FAQ Masks & Filters
Mask Use and Reusability
How long can I use my mask for?
Disposable masks in the context of COVID-19 are designed for the protection of personal and community health. For this reason protection and hygiene are paramount.
Ideally a disposable mask should only be used once. Indeed for a personal respirator in a medical environment, this is the absolute design and regulatory intent.
For the everyday consumer there is some logical leeway on this guideline as well as a practical balance of cost and waste considerations. If worn with careful handling (see handling instructions supplied with the masks) a Brezy™ mask can be worn several times during the day, often for a number of days.
The filter in the mask is robust and will withstand normal use, but do not forget that this is designed as a single / limited use disposable product. Frequent on and off, storage and handling will cause the mask body to become weaker resulting in a poorer face seal, or some fibres could appear through the facings which (do not affect performance but) may create minor discomfort. If either of these occur it is clear you need to replace with a clean new Brezy™.
Under careful handling Brezy™ masks can be used until they become worn, dirty, damaged, or breathing becomes difficult. After this point, the product should be disposed of safely.
Depending on the conditions in which the products are used you may choose to change your mask more frequently.
How many times should the Waire™ P2 respirator be reused?
Respirators are designed for single use to provide ultimate hygiene. Under COVID conditions for consumers, a CDC recommendation for respirators suggests no greater than 5 uses per respirator.
We recommend having several respirators to rotate through, keeping each respirator dry and safely kept in a bag with a couple of days between uses, and apply the same discipline as recommended above for Brezy™ masks.
Are your masks and respirators washable?
Our mask products are not designed to be washed. Washing compromises the filtration performance of the filter so washing is not recommended for COVID applications.
The mask outside surfaces can however be kept free of bacterial and viral particles by using them in conjunction with Oxafence™ Mask Spray and its application instructions.
Respirators and Filter Performance
What is the P2 performance level and how does this compare to N95 / KN95 / FFP2 / KF94 designations?
The P2 product for NZ and Australia is the equivalent respirator performance of the US NIOSH’s N95, European FFP2, and Korean KF94 standard and in some cases the Chinese KN95 (with respect to the latter look for a certification number and check the authenticity as a large proportion of these are poor performing fakes).
The Waire™ P2 product will provide the same level of protection as any other certified respirator that is marked N95 / FFP2 / KF94.
Always look for a verified certifiers registration name or mark and number on your respirator and check it out for your safety. The Waire™ P2 is certified by BSI under license BMP733440. It can be verified here.
How important is it to have a mask that fits?
Protection is a combination of three key factors: filtration efficiency (the ability of the mask to capture particles), fit (the ability of the mask to seal against your face), and breathability (how easy it is to breathe through).
It is important that the mask acts as a good filter, but if the mask does not seal snugly against the face, then the inhaled air will just bypass the mask and leak through the sides of the face, compromising the protection of the mask.
How do I make sure my mask fits?
- When the mask is donned, ensure that the nose piece is pressed snugly against the nose bridge to achieve a seal. The nose is a common path for air to leak through the mask, as well as the chin.
- Perform what’s called a “seal check”. Use your hands to cover as much of the mask as possible, then inhale and exhale. If there are obvious leaks around the mask, then it is likely to be noticeable when you perform the seal check. If you notice that there are leaks, then you can readjust the mask to improve its seal.
- If in doubt, watch this video here.
If you have invested in cloth masks, ensure you have some assurance of protection rather than just the appearance of protection. The Helix.iso range of filters is designed for this purpose.
Do I need to purchase HELIX.iso filters for your mask range?
No, our Brezy™ masks and Waire™ P2 respirators all have filters built-in. The HELIX.iso drop-in filters are designed for sewn cloth masks that have pockets to hold a replaceable filter.
Which way do I insert the HELIX.iso filter into my cloth mask?
We recommend inserting the HELIX.iso filter into the pocket of your cloth mask so the fluffier side is away from the face.
Mask Materials and Sizes
Are your masks and filters biodegradable/compostable?
While all of our products use wool fibre, they are not fully biodegradable or compostable.
Will the wool cause allergic reactions?
We have found no peer reviewed cases demonstrating that wool causes allergies. Most wool “allergies” are sensitivities with the skin, which only (sometimes) happen when there is direct contact between the ends of the wool fibres with the pores on the skin, causing slight irritation. As there is no direct next-to-skin contact with wool in our products, this should not be a problem. For more information, click here.
Do you offer different mask sizes?
Yes, our Brezy™ masks have a Medium/Large size and a Small/Medium size. The M/L size is designed to fit most adults. The S/M size is designed to fit children over 8, teenagers and petite adults.
Our designers researched a wide range of New Zealand face shapes to come up with the best fit for the Waire™ P2 respirator. The Brezy™ mask benefits from this research and is the same shape as the Waire™ P2.
What do you recommend for international air travel?
We recommend a combination of our Brezy™ mask and Waire™ P2 respirator. Both of these have options to use head straps so the mask is held more snugly against the face, giving the best possible level of protection for you. The Brezy™ is more breathable so we recommend using them for lower-risk areas (eg. mixed indoor/outdoors, fewer people, inside the plane cabin). The Waire™ P2 offers higher protection so we recommend using them for higher risk-areas (eg. amongst crowds, tight indoor spaces with little ventilation).
This is the same advice and product combination that we supplied to the NZ Team when they attended the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.
It is difficult to bring the lower strap over my head. How do I put the mask on?
If you find there is too much strain on the elastic when putting on our masks, try cutting the head straps in half and tying them to your ears instead.