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How To Detect A Low Quality Mask

How are you staying safe and healthy amidst the pandemic? Following mask shortages at the beginning of the global COVID outbreak, the market has responded, and it’s now easier than ever to secure high-quality face masks for you and your family’s protection! In fact, it’s almost too easy. 

As you may have noticed when shopping online for face masks, there are several companies that offer imported masks at suspiciously low prices. We at Ten Masks don’t disagree that reliable virus protection should be affordable for all families — that’s why we offer 10-packs of our five-layer KN95 masks for less than $26 — we just want you to be aware of the problem of fake and poor-quality imports in the marketplace. If a deal seems to be good to be true, it probably is. That’s why, in today’s blog, we’ll be teaching you how to detect a low-quality face mask before they put your family at risk of disease. 

Low-Quality Mask Types To Avoid

To begin, let’s briefly review a couple of the common types of masks you may be seeing people wear amidst this pandemic. While virtually any face covering puts you in compliance with regional mask-wearing ordinances, there are many types of masks you see everyday that don’t actually provide substantial protection against germs and airborne viruses. If you truly want to ensure that you and your family have the lowest possible risk of catching coronavirus or otherwise taking ill, avoid these types of masks:

cloth masks

Cloth Masks: Cloth masks are the Wild West of facial coverings. They only provide one to two layers of protection against contaminants, and because they’re not tested or recommended by the FDA, it’s difficult to know how effective they are at filtering away germs and potential viruses. They do not block microscopic particles like N95 masks do, and they often have significant inward air leakage. In essence — they may keep others safe from what you exhale, but they certainly don’t protect you from any contaminants that you might breathe in. And because they’re not tested as stringently as other types of masks, it’s difficult to know either way. 


Bandanas: Bandanas are more of a fashion statement than an actual effective covering for your face. Similar to cloth masks, they provide only one to two layers of protection against contaminants, and it’s unlikely that they filter out germs particularly well. But if you simply want to comply with public mask orders, bandanas are a stylish way of doing so!


surgical masks

Surgical Masks: Given their standard use in hospital settings, it may surprise you to learn that surgical masks are not all that reliable as protection against COVID-19, but it’s true! Surgical masks only offer wearers three layers of protection, less than the four to five layers of protection N95 masks offer, and they don’t filter out particles at the microscopic level. Filter efficiency and testing and registration standards can vary widely amongst different brands of surgical masks. The filter efficiency of surgical masks can range anywhere from 90 percent to as little as 10 percent. Some producers of surgical masks are registered with the FDA, some aren’t. It’s this variance that makes surgical masks an iffy bet for consumers — some offer good protection against viruses while others don’t, and it can be difficult to tell the difference without further information.

How To Identify Fake Or Low-Quality N95 Masks

N95 masks and KN95 masks offer consumers the highest level of protection against the coronavirus, as these types of masks are made with four or five layers of protection and have to meet the highest testing standards on the market. N95 masks filter out microscopic particles and have filter efficiencies of 95 percent or better. Most producers of N95 masks are registered with the FDA. 

N95 masks and KN95 masks clearly offer the most antiviral protection of practically any type of facial covering — that’s what makes some merchants so keen to sell fake ones or poor-quality replications. So how can you tell a quality N95 mask from a fake or a cheap imitation before putting your health at risk? It’s as simple as conducting a few quick tests. 

leakage test

Conduct a leakage test. The layers of genuine KN95 masks are waterproof. You can verify this by pouring a small amount of water into a mask and watching for any leaks. There shouldn’t be any leaks, even small droplets forming on the bottom of the mask, for at least a minute.



smell test

Conduct a smell test. When you observe a smell, your nose takes in an imperceptible amount of whatever it is you’re smelling. Thus, you shouldn’t be able to smell much when wearing a quality KN95 mask that filters out microscopic particles. Put on the mask that you’d like to test and empty a packet of Sweet And Low (or any common sweetener) onto a flat surface. Try sniffing the sweetener with the mask on, then with the mask off. If your N95 mask is guinea and of good quality, you should only be able to smell the sweetener faintly with the mask on.

check labels

Check the labels. Manufacturers of fake or low-quality masks may slap an FDA logo on their product and claim that the masks are FDA-approved, but that’s not actually how the process works. Mask manufacturers can register with the FDA, but the FDA does not actually test products itself, and submitting products for quality testing isn’t part of the registration process. If a company is registered with the FDA, that’s a good sign that the business you’re considering purchasing from is legitimate. If you see a product with the FDA logo on it, conversely, you should take that as a sign to avoid purchasing that product. This distinction is one that not many consumers are aware of, and unscrupulous companies that produce inferior products often try to exploit this lack of public knowledge to their advantage.

check layers

Check the layers of the mask. You’ll have to sacrifice one mask for this final test, but we think it’s worth it for the verification of quality. N95 masks should have at least four layers of protection, which you can check by cutting one of your masks in half and separating the layers to count them. Please note when testing our five-layer KN95 masks that the cream-colored, melt-blown, and non-woven filter layers of our masks are thin and fine, which could make them difficult to handle and separate from the layers of the mask when testing.

Get Top-Quality Antiviral Protection Today

When it comes to protection against viruses, germs, wildfire smoke, and everything else life can throw your way, it pays to invest in quality! At TenMasks we offer five-layer KN95 masks that provide an unbeatable 99% filter efficiency along with a comfortable, adjustable fit and minimal inward air leakage. Visit our online shop to order a ten-pack for your and your loved ones’ protection today!

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