The 411 On Face Masks

by Kevin Gaertner April 01, 2020

Although prevalent in many cultures, wearing face masks in public is entirely new to the USA. A host of studies and theories dive into the benefits of face masks, but with so much conflicting information being passed around in these uncertain times, many of us still wonder whether or not we should mask up.

There’s no one right answer to this complicated issue, but Knotty Tie has always been committed to the wellbeing of our community. For that reason, we’ve created three new lines of face masks for sale in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We see this as a crucial duty to protect the health of our community and the wellbeing of our employees — and we’re hoping you will join us in helping to transform the social stigma around wearing face masks in public.

Why is a tie company making masks?

As an organization, we are and always have been committed to community service. In light of current circumstances, our #1 priority is to work with hospitals, healthcare professionals and foundations in our community to best utilize Knotty Tie Co. production capabilities to aid medical professionals fighting to keep our communities healthy.

Our social mission has always been to provide meaningful employment to resettled refugees. Since we employ some of the most vulnerable people in our population, we knew we had to stand by them in this time of crisis. We’ve also been following the devastating shortage of medical grade face masks in the USA. With disposable face masks in short supply, some hospitals and medical personnel are turning to reusable face masks as an alternative. While reusable face masks are less effective than disposable ones, they are still better than no face masks at all.

At the same time, there’s been a growing push for members of the general public to wear face masks outside of the home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. By choosing reusable face masks for this purpose, members of the public can help to save medical-grade, disposable face masks for the people who need them most— the medical professionals directly working with the sick.

To keep our staff fully employed and provide risk reduction options for our community, we’ve developed high-quality, reusable face masks made in the USA for the public that range from fashionable to functional, based on your needs.

We took our time in launching these products to do the challenging research process to get things right. We didn't want to create a cheap or disposable mask, but an overall superior mask that our customers can feel better about wearing. Since we’ve done the research around reusable face masks, our team wanted to synthesize our learning to better inform your decision on wearing one.

Since it's clear that non medical grade masks are not 100% effective, how do you know if you should wear one?

Diving into the top three questions we’ve been asked can help to explain the reasoning behind personal and widespread face mask use.

Do masks protect others from me, or me from others?

Both, but mostly others from you. The New York Times reported that non-medical grade face masks can partially improve the capture of droplets spread from coughs, sneezes and breath. Studies and research claim somewhere between 50-75% of droplets are captured, based on the material of the mask. While those percentages aren’t ideal, they are still preferable to 100% of droplets getting spread with every cough or sneeze. 

By wearing a mask, you’ll keep more moisture droplets to yourself and away from others. We should all be keeping at least six feet of distance from others right now, but in some situations, it's just not possible.  A face mask can help mitigate the risk you pose in these situations.

Much of the ongoing research around COVID-19 is proving especially concerning because around 25% of carriers could either be asymptomatic or else have very mild symptoms, similar to a common cold. This lack of symptoms means that huge numbers of people with the illness aren’t even aware that they have it. Furthermore, the limited availability of tests in the USA and delayed testing even for those people with mild symptoms is making it increasingly challenging to know for certain who carries the virus.

Whether you are unknowingly infected with the virus or the person bumping into you in the milk aisle is, face masks can help contain the spread of droplets by asymptomatic carriers. This improves our ability to keep the spread of COVID-19 under control.

Additionally, face masks can actually help protect you from yourself. Masks are a proven way to help avoid touching your face, since it’s covered. This can help avoid germs spreading from your hands. Face masks can especially contribute to your overall risk reduction approach when paired with regular hand washing, sanitizing, and physical distancing.

Do I need to wear a face mask all the time?

At home,  wearing a face mask is not essential, since you might be constantly surrounded by others. However, any time you are out in public, there are signs that face masks are beneficial to yourself and the public at large. This is especially true for areas that are extra casual about stay-at-home orders and physical distancing.

