Recommend some reusable face masks

At a bit more than a year into this thing, I need to buy some washable face masks which fit properly. I prefer disposable surgical style masks for anytime I need to wear one for a long time, but I feel silly using a disposable to walk the kid to school, or to run into a store for 10 minutes. The washable ones I have are a mix of hand made and whatever I could find from a year ago, and they’re all pretty annoying.

My main gripe is that in order to cover my nose, the masks will cut across my eyes, or get hit by my eyelashes when I blink. They tend to ride up, so I’m constantly pulling the mask down, trying to find that sweet spot between covering my nose, but not getting in my eyes.

Now there are thousands of different masks available. Do you have any you really like? These are what I think I’m looking for. Of course, not being able to try them on, I don’t know for sure.

  • Ear loops (head straps get tangled in my hair)
  • Nose wire (the few I have with a nose wire are far more comfortable than the ones without)
  • Contoured top so the mask curves up to cover my nose, and then curves down to avoid my eyes
  • Two or more layers of cotton or other good material (I mean, I may as well try to get something effective)
  • Washable (I already have disposable ones that I like)

We mainly use gaiters. The only time I wear a mask with ear loops is when I go to the barber.

I got some from this nice lady back when it was starting.
Market Mask Maker | Facebook
The lanyard style are nice because they just hang around your neck when not needed. And the nose wire keeps them out of my eyes and prevents glasses fogging.

I went the gaiter route when trying to find something my kid would wear, and I have the same problem with those that I have with lots of regular face masks. The straight cut across the top means if it covers my nose, then it gets in my eyes.

I don’t care about my face being covered (it was great in the winter) or find it hard to breathe with a mask. It’s really just I want it to stay out of my eyes.

Thanks for the advice, though, I do appreciate tips about what people finds works for them.

Yeah, I have to have a substantial wire in any mask I use. Even basic “surgical masks” let air out to each side of my nose. Glasses fog up, and my eyes have been drying out due to air blowing in them.

So, even though my wife made me a nice cloth mask, I’ve been wearing KN95 masks. The heavy-duty wire molds around my nose perfectly.

A neighbor imported some from S. Korea and put a note on NextDoor that for $10, she’d put a pack of five in her mailbox to pick up. Now I’ve found similar ones at Harbor Freight (on a whim, I picked up a 2-pack for a couple of bucks at the register, and they work great!).

Haven’t tried cleaning them yet, but at this price, I’ll probably toss them after a week and go buy a stack of them.

The most comfortable I’ve found are from roots.ca. They have a US store as well.

I’m thinking I probably should get a box of those pointy KN95s. I do have a real N95 and an R95 that I would wear and then let air out at the beginning of the pandemic, but I haven’t bothered with them in awhile. They did work well, and sealed nicely around my nose and eyes. I shaved a year ago to wear them, but once I moved to other mask styles I stopped. I imagine a *95 mask with a poor beard seal is still better than a cloth mask.

To wear flat surgical masks I fold it to get a better fit. It pushes it out so it is similar to those triangular KN95 masks. If you don’t feel like watching the video. Fold the mask in half top to bottom (long ways). The ends of each earloop should be touching. Tie each earloop at the base of the mask, so the mask is held in the folded position. Push in the corners of the mask where it is folded, to make “sides”. Then put it on and adjust it so the sides seal on your cheeks, and adjust the nose wire.

The tied loops also pull it tighter, so the seal is better. Based on how the mask moves in and out as I breath, I think it’s getting a good seal.

Someone mentioned this, so I checked; actual N95 masks are starting to become available. The Home Depot website has some for in a ten-pack under two dollars each while others are closer to three dollars each. (Quite a bit more than they cost pre-pandemic, but better than completely unavailable.)

That’s what I’ve used for over a year now. i.e. about like these from Amazon, although not this specific brand or supplier.

I don’t treat them as exactly disposable. I have 7, each marked for a day of the week. After a day’s use it sits on a shelf for 6 days so any disease can die of old age and exposure to sunlight. Then I wear it again.

