In the past year we learned that a good face mask is a critical tool to help slow down spread of Covid-19. Since then we have been in a mask frenzy, building our collections, equip our children, and adapt our practices as new, scientific recommendations emerge.
Here are some of the masks and masking practices that I and other WIRED staff use to keep ourselves and our families safe. I also highlighted sustainable options, those from various and small manufacturers, as well as companies that donate to good causes. Try a few, but don’t forget to keep wash one’s hands regularly, staying home if possible and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from other people in public (preferably outdoors).
How we rate masks
New masks come out every week. While the space age technology and disinfectant properties are attractive, the most important quality of any mask is that it follows recommended guidelines from the United States Centers for Disease Control, fits well and is clean. A good reusable mask should completely cover your nose and mouth, use at least two layers of fabric, and be washable without damage. When I get a mask I use the light and candle test first. Can I see the light through the weave? Can I blow out a candle while wearing it? The weave of the mask should be tight enough to prevent you from doing either of these things. Then I wear them while shopping or walking my dog.
Update January 2021: We’ve removed and downgraded the old picks and added more info on N95s and double masking.