Face Masks 101

Order by phone (541) 234-3875 or email at visiblysold@gmail.com

COVID-19 has caused a lot of things to change in our lives, and one of these changes is the introduction to wearing a face mask in public spaces. This page is to inform you about why face masks are important, how to wear one, and how to keep your mask in good shape. To learn about the masks made at Visibly Sold, scroll down to Olson Mask Care and Use Instructions section.

Why wear a mask?

There is a lot of different information on the internet when it comes to using a mask. At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, United States guidelines told people to only wear masks if they were a healthcare worker, infected with the virus, or a caregiver to someone who is sick. However, as we learn more about social steps we can take to slow the virus, masks are emerging as an important safety measure every citizen can adopt to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Masks can help protect the person wearing the mask from other people’s coughing and sneezing, but in addition, a mask helps protect everyone around the wearer. Masks prevent the spread of the virus from others to the wearer, but also the wearer to society. Wearing a mask is not only helping you, but can also help keep others around you safe.

Since the period in which the virus enters the body and the patient starts to feel sick for COVID-19 is quite long, anyone without symptoms might be spreading the virus for up to 14 days. By promoting masks for all, society may be able to dramatically reduce the risk of spread.



How do I wear a mask?

Different masks can provide varying protection, but all masks only work when used properly.

  1. Make sure your mask is clean. Masks should be cleaned between uses for top performance.
  2. Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. (WHO, 2020)
  3. Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask. (WHO, 2020)
  4. Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. (WHO, 2020)
  5. Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks. (WHO, 2020)
  6. IMPORTANT: To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. (WHO, 2020)

Visibly Sold – Olson Mask Care and Use Instructions

Visibly Sold’s masks are called “Olson” masks, and are based off of research and prototypes made by UnityPoint Health. These masks are made from 100% cotton fabric, and feature a shape contoured to the nose and face. Olson masks are more effective than traditional masks when used correctly with a HEPA filtration layer. The the pocket inside this mask allows a HEPA filter to inserted and changed after every use.

How do I insert a HEPA filtration layer?

Olson Masks have a front and back. The front side is the smooth cover, and the face side of the masks consists of two cheek panels and mouth cover. Between the mouth panels and cheek panels is an opening on either side. This opening works as the entry point for placing your HEPA filter.

Open the mask, and insert your cut filter into the pocket under the mouth pieces. Adjust the filter until it lies flush underneath the mouth piece. Adjust and shape as needed, then apply the mask safely to the face as instructed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

What is HEPA filtration?

HEPA filters are made from tiny strands that filter out unwanted particles in the air.

HEPA filters can be made from one of two materials, either from borosilicate glass fibers or polypropylene, a type of plastic. It is important when selecting a filter for your mask to use polypropylene-based HEPA filters, NOT borosilicate. It is possible that tiny borosilicate particles can travel into the lungs, which can cause lung problems (American Lung Association, 2020).

Our filters are cut from a polypropylene filter cloth rated for blocking viruses.

How do I take care of my mask?

Our masks are made of 100% cotton material, and are machine washable. Between uses, put the mask in the washer and air dry.


How do I ensure my mask is working?

The most effective masks provide a close seal to the face. When you breath in, the material of your mask should suck in towards your face.

To put on the mask most effectively, start by securing the straps or elastic. As you adjust the straps, make sure the mask is centered and is fit over your nose and mouth. You can use a variety of tools to help adjust the fit of your mask, including double sided tape and pipe-cleaners or metal wire.

Double Sided Tape: double sided tape can be applied to the edges of the mask to seal the edges to the face. Remove the tape after use and wash the mask. Make sure to wash your hands after you are finished handling the used mask.

Pipe Cleaner/Metal Wire: A pipe cleaner or metal wire can be inserted in a straight line through the cheek, over the nose, and over to the other cheek along the top of the mask. The wire can be bent to create a snug seal over the nose and cheek area. Remove wire when washing the mask.

For more information about the Olson Mask, including pattern instructions and details about using the metal wire/pipe cleaner method, visit https://www.unitypoint.org/cedarrapids/sewing-surgical-masks.aspx.

Order by phone (541) 234-3875 or email at visiblysold@gmail.com


Word Health Organization, When and How to Use Masks, 2020. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks

UnityPoint Health, Olson Masks, 2020. https://www.unitypoint.org/cedarrapids/questions-amp-answers.aspx

American Lung Association, Particle Pollution, 2020. https://www.lung.org/clean-air/outdoors/what-makes-air-unhealthy/particle-pollution

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