Even wearing one 8-10 hours a day I find I can get 15-20 uses out of one mask before the elastic breaks, it gets too dirty, etc. But once it gets ratty I replace it with a new one. That amounts to using roughly 20 masks per year per person. At which point no matter what they cost apiece they’re practically free. And they don’t cost that much to begin with; at least not now.

I have several from this Etsy seller that are super comfortable, have nose wire, adjustable straps and elastic under the chin which makes it feel form-fitted to your face and doesn’t feel like it’s hanging down. They’re 3 layers with a pocket to add a filter.

I tried a half dozen types of cloth masks before I settled on masks from LA Linen. They fit me very well, have a nose wire and ear loops and cover my whole mouth and fit below my chin.

Yeah, my problem was I hit choice overload on Amazon. I’m sure some of those masks are exactly what they claim to be, but others are counterfeit, knock-offs, or just poor-quality, and it is very difficult to tell which is which. Particularly because a listing might start as a high quality mask, and then later switch to a lower quality one.

Anyway, I think I’ll get some from ProjectN95 which is a non-profit that buys in bulk directly from the manufacturers, and then sells smaller quantities. The prices are cheaper than Amazon and other places, and free shipping. Or so they claim. It might still be a scam, but at least it’s a different scam.

Those look really good, thanks for the pointer.

Those also look like they type I want, thanks.

I saw an old dude wearing one of those yesterday, sideways. As in the straps went around his neck and over his head. He looked like a duck.

Probably somebody registering his pointless protest about mask mandates by wearing one in a way that was guaranteed to be ineffective. Idjit if so!

For sure having faith in the quality that’s a problem. But it’s equally a problem at e.g. Home Depot. They may only stock 2 kinds, so you’re not choice overloaded. But who knows how many layers of Chinese middlemen they went through from the Chinese factory to whoever HD bought them from? HD’s due diligence can’t extend far enough back, assuming they even do any at all, to know that what it says on the package is really what they all really are.

3m makes a reusable facemask that has all the things you want.

Those look good. Two 3 packs are cheaper than one 5 pack. Both are in stock near me.

The reviews are a bit all over the place. I suspect, just like any other clothing, some people like them, and others don’t. $10 isn’t too much to gamble on them, though.

Let us know how you like them.

This is for the 3M reusable masks from Home Depot.

Because I’m incapable of making a short post, a bit of a story. The nearby Home Depot showed 50+ 3-packs ($10) in stock, and even the aisle and bin location of them, but they weren’t there. Consultation with employees revealed that the masks move around all the time, but nobody could find them. I did eventually find the 5-packs ($20), and one of the employees offered to sell me a 5-pack for $10, because he understood the stupidity of the pricing model, and that nobody should buy a $20 5-pack.

So I now have 5 of these things. They’re perfectly fine reusable masks. They are not magical. They do meet my main requirement of not getting in my eyes. They have flip-up nose piece, so the main body of the mask is well below my eyes, but my nose stays covered. there is also a flip down chin piece.

The mask material is not soft. It isn’t rough or abrasive, it’s just a smooth, almost plastic feeling cotton.

I wore one for several hours while snowshoeing, and it was fine. Mask wearing is much more comfortable when it is cold, as the mask becomes cold weather gear, instead of just an annoyance. It is not horrible at glasses fogging, but certainly doesn’t prevent it. Unless I met people on the trail, I just wore it under my nose, which did prevent any fogging.

Anyway, thanks for the tip. At the price of $2 each, these are exactly what I wanted. Even at $3.33 each, I’d say they’re good. The reviews are mediocre at best, but that’s because they’re not magical. It’s still a face mask, and is annoying in all the ways we’ve come to expect, but at least avoids some of the worst problems I was having.

And with 5, even when other members of the household steal them (as they did to my other best facemask), there will still be one available for me.

Thanks for the post!
I’ve not tried them myself, but learned about them while looking for something else on the 3m site and was curious.
The problem I have with masks, is that my nose turns up at the end so any mask with a snug fit kinda squashes it down which gets uncomfortable after a while. Small complaint, I know, but I am also looking for a mask with that “magical” fit!

Another reusable mask option are the silicone ones from a company called Castlegrade which have a replaceable filter good for up to 32 hours or one week.