A study conducted by researchers at Florida Atlantic University has found that the best type of non-medical face mask to protect against coronavirus is a stitched mask made from two layers of quilting fabric.

With mask-wearing mandatory or at least encouraged in many areas to slow the spread of the virus, many Americans have taken to making DIY masks or buying low-cost ones from the store. While none of these masks reach the level of effectiveness that medical-grade masks and respirators do, some of them are still better than others.

In the study, researchers used a mannequin head, a manual pump, and a smoke generator to approximate a human sneeze. Then, they mapped the paths of droplets to see how they were altered by various kinds of masks.

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According to the study, droplets from an uncovered cough could travel over 8 feet. But with various kinds of masks, that distance was much more limited. Here’s how each type stacked up against each other.

Stitched-quilting fabric mask: 2.5 inches

Cone-style mask: 8 inches

Folded cotton handkerchief: 1.25 feet

Bandana: 3 feet

This data helps explain why organizations like the WHO and the CDC recommend masks in settings where social distancing is not possible. The WHO also says that mask-users should make sure it’s not too loose and that it covers both the mouth and nose. Additionally, wearers should keep them in a clean bag if they plan to reuse them, and wash them daily with soap and water.

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