Mask guide

Just like the cell phone, wallet or keys, the face mask has become a must-have item. It must be worn everywhere, both in enclosed spaces such as stores, cinemas and theaters and on the street – evenwhen the safety distance can be guaranteed.

Here you will find out what kind of masks exist and which are the most effective. We will also mention some tips on what to do and what not to do with them and, of course, about the biodegradable face mask revolution.

Types of masks

According to the General Council of the College of Pharmacists, there are three main official groups to classify masks: hygienic or surgical, FFP2 and FFP3 or high efficiency.

  • Hygienic or surgical: they are regulated by the UNE 0064 Specification. It prevents the wearer from infecting others, but does not prevent the wearer from being infected by another person. They are the most suitable for children. This type of mask is disposable and its useful time is eight hours. It has a filtration efficiency of 78%.

  • FFP2: the World Health Organization (WHO) points out that, although these masks can be used by anyone, they are intended for healthcare workers, as they are the most exposed to bacteriological threats. They can be disinfected with boiling water at 100º, although it is not highly recommended because they can become deformed and lose effectiveness. It has a shelf life of one week and an efficacy of 92%.
  • FFP3: very similar to FFP2. They are also recommended for healthcare personnel and should be discarded after each use – they can also be boiled, but this is not recommended. Its useful time is one week and its filtration efficiency is 98%.

Tips for treating with masks


Depending on the type of mask, they can be treated in one way or another, but there are certain practices that should not be carried out under any circumstances:

  • According to Ecoembes and the Ministry of Health, it is advisable to dispose of used masks in the “leftovers” container. It is the most appropriate and where recycling
    recycling work will be carried out
    will be carried out more exhaustively.
  • The useful life depends on the type of mask, although fabric masks can be reused if they are washed at least at 60º and as long as the fabric is not deteriorated.

  • Masks should never be left in the sun to “kill viruses” or sprayed with alcohol or disinfectant. They deteriorate more rapidly and lose their effectiveness.
  • If they get wet with water, saliva or sweat, they should be discarded immediately. Moisture helps microorganisms to proliferate and can become a source of infection.
  • Try not to leave the mask on the chin or in the hand when it is not necessary. A good solution is to carry a small wooden or cloth case to keep it in.
    Reusing and recycling objects
    is a good way to help the environment while protecting ourselves and others.

Biodegradable masks

The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) gave the green light to masks containing a nanofiber filter, making them biodegradable. They are completely washable, their filtration capacity is 10 times higher than conventional masks and they are applicable to both FFP2 and FFP3 types.

This proposal was prompted by the amount of masks that were being discarded every day and the problem it was causing to the environment.

Currently, the Spanish company Bionicia S.L. is the only company that will be able to distribute this new type of mask, but the rest of the European countries are already interested in acquiring them, since they improve the quality of life of people and the planet.

Wearing a mask every day is already a reality that we all, as responsible citizens, must comply with. However, we must not forget to complement it with good personal hygiene and always pay attention to the safety measures that are being implemented.

Let’s go for it!