Frequently Asked Questions
What are the toxins present in N95, surgical & other disposable masks?
What is the difference in breathability between the N95 and Unicorn mask?
Unicorn ASTM F3502 Masks offer High Performance breathability at 5.9mm h2o tested to the new ASTM F3502 standard. The lower the score, the more breathable. Our CDC recognized ASTM F3502 masks allow up to 15mm h2o (the higher the rating, the more difficult to breathe). NIOSH certified respirators have two different breathability limits: one for inhalation, the other for exhalation. For inhalation the air flow resistance (breathability) for N95s is ≈ 35mm h20, more than double the maximum breathability resistance allowed under the new ASTM F3502 standard!
How does your mask compare with other nanofiber masks that are washable?
Legitimate nanofiber is not recommended to be washed or to get wet. The moment it gets wet it loses electrostatic attraction, can mold/mildew easily even after drying out, can harbor bacteria and most importantly is more prone to fiber shedding. When nanofibers shed they can get embedded into the mucous membranes and lung tissue which can irritate these delicate tissues and lead to other respiratory problems over time, and at certain nano sizes the body cannot expel them. These fibers are not bioabsorbable and take 450yrs+ to break down.
We utilize a very different technology from reusable 'nano fabric' masks. In fact we strongly advise against the use of woven 'nano particles' in textiles, especially when combined with 'antibacterial' silver, copper or zinc particles for health reasons. We also do not endorse the use of carbon commonly found in PM 2.5 filters for mask filtration. Finally, we STRONGLY DISCOURAGE reusable cloth masks that have nanofiber sewn-in to the mask. Antibacterials, metal additives and carbon can actually be harmful to your lung health when worn for extended periods of time and breathed deep into your lungs. And nanofibers CANNOT be washed, without dangerous fiber shedding occuring. Once these nano sized fibers are inhaled, the lungs will not expel them out, due to their small 'nano' size. These nano fabric textiles often come from China and South Korea. BUYER BEWARE of any company selling a sewn-in nanofiber layer into their cloth reusable mask in an attempt to increase particle efficiency! These have not been adequately tested for fiber shedding and are not safe, especially for children's sensitive lungs. Regardless of any press endorsements, marketed particle efficiency, or claims they are making, you must educate yourself on the dangers of wearing any washable filter that has not undergone extensive fiber shedding lab testing that you can visibly see and request. Mold and bacteria issues are also very common with washable filter masks.
Unicorn masks utilize non-woven sonic electrospun nanotechnology (as opposed to a nano embedded woven textile). Being a continuous fiber and not anything related to nanoparticles, there is zero risk of inhalation of anything harmful. The nano fibers are encapsulated by two substrate layers of polypropylene further protecting against any possible fiber shedding. They are also Single Use filters which prevent the filter from breaking down, which can lead to shedding. Our filters are manufactured by a leading global nanotechnology company out of New Zealand (NOT China!) that is committed to health and safety. Our technology tests down to a much smaller particle size with greater efficiency ratings than nano textiles, and features dramatically higher breathability, greater thermal comfort (far less moisture buildup) and is much more lightweight (less than 1mm thick) than nano textiles. We encourage you to do your own research with all filtered mask companies, especially those claiming to use nanofiber or nanotechnology, and note the differences in verified USA lab tested results and care instructions. The proof is in the pudding as they say!
Finally, as a point of comparison with other nanofiber masks, ASTM masks (Level 1, 2 and 3) that are tested to the medical F2100-11 standard can often be confused with ASTM F3502-11 masks. The ASTM F2100-11 standard tests the filter material only as opposed to the whole mask (and is therefore not as thorough), using different sized particles to measure filtration efficiency than the F3502-21 test. The velocity, distance, speed and polarity of the particles are all different, resulting in a less rigorous challenge. In layman's terms the F2100 test is like an underhand softball pitch, whereas the F3502 test could be compared to a major league baseball pitch. F3502 testing uses a similar testing modality as NIOSH respirators, the Sodium Chloride Aerosol Challenge (NaCl), evaluating particle penetration and air flow resistance properties. When looking for a protection mask you want to look for a standard that tests the whole mask, instead of just the filter. The F3502 standard is the only standard that takes a four-prong approach addressing the most critical aspects of mask wearing, including particle efficiency, breathability, fit/leakage and material safety/toxicity. It's important to note when searching for ASTM F3502 masks that you search for 'ASTM F3502,' as opposed to 'ASTM masks.'
