FAQ: How to Double-Mask? When Should I Be Using Two Masks?

What is double-masking? Here’s all you need to know.

2 min read

With the rise of more transmissible variants and unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases in India, taking good preventative measures is more important than ever. And, double-masking is one of them.

To put it simply, double-masking is when you wear two face masks instead of one.

According to United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while single masks lead to reduction of transmission in COVID-19, double masks offer strengthened protection.

So, who should be double-masking? How and when should you do it? Here’s all you need to know.

What is double-masking?

Double-masking refers to wearing a surgical mask and then a cloth mask over it, to reduce the risk of transmission of respiratory droplets carrying the coronavirus.

How does this work?

For the CDC study, researchers placed two models six feet apart to check how many particles were released from one and inhaled by the other. It was observed that when the models wore one mask, it blocked 40 percent of those particles, in comparison to over 80 percent in those who wore two masks.

The additional layer creates an extra barrier, which prevents the virus from entering through your nose or mouth.

What do I need to double-mask?

You just need a:

  • Surgical mask
  • A washed, sundried cloth mask

How do I double-mask?

  • Fold your surgical mask into two
  • Tie a knot on either sides
  • Tuck in the sides
  • Wear it – covering your nose and mouth
  • Now, take your cloth mask and wear it over the surgical mask
  • Make sure that your cloth mask is thick enough to block some sun

Should I double-mask even if I am wearing an N95 mask?

No, if you are wearing a genuine N95 mask, you must avoid double masking, experts have advised on United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Then, why not just wear two surgical masks?

Wearing two surgical masks is not recommended. They may do a great job filtering viral particles, but are not a great fit and may end up allowing transmission of respiratory droplets.


Where should I be wearing double masks?

Basically, double-masking is good in any space where physical distancing is difficult.

  • Crowded places like shopping malls
  • Hospitals
  • Indoor spaces with poor ventilation
  • Public transport like bus, metro

Is it mandatory to double-mask in India?

No, there are no such rules. However, it is best to take precautions amid the spike.

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