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Cloth Masks

Cloth Face Masks: Your Questions Answered

By April 29, 2020May 6th, 2022No Comments

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

North Ridge has opened its Cape Town factory to manufacture reusable cloth masks for the personal protection of the general public and support of our staff members. 

Why do I need to wear a cloth face mask? 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize have urged South Africans to wear masks to slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). This is based on data on how COVID-19 spreads. Wearing masks in public is the new normal. 

When do I need to wear a cloth face mask? 

A cloth face mask should be worn whenever people are in a community setting, in situations where you may be near people, including grocery stores and pharmacies. Note that cloth face masks are not a substitute for social distancing.

Why are the cloth masks made out of hemp? 

Other than the obvious environmental benefit of using a reusable, washable fabric mask; hemp is an eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to other fabrics commonly used in cloth masks. Hemp is naturally anti-bacterial, hypo-allergenic and is stronger than cotton. We will be using a hemp blend (55% hemp and 45% organic cotton at 190gsm) to ensure you get all the benefits of hemp while still keeping the masks comfortable to wear.

How many layers does the cloth mask have? 

Our masks have two protective hemp layers and each mask comes with 5 removable Brits D15 Filter elements (the filter is inserted into a pouch in the middle, adding a third protective layer).

Why do the cloth masks have a filter? 

We wanted to make the masks as effective as possible. A Brits nonwoven filter element for masks disrupts the transport system of the virus by controlling and trapping the respiratory microdroplets of 5micron and above generated by talking, coughing and sneezing. The filter allows the mask to entrap many smaller particles as well but is 95% effective for microdroplets above 5micron. 

How long do the filters last? 

Once a filter has been sterilised five times, a new filter needs to be inserted. To put this into perspective, if you are only going out once a week, the filter will last five weeks.

Where can I get additional filters once I’ve run out?

If you’ve run out of filters, you’re welcome to contact us via email to purchase more. We’re not adding additional filters to the website as we’d like to prevent stockpiling. Alternatively, you can create your own filter by inserting a piece of cotton or polycotton into the pocket of the mask instead, however, we cannot guarantee this will be as effective as the Brits filter.

Do you make cloth masks for children? 

We do not currently manufacture children’s cloth face masks. Please note that no mask should be placed on children aged two and under due to the suffocation risk. 

Who else shouldn’t wear a cloth mask? 

Anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Do I still need to practice the other precautions advised to prevent contracting COVID-19 when wearing a cloth mask? 

Yes, wearing a cloth mask is an additional public health measure people should practice. Cloth masks can offer some protection from respiratory viruses, so long as the individual wearing them uses them properly and consistently. Masks should support and not replace other precautions such as frequent hand washing, limiting outings and social distancing.

Why can’t I wear medical-grade face masks?

Medical grade, surgical masks and N95 respirators are in short supply globally and need to be preserved for our frontline health workers.

How should I wear my cloth mask? 

Place the mask over your nose and mouth and tie the elastics in a comfortable position behind your head and neck. Once comfortably tied, you can just pull the elastics over your head when removing the mask. The mask should fit snugly but comfortably.

How does one safely remove a used cloth face mask?

Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing the face mask. Remove the mask from your face carefully – do not touch the mask, remove by the elastics only. Wash your hands and face using COVID-19 protocols immediately. 

Should my cloth mask be washed or otherwise cleaned regularly? 

Yes, all new masks and filters must be sterilised with boiling water before use and after each wear.


Masks can be purchased via our sister company, Ubuntu Baba.  Learn more about our reusable hemp cloth masks here.