Is UNICORN approved for use in schools?
Yes! We are on the CDC and NIOSH PPE 'Masks That Meet a Standard' Approved Conforming BFCs list accessed via the CDC website here. We are not considered a 'cloth mask,' but rather an ASTM F3502 High Performance Barrier Face Covering utilizing Nanotechnology. If your school takes issue with you wearing our mask because it has a cloth exterior, you can point them to this link found on the CDC.gov website and let them know that our mask has been approved and is currently recommended by the CDC. Unfortunately the new ASTM F3502 Face Barrier Covering standard and use of nanotechnology is very new, and many press/media outlets have not discovered it yet. We are hoping that soon changes!
How do F3502 masks compare with KN95/surgicals tested to the F2100 standard?
As a point of comparison with other nanofiber masks, ASTM masks (Level 1, 2 and 3) that are tested to the medical F2100-11 standard can often be confused with ASTM F3502-11 masks. The ASTM F2100 standard tests the filter material only as opposed to the whole mask (and is therefore not as thorough or accurate in terms of actual protection), using different sized particles to measure filtration efficiency than the F3502-21 test. The velocity, distance, speed and polarity of the particles are all different, resulting in a less rigorous challenge. In layman's terms the F2100 test is like an underhand softball pitch, whereas the F3502 test could be compared to a major league baseball pitch. F3502 testing uses a similar testing modality as NIOSH respirators, the Sodium Chloride Aerosol Challenge (NaCl), evaluating particle penetration and air flow resistance properties. When looking for a protection mask you want to look for a standard that tests the whole mask, instead of just the filter, to determine actual efficiency once leakage occurs around the filter upon wearing.The ASTM F3502 standard is the only standard that takes a four-prong approach addressing the most critical aspects of mask wearing, including particle efficiency, breathability, fit/leakage and material safety/toxicity. It's important to note when searching for ASTM F3502 masks that you search for 'ASTM F3502' specifically. There are very few of us out there!
What size mask should I order?
ADULT sizes are determined by WEIGHT, but we offer a sizing chart below with measurements:
We have found that sizing by weight works for the majority of our customers, but we always recommend double checking your correct size based on our detailed sizing chart below, as we cannot accept return/exchanges due to U.S. Health code. If you are right on the cusp please refer to the detailed measurement chart below. If you purchase a mask and it doesn't fit, we will be happy to offer you a one-time discount for the next size up. Simply reach out to us via Live Chat.
- Small: 45-75 Lbs, 20-34 Kg
- Medium: 75-130 Lbs, 34-59 Kg
- Large: 130-190 Lbs, 59-86 Kg
- X-Large: 190+ Lbs, 86+ Kg
KIDS sizes are determined by AGE, but we offer a sizing chart below with measurements:
We have found that age works best for young kids, but we offer a sizing chart below with detailed measurements. If your child is right on the cusp, we recommend going the next size up. If it's too big, you will have for future use as they will grow into it, and if it is too small, we will be happy to offer you a one-time discount on your next purchase as we cannot accept return/exchanges due to U.S. Health code. Simply reach out to us via Live Chat.
- Small: Age 2-3
- Medium: Age 4-5
- 45-75lbs will be our Adult Small
How do I clean my mask? What detergent should I use?
Please be sure to hand-wash your mask before wearing for the first time. We recommend using a natural or organic liquid detergent in warm water.
- Remove filters before washing.
- Add a small amount of natural liquid detergent to warm water.
