“We are conducting a study evaluating a wide range of household materials as resources for constructing DIY face masks,” said Professor Sarah D. Brooks, director of the school’s Center for Atmospheric Chemistry and the Environment (CACE).
The university is using aerosol counting and sizing equipment to produce airborne samples of non-biological particles, to test how well certain materials can filter them out.
The study tested the effectiveness of N95 respirators — which were found to be completely effective in stopping the non-biological surrogate particles — against the effectiveness of masks made from household articles.
N95 respirators were determined to be the best option, while coffee filters and bandanas were found to be the least effective choice.
“Effective face protection must fit snugly around the mouth and nose, and must be made of appropriate materials,” Brooks explained. “Our results show that while a standard bandana provides some protection, certain household materials, including room air filters and vacuum bags, are more effective at blocking the virus’s passage through a mask.
“However, many other household materials do not provide additional filtering capability,” she continued. “In summary, make your cloth masks, but stitch a layer of either of these into its lining, and you may have a mask with much better filtering capability and better protection against transmission of the virus.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott detailed plans on Monday to reopen the state for business, allowing places like retail stores, restaurants and movie theaters to open back up to customers at a limited capacity by Friday.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said wearing masks will be encouraged, but not required.
Other states set to lift coronavirus restrictions by Friday include Pennsylvania, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, North Dakota and Arizona.
As of Wednesday, there were over 1 million confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. and nearly 60,000 deaths.
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly and Morgan Phillips contributed to this report