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Vacuum cleaner bags make the best homemade face masks, NHS research finds

Judy Murray tries on new mask yesterday
Judy Murray tries on new mask yesterday

Vacuum cleaner bags make the best homemade face masks, according to new NHS Scotland research.

Scientists tested a range of DIY coverings to see which might be most effective. They found that an adapted dust collector cuts the risk of catching Covid-19 by almost as much as a surgical mask.

Research paper lead author Amanda Wilson said: “If people must be in close proximity to each other, it is better to wear masks and the material impacts how effective they are.

“Some are better than others. For example, our model shows that one effective alternative could be vacuum cleaner bag material.”

The team – which included microbiologist professor Stephanie Dancer of NHS Lanarkshire and Edinburgh Napier University – selected everyday materials including silk, linen, cotton T-shirts, pillow cases, tea towels and scarves.

The best respirators worn by medics reduced the risk of infection by 99% during a 30-second exposure – but a mask made from a vacuum cleaner bag still managed to cut the danger of infection by 83%.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has recommended Scots wear a face mask on public transport – and says they’re likely to become mandatory.