- Submerge and massage mask thoroughly for 30 sec. Soak for 10-15 min.
- Rinse well under faucet or in clean water.
- Ring out excess water. Be careful not to over bend the noseband.
- Hang dry. Direct sunlight preferable to sanitize. Add filters once dry.
Do not machine wash or machine dry as this may distort the shape or clog the mask fibers with dirt, impurities and minerals in the water, causing it to be less effective over time. Always remove the filters before washing. NEVER submerge the filters in water or attempt to clean! Once mask is completely dry, insert the filters one on each side and you’re ready to go! We always suggest purchasing at least two masks in order to have a fresh mask readily available, especially if you are an essential worker.
How often should I wash my mask?
Please hand-wash mask prior to using it for the first time. Each mask comes with 2 single use filter sets (2 right & 2 left) totaling 48 hours of use (24 hours per set). Filters do not come pre-installed. Filters cannot get wet, be washed, or be reused. Reusing filters causes reduced filter efficiency, loss of mask breathability and can cause bacterial infections if they are overused. This is the case for any mask filter or meltblown/surgical mask on the market! We always recommend that you wash your mask and replace filters immediately after air travel, attending a high-risk event, or any time you feel exposed. For filter instruction click here.
Why can't I throw my mask in a front loading machine on gentle cycle?
Advanced protection masks cannot be washed due to the loss of electrostatic attraction/protection, as well as loss of shape/form that alters fit upon washing, and therefore the loss of particle filtration efficiency. This is why most advanced protection masks are throwaways, which is very hard on our environment and our pocketbooks for the life of a pandemic. Hence why we created the world's first maximum protection cloth reusable mask! We always suggest having a 'wash party' where you blast your music, enjoy your favorite beverage and wash all but one at once, then sun dry. This way you have enough clean masks for the month! We suggest purchasing at least four masks in order to have a fresh supply on the ready, especially if you are an essential worker. :) Be sure to always remove filters upon washing! They must be discarded if they get wet!
How long do masks last?
Each mask has been ASTM F3502 lab tested for 25 hand-washing cycles. This ensures that your mask will maintain posted particle efficiency and breathability up to 25 washes. The mask can last longer if excellent care is taken, including always hand washing in warm (not hot) water, always hanging in the sun to air dry, gently folding at the ear loops as opposed to aggressively folding at the nose, and always storing the mask in a protective mask bag as opposed to throwing it in a pocket or purse. However we cannot guarantee posted particle efficiency and breathability beyond 25 washes, as the mask has not been lab tested to the ASTM F3502 standard beyond 25 wash cycles.
Why does your mask have Right and Left side filters, as opposed to a single filter? Does this cause a reduction in efficiency?
The right and left side filters are laser cut to fill out the entire surface area of the mask corner to corner from the center reinforced stitch to the outer band. No particles can escape the center reinforced stitch. Our mask has been lab tested to prove that there is no reduced filter efficiency in our right and left filter design. See lab results here. We design our mask this way as we have found that customers have a very challenging time replacing single filter masks and don't like the sucking in of fabric and claustrophobia that occurs with single filter masks. We also do not recommend embedded/washable filter masks for these reasons here (see the filters section). Customers also love the way our mask fits in a more contour way reducing gaps/leakage, as a result of the reinforced center stitch design. It also pulls the mask away from your face so you can easily breathe/talk and are not sucking in fabric. Additionally we have Certified Organic Tencel fabric running down the inside center stitch, as well as deep Certified Organic cotton pockets to tuck the filters firmly in place.
You can see our filter insertion videohere.
See Design Analysishere.
What is the tightest weave fabric you offer and does it matter if I can see light through it when the filters aren't installed?
