks for everyday use. Common threads linking Vistaprint’s dozens of individual mask styles include adjustable ear loops, double-layered construction with room for a removable filter (available from Vistaprint in packs of 10), and forgiving fabric that conforms snugly to most face sizes and shapes. Choose from customizable designs or preproduced Fast Ship masks that should arrive within a week of purchase.

Best Places to Buy Surgical Masks & Respirators

Disposable surgical masks and respirators (N95 and above) are more functional than fashionable. Surgical masks significantly reduce the spread of large respiratory droplets, protecting others when the wearer is out and about. Respirators provide two-way protection — blocking most aerosols (at least 95%) down to 2.5 microns from leaving or entering the wearer’s airways. Because they protect the wearer, respirators cost more than surgical masks; both offer better value when purchased in bulk.

You can buy surgical masks from medical and office supply wholesalers as well as general retailers like Walmart and Amazon. For example, a three-layer, melt-blown disposable mask retails for less than $25 per 50-pack at

The best place to find NIOSH-approved respirators is your local home improvement store or hardware store (or their websites), but general retailers sell them too.

Bear in mind that the ongoing pandemic has severely impacted the supply of high-grade respirators, especially 99% effective and above. Don’t be surprised to find respirators out of stock at home improvement and hardware retailers. To preserve supply for health care professionals, essential workers, and members of high-risk groups, consider forgoing respirators in favor of surgical masks until availability improves.

Final Word

The threat of COVID-19 will be with us for a long time to come. And it’s virtually certain not to be the last respiratory pandemic the world faces. As you read this, multiple nasty pathogens with pandemic potential, such as zoonotic influenza viruses and coronaviruses, lurk in the shadows, ready to jump from animals to humans at any time. It’s no wonder national and international public health authorities are redoubling their efforts to prepare for the next pandemic and encouraging regular folks to do the same.

In this environment, it’s not a bad idea to learn how to make your own cloth face mask — “no-sew” DIY masks and face coverings require no special equipment or skills and take just minutes to construct. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have a few spare cloth face coverings on hand either. You could also turn mask making into an income-producing side business, selling on Etsy or reputable Etsy alternatives.

Published at Wed, 09 Dec 2020 18:00:33 +0000

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