Everywhere you turn, you can spot somebody wearing a face mask – to limit the spread of COVID-19.

In many regions it is unlawful to move around in public without a face mask. Other countries simply made wearing a face mask optional.

The science behind the use of face mask is quite basic – an effective mechanical barrier is proven to dampen the spread of micro organisms, and more importantly the corona virus.

The problem is that no mask can absolutely keeps anyone from spreading or contracting Covid-19. Every face covering confer a certain degree of protection that can be objectively confirmed following a series of tedious scientific steps.

Depending on the materials used to make a face mask, Facemask Protection differ..

However, there are quick tests that you can perform at home on N95, KN95 masks and indeed other face coverings, that will give you an idea if the mask is effective. While passing them doesn’t guarantee that a mask works, failing them is a big sign that they don’t, and might be counterfeit masks sold as part of a scam.

This test was performed using a KN-95 Face mask, the mask most readers’ purchased the most masks this month. It came in a 10-pack of individually wrapped items, and was provided to me free by Honest PPE. They are both DFA and CE Registered, though not NIOSH approved.

The Water Test

A test performed on the KN95 mask involved filling it with water and then letting it sit.

After about ten to thirty minutes of the water sitting inside the mask, not a single drop of water is noted to have slipped through the face mask.

So that’s a pass, for what it’s worth.

Image Credit: Varsoy Healthcare

The Candle Test

Another recommended test is attempting to blow out a candle when wearing the mask, most famously demonstrated by pop-scientist Bill Nye. He attempted to blow out a candle from roughly 6-inches away using a cloth mask, but since a KN95 is supposed to be significantly stronger than that, it was virtually impossible to put out the fire.

The flame didn’t move.

Since the mask passed with such flying colors, it is good to reiterate that these tests are not scientific but more of anecdotal observations.

The smell test

This test is simple: you wear a mask, and see if you can smell something with a strong odor. You can use Scented Candles, Onions, whiskey or any other material with strong smell.

Haven tried different face masks, without my KN95 mask, I was able to smell the scented candle quite well, and with my ordinary face mask (an Everlane “100% Human” mask) the smell was still quite detectable, though perhaps marginally weaker.

When I was wearing the KN95, however, I couldn’t detect the candle at all.

Again: these are basic at-home tests. I’m certain they’re inferior to any test that could be performed in a laboratory, and I want to reiterate that even the most effective masks out there provide nowhere near as much safety as simply staying at home.

But if nothing else, they gave me something to do, and a little peace of mind — and both those things are pretty valuable right now.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here