Seeing light through the mask is of no concern with our particular filter technology. For those masks who do not utilize nanotechnology filters, that would be a concern. Filters provide the protection in any mask. You cannot achieve adequate particle filtration efficiency through textiles (without filters) alone. The most adequate particle filtration you will get from a non-filtered mask even if it has multiple layers of fabric is around 20%. So the filters are an important aspect of mask wearing. Therefore it doesn't matter which style of ours you choose. They have all been tested to the new ASTM F3502 standard and have consistent particle efficiency throughout. That being said, if you desire the absolute max protection (as tight weave fabrics will add a tad bit more over and above our filters), we recommend our White or Blue Organic Hemp masks, or our Flower of Life Tencel. Our new Certified Organic Tencel Plant-dye line also has a tighter weave, as do our Sport masks (which are recommended for shorter term indoor/outdoor sports activities). But again, you will be good to go with any of our styles as long as you have the filters installed.
Why doesn’t this mask have an exhale valve?
Due to the superior and efficient nanofilter technology and outstanding breathability, our masks do not require an exhale valve. Please consider exercising in masks at your own risk. We do have professional athletes who use our mask but do not assume any liability for any injuries that can occur. Note that some cities have banned valve masks due to exhaled air passing unfiltered, taking potential coronavirus droplets with it.
Do you recommend masks with embedded filters?
No! We have observed a number of existing face masks on the market with embedded filters under a microscope and found tiny mold spores that formed after only one wash! In addition, the chances of fiber shedding are much higher in masks with embedded filters. Depending on how you move and manipulate the mask, and especially if you wash the mask in a machine, you can almost but guarantee you'll be inhaling these fibers deep into your lungs and once they are there, they don't come out! Then you have to look at what the filter is composed of. Carbon? Plastic? Graphene? Antibacterial chemical additives? Dangerous heavy metal nano woven particles? Non-organic textile fibers containing pesticides or other chemical residuals? You DO NOT want these fibers lodged deep into your lungs that the body can never get rid of. Be especially wary of this with children. Our replaceable non-woven filters are composed of a safe and non-toxic polymer with substrate layers of polypropylene to ensure the nano fibers are completely sealed and encased to prevent fiber shedding. We have you dispose of your filters at every mask washing to ensure you are not breathing in any potential fibers if they could escape, which is highly unlikely with the processing we do. Please do your research and be very careful purchasing embedded, non-replaceable filters! If you're going to use one of these masks, ask for a US-based lab tested fiber shedding report and look over the results carefully.
Why don't you carry disposable masks? What are the downsides?
We of course are focused on sustainability and protecting our environment first and foremost. Our oceans were contaminated with an estimated 1.56 billion face masks in 2020 based on a report released by marine conservation organization OceansAsia. This resulted in an additional 4,680 to 6,240 metric tons of marine plastic pollution as evidenced in an additional report entitled “Masks on the Beach: The Impact of COVID-19 on Marine Plastic Pollution.” These masks will take as long as 450 years to break down, slowly turning into micro plastics that fish and ultimately humans will consume, while negatively impacting marine wildlife and ecosystems. We have also found that purchasing replaceable masks are much more cost effective for companies. We are happy to provide stats to you and your company if desired. Finally, disposable masks often consist of harmful chemicals you are then breathing deep into your lungs, and are only designed to be worn for very short periods of time - 3 to 8 hrs of use. Overusing these masks can lead to bacterial infections and pulmonary conditions such as pleurisy. Electrostatic attraction (ie: protection) is also reduced dramatically after a mere 2hrs of use, and must be disposed of if the mask gets damp or after up to 8hrs of use, as they are rendered useless in terms of protection after that time. Look up the particle efficiency of surgical masks and the breathability of N95s! The results might surprise you! Finally, you are not protected as much as you think you are. Gaps as caused by an improper fit in one-size-fits-all disposable masks can result in over a 60% decrease in filtration efficiency, according to leading epidemiologists and bioscientists in a peer-reviewed report published April 24, 2020 at pubs.acs.org. Choose wisely!
Do you offer custom masks for companies or bulk orders?
