Guide to the N95 Respiratory Mask

With the recent Covid-19 Pandemic supposedly sweeping through the world, you may be wondering if you really need the N95 mask to keep you and your loved one safe from the virus. Some of you may just think the Covid-19 is all just a ploy being hyped up by media to create demand for vaccines, toilet paper, and even bigger profits for special interest groups and greedy pharmaceutical companies. Regardless of what you think, you're reading this article because you are probably interested in getting your hands on one of the N95 masks.

So What is the N95 Mask?

A standard N95 mask (respirator) is a mask that covers your nose and mouth and helps protect the wearer from breathing in some hazardous substances such as toxic dust, smoke, gases, and mold. Quite literally, the “N” means “not oil-proof,” and “95” means that it is at least 95 percent efficient at filtering particles with a median diameter of greater than 0.3 μm.

Whether the filters are good enough to filter out the tiniest particles like viruses is yet to be tested. And according to OSHA, it does not offer protection against gases and vapors, so it may be a good mask for filtering out most particulates but if you really want to protect against airborne viruses you may want to go with an expensive oxygen mask. That's not to say it won't offer you some protection. It will for example protect you against sneezes.

Can N95 Masks really filter out these small particles?

Yes. N95 are particulate filters that employ multiple mechanisms that are effective at filtering a range of particles including those that are so small you cannot see them. In fact, as part of their certification process, NIOSH tests particulate respirators against submicron particles like soot, smoke, and ash.


Are N95 masks reusable?

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a body of the US government) directives, an N95 respirator can easily be reused, until it successfully maintains its structural as well as functional integrity. The N95 mask from can be reused and washed as long as its filters are replaced. Each filter can last you about 2 weeks to a month. 

So How does N95 fit with techwear?

Masks have long been a popular accessory among techwear enthusiasts, but somewhat of a peculiar if not shunned accessory in the western world. While it is socially acceptable to wear a mask in Asia, wearing a mask in the West has usually drawn negative attention, so many techwear enthusiasts have chosen not to wear the mask until now.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has surely made wearing masks the norm now and this social fad may be here to stay for quite some time. This may be good news for techwear enthusiasts who can now wear masks without raising eyebrows or negative attention in the public.

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