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Good mask, or bad?

Read a few articles recently that have highlighted the number of poorly made, or counterfeit, masks on the market. It seems that many of them simply don’t provide the filtration to keep you safe.

Here’s an article that may help when purchasing masks:

Another with specifics to look for.

This one is produced by the Dept of health in Valencia and is far more detailed, showing the packaging of crap or fake masks, as reported by various health organisations across Europe. It’s in Spanish, but basically if your box of masks is in here, you been sold a pup.



Most people in the US are using not KN95 or N95s, real or fake. If they are using anything it’s a cloth mask or surgical mask. Even if one can get an authentic mask they aren’t all well fitted. This is especially a problem for women’s smaller faces. I was able to get a box of authentic N95 from China with the headstraps and it fits me well. (Thanks @JJD for tips on where to buy) But they are about $5 each. I bought them for an emergency situation like having to take a plane trip or take a sick friend to the doctor.

There’s some indication that one should wear eye protection as well. Staying outdoors, distancing and limiting all contact with strangers are good supplements to masks.


N95 masks do not provide a higher level of protection than cloth unless they fit your face properly and you have been trained on how to wear them correctly. This requires a profession fitting. At my work I wear a cloth mask in all common areas and an N95 when I am in the lab. The N95 mask-wearing experience is a whole separate beast.
But really, at this point in the US, I am happy if someone is wearing a mask that covers both their mouth and nose. I keep my distance anyway.


Thanks for this info & links. I got a new customer deal on a packet of KN95 masks when ordering some organic shampoo. I figured they were useless, but turns out they are on the good list. Nice surprise. Unless they are counterfeit of course.
I ordered a gallon of some well-reviewed made in USA hand sanitizer (if the reviews were real, they were positive ones from gyms, pools, etc.) and realized when it arrived that the brand name is “Jermee.” Not confidence-inspiring, eh?


De nada :smile:

Currently we use the disposable surgical masks sold in all of the supermarkets here, works out around sixty cents a time.

One of the consumer organisations did a test on supermarket masks recently, the best performing one was from Lidl, a budget supermarket.

Ours (from Mercadona) were second on the list. :smile:

It appears that shortly N95 masks will no longer be available here, only those that conform to EU classification will be allowed, i.e. FFP2/5.


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There is a brand of hair products in Mexico called Grisi (pronounced exactly like “greasy”).
Then there’s the biggest commercial bread company “Bimbo” and a brand of candy called “Kranky”.


That is a pretty decent deal these days. My dr pays $7 each and buys in bulk. These were only $1 each until the pandemic. Many doctors are now charging an extra fee of $10-25 per visit per patient to compensate for the added expense.

I made a bunch of cloth masks, double layer. They fit well and are comfortable (well, as comfortable as wearing a mask can be). I use about 4 or 5, which are stashed in my car so I can put on a fresh one each time I get back in my car and drive to another store. I don’t necessarily wash them after each use, as long as they air out for several days.

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Early in the pandemic, we bought a UV sanitizer. It’s designed for cell phones. We use it to sanitize masks between washings.

You can sanitize even N95 masks in your instant pot: https://hartfordhealthcaremedicalgroup.org/about-us/news-center/news-detail?articleId=26488&publicid=465


Sort of true but there is a simple home test to see if you’ve got a good fit on the N95 mask.

If you can smell the bacon frying, it is a poor fit

Can’t smell bacon frying=adequate fit.

N95 masks are not effective when worn over most facial hair and when the nose piece isn’t shaped to the nose.

I have 4 N95 masks for the types of situations described by @KKC. $4.99 each. Reputable retailer. Btw I can’t smell bacon cooking when I wear them.

Most of the time I wear a 2 or 3 layer cloth mask.

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If your mask keeps slipping off your nose, add these. Remove before machine washing the mask



Thank you for wearing a mask at all. Most mask wearing that is recommended is more about you not spreading the virus rather than you not catching it.

That said protecting yourself is about getting a good proper fitting N95 + eye protection or a face shield. You’ll need to be extra careful putting them on and taking them off and make sure you sanitize your hands before and after removal as well as anything you’ve come into contact with otherwise the whole point of it is moot.


I wear masks for work every day and simple rule of thumb: if its comfortable and you can breathe easily, and it does not tickle your nose or drive you crazy, its probably not protecting you.

Or not protecting you enough…

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