Yes! We offer custom embroidery and fabric options for bulk orders. Currently we can accommodate orders up to 500k/month. Orders exceeding 500k can be ramped up with a 90 day lead time. We do offer special discounted pricing for government, essential worker, and educator contracts, above and beyond our wholesale pricing. We also offer special discounts for referrals. Click here for our Bulk Order Page.
Where can I find Shipping Information?
Do you offer Returns, Exchanges, or Refunds?
What happens if my filters accidentally get wet?
You must dispose of any filters that get wet. Otherwise you risk a bacterial infection and loss of filtration efficiency. No exceptions! And this goes for any true protection mask filter!
Do the filters need to be inserted into the mask to achieve the 99% efficiency rating?
Yes! The filters are what makes our mask a true protection mask and give it its high rating.
How do I insert the filters properly?
Can I use Unicorn Filters in other mask brands?
Our filters are designed specifically for the Unicorn Mask and we do not recommend inserting them into different mask brands as it will drastically reduce the efficiency rating.
Is your filter safe, and will it fiber shed? How is it different from 'nano fabric' masks?
We utilize a very different technology from 'nano fabric' masks you may have come across in your research. In fact we strongly advise against the use of woven 'nano particles' in textiles, especially when combined with 'anti-bacterial' silver or zinc particles for health reasons. These materials have not been tested for use in face coverings and according to several scientific peer-reviewed articles, can actually be harmful to your lung health when worn for extended periods of time due to fiber shedding. Once these fibers are inhaled the lungs will not expel them out due to their small 'nano' size. These nano fabric textiles often come from China and South Korea.
Unicorn masks on the other hand utilize non-woven sonic electrospun nanotechnology (as opposed to a nano embedded woven textile). Being a continuous fiber and not anything related to nanoparticles, there is zero risk of inhalation of anything harmful. The nano fibers are encapsulated by two substrate layers of polypropylene further protecting against any possible fiber shedding. Our filters are manufactured by a leading global nanotechnology company out of New Zealand that is committed to health and safety. Our technology tests down to a much smaller particle size with greater efficiency ratings than nano textiles, and features dramatically higher breathability, greater thermal comfort (far less moisture buildup) and is much more lightweight (less than 1mm thick) than nano textiles. We encourage you to do your own research with all filtered mask companies and note the differences in verified USA lab tested results. The proof is in the pudding as they say!
Does having 2 separate filters (one on each side) instead of one big filter reduce the protection efficiency?
Unicorn Masks have two separate filters, one on each side of the mask, for ease of getting in/out, that covers the entire surface area (minus the thin reinforced stitching centerfold of the mask which nothing can penetrate through) and has the same level of protection and efficiency as if you were to utilize one giant filter. The reason we did this from a design standpoint was due to the plethora of complaints we would hear from consumers of mask companies who had one filter that was incredibly challenging to get in/out. When you're washing your mask on a weekly basis, ease of removing the filters is imperative. We wanted to ensure our particle efficiency wouldn't suffer and were happy to see that it did not. The only part of the mask that is not covered by the filter is the thin reinforced center stitch, which has a thick reinforced stitch that nothing can penetrate through. You can view our particle efficiency lab results here: https://unicornbreathingmask.com/pages/test-results.
How long do filters last?
Each single use filter set (1 right & 1 left) is usable for up to 24 hours of use. Filters cannot get wet, be washed, or be reused, so please remove and discard filters every time you wash your mask. Reusing filters causes reduced filter efficiency, loss of mask breathability and can cause bacterial infections if they are overused. This is the case for any mask filter or meltblown/surgical mask on the market! We always recommend that you replace filters immediately after air travel, attending a high-risk event, or any time you feel exposed.
We meet with our advisory board that consists of a team of decorated bioscientists, emergency responders, and research analysts, one of which is on the covid-19 task force, every few months. The latest recommendation was to change our filter shelf life due to the variants emerging and the CDC removing important mask mandates. We collectively feel it is imperative to be more diligent than ever on mask wearing and filter changing as a result. We are now advising that you discard your filters after 24 hours of use and with every mask washing.