How does filtration compare between KN95 and cloth face masks?

COVID-19 has increased our knowledge and vocabulary about the sanitizers (alcohol-based can kill viruses and no other sanitizer is efficient to kill viruses) and all about masks and their approvals. The work quarantine was new but soon became a part of our lives as it could prove to help reduce the cases. Quarantine implies that the person isolates themselves from the masses, including the family. The disease of COVID-19 has claimed millions of lives and has forced the nations to undergo lockdowns. There is no concrete treatment for COVID-19 except for the long wait for a vaccine to eradicate the virus. The vaccine is yet to hit the market, and how will it be given to the public is a question. The time consumed for giving the vaccine to all the citizens will belong. Till then, the economy has to work, and it is not possible to stay in homes. Thus, people have started to go out. People have started going out, and this will further increase the cases. Therefore learning more about the masks and their use will prove immense help to stop the spread of disease and protect one from getting infected.   

The pandemic requires that as per the requirement, different masks are to be used. The NIOSH and FDA approval is required for them to be considered eligible for use in the medical premises. The authorities approve N95 and KN95 masks for being used in the medical premises. 

How does the KN95 mask work? 

The KN95 respirator mask is made of high quality, safe, and soft material that is comfortable and gives 95% filtration. The number 95 has been designated the mask as it filters out 95% of the airborne particles. The filtration layer acts as a barrier to particles of various sizes through mechanical entrapment. It protects the wearer from bacteria and dust. The KN95 masks have elastic straps and adjustable nose clips for fitting perfectly different faces. The authorities recommend the KN95 mask being a single-use mask; it is a respirator coated with a virus coat on the outer layer and is not an anti-viral drug. It is an equivalent N95 mask approved by the FDA and CE. It is a 3D foldable mask that is made of 5-ply thick non-woven material. It provides low breathing resistance and lets the wearer breathe smoothly. The outermost layer is thick and provides excellent filtering. The mask is designed with comfortable ear loops; thus, wearing the mask for long hours is not a problem.     

The mask meets the requirements of China GB2626 standards, and GB implies China's standards. Like the N95 masks, it gives proven filtration from non-oily particles. When the N95 masks are scarce, the KN95 masks will serve the same purpose. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) claims that the KN95 masks are the perfect substitute for the US approved N95 masks.

How does the cloth mask work?

Cloth mask covers to filter only droplets released when the wearer talks, coughs, or sneezes. If everyone wears a cloth mask in the public setting, the virus's spread can be slowed. Rather the public must wear masks while stepping out. The cloth mask should cover the nose, mouth, and chin to offer complete protection. However, the masks should lead to no breathing resistance for the wearer.  

What is the filtration difference that makes KN95 masks and cloth face masks?


The KN95 respirator is made from 5ply nonwoven material. It is a flat rectangular shaped, filtering facepiece respirator. The cloth mask is made from any regular material and easily made at home with any material. KN95 masks are made in factories that are approved by the CDC with special machines. The cloth masks can be made anywhere without any specific tools. Rather due to the pandemic situation, several companies started to manufacture cloth masks to help the masses. 


FDA regulated KN95 respirators are intended for a medical purpose. KN95 masks offer both source control and protection for the wearer against exposure to splashes and sprays or droplets of the other's infectious materials. Cloth masks are approved only for use by the general public. FDA has claimed that the KN95 are N95 equivalent, therefore, reserved for doctors, nurses, and emergency responders.


The KN95 mask is meant for a single time use like the N95 masks. However, if the mask is sanitized with ultraviolet rays, then it can be used again. To dispose of the mask following the manufacturer’s instruction is mandatory. The cloth masks are meant for multiple time use. One can wash it and wear it again till it gets torn. There is no prescribed way to dispose of the cloth mask. 


During the pandemic situation and public health emergency, the CDC recommends healthcare personnel wear face masks at all times. The mask is worn while they are in the health care facility also during the time spent in common rooms or break rooms where they could meet the co-workers or visitors. Cloth masks are to be used in public settings when a person steps out of the home.       


The KN95 respirator is a face respirator that filters 95% of both large and small particles when the wearer inhales. A KN95 respirator is a respiratory protective device that gives a very close facial fit and effectively filters the airborne particles. Cloth masks offer no such filtration levels. 

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