As you might expect, we highly suggest wearing a mask when going to the store. Aisles may be narrow and it's not always possible to keep six feet of separation from everyone there. Stores are doing their part to aid in social distancing by placing checkout line distance markers and limiting how many customers are allowed in at one time. As you walk through the store, however, it may be impossible to take the necessary precautions.

If you can't keep your distance, you should be increasing your ability to fend off droplets from others and keep your own droplets to yourself.

Essential workers or those still needing to continue working during this time likely find themselves close to co-workers or the public regularly. Therefore, they should also be doing their best to limit the spread of droplets. People who continue to selflessly work during the crisis are putting their health and wellness at an increased risk, and should truly take any and all precautions to avoid becoming sick. 

On a larger scale, masks send a visual reminder to the public that we should all be doing our part in reducing risk.  Wearing masks is an act of solidarity that can help others around us feel more comfortable, while destigmatizing the use of face masks in the USA.

Our commitment to normalizing these steps to protect public health, and our desire for others to do their part, inspired us to create a collection of eight new face mask designs. We call it the Do Your Part collection.

Which mask is right for me?

After countless hours of research, we’re convinced that a one size fits all approach isn’t the best when it comes to face masks. Yes a mask is better than no mask, especially in healthcare environments. However there are clear distinctions between a mask that helps a little and a mask that helps a lot.

We’ve developed three different styles of reusable face masks meant to fit a variety of purposes. Whether you’re immunocompromised or just want to have more versatility from your mask once the dust settles, we have options that can help provide additional layers of protection depending on your needs.

No matter which you choose, each mask is made with a high-quality cotton-like polyester that is reusable and washable. First, choose the design of your face mask. Design your own, choose from 50+ of our own designs, or go with solid white. Next, choose the build of your mask. We have three to choose from. 

Our Basic Face Mask is simple, fashionable and shows your support for social distancing and other precautionary measures. Demonstrate that you’re serious about flattening the curve, while also taking basic precautions against droplet spread. These masks are made with two layers of our breathable polyester fabric.

If you're looking for more out of your mask beyond some help against droplet spread, then our Face Mask With Filter Pocket style is the style for you. This option provides more flexibility for commuters who want to filter out air pollution during their morning commute or outdoor enthusiasts who want some pollen relief on hikes.

Each mask in this style can be used with a PM 2.5 or equivalent filters which are helpful for these situations and many more. If you're sensitive to particles or air quality and want to protect yourself going forward, this filter style is ideal. Unless you have your own, we recommend adding a PM 2.5 filter to your order with each mask in this style. Filters available here. Filters should be replaced weekly when used constantly.

For an additional layer against droplets and moisture, our Face Mask With Moisture Barrier also includes a removable non-woven polypropylene insert. This fabric was carefully chosen because of its ability to help capture even more droplets. If you'd like to take extra precautions and further help minimize your risk to others, we'd suggest this style. Additional inserts available here.



Still have questions?

Our sales and support team is available to help. Contact us here.

Kevin Gaertner
Kevin Gaertner


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Face Masks 

Adult Standard Adult Small
5" x 9"
Fits most male adults.
4.5" x 8"
Fits most women and young adults.


Neck Gaiters 

Regular Small
9.5” x 14”
Fits most men and those with larger heads.
8.5" x 14"
Fits most women and kids.




Skinny Knotty Classic
2.25" wide 2.75" wide 3.5" wide


Standard Long Extra-Long
58" long 62" long 66" long


Youth Self-Tied
52" long
Ages 10+


Bow Ties 

Adult Kids Pre-Tied Baby Pre-Tied
Self-tied style
Adjustable for necks 14-18"
Ages 2 and over
Adjustable velcro closure
Ages 2 and under
Adjustable velcro closure


Unisex Robes 

Comparable to 0-14 in Women's sizing
Comparable to Small or Medium in Men's sizing
31" wide at the waist
36" length
Comparable to 16-26 in Women's sizing
Comparable to Large or X-Large in Men's sizing
35" wide at the waist
39" length