Washable and Reusable Face Masks: Why do some contain copper?

*Please Note: We are making no medical claim to the use of copper as a cure or prevention against coronavirus. This blog was created to suggest why copper is used in some face masks. 


If you've purchased one of our Trusted PPE washable face masks, you may be aware that they contain copper, specifically Nano Copper Ion Fabrics, for reasons you may not know. You're probably wondering, why is a face mask made from copper? How does copper contribute to its efficiency? 


Here's everything you need to know about why copper may be used in face masks, and associated properties of copper: 


Copper has been scientifically proven to be antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal. It's also been found that bacteria and viruses that land on the metallic copper surface are killed on contact. This is due to bacteria and viruses having a negative charge, whereas copper contains positively charged ions, which trap the viruses. 


Professor Bill Keevil from Southampton University explained in a recent article how copper plays a role in tackling superbugs. The study found that copper not only kills bacterial and virus cells but also prevents mutation and stops transmission to other potential superbugs. 


The findings show that copper depletes a bacteria or viruses life-span, “Researchers have found that MRSA bacteria remain fully active for days on stainless steel surfaces, whereas on brass (an alloy of copper and zinc), they die in less than five hours on a moist surface and on pure copper they are eliminated in under 30 minutes. On a dry surface this happens in just a few minutes” says Southampton University


Bill Keevil explains, “We have seen that copper completely destroys the bacteria’s DNA in minutes so they can’t go on to become resistant”. Conclusively, research at Southampton has shown that with exposure to copper a virus is disabled within a few minutes before it is completely killed.


Copper ions can be molecularly transferred into fabric bonds. These are popularly used in some bedsheets, pillow casings and face masks because of the antibacterial properties associated with copper. Copper fabric masks are designed to be a sustainable and durable improvement of cloth masks. Research has found that a virus can survive up to several days on a cloth mask, whereas copper masks are believed to be more hygienic, “As the viral particles go out of you through the copper mask into the environment, they will die,” says Michael Schmidt, professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina.


An additional benefit of copper fabric masks is they can be washed numerous times and not lose efficacy. These masks are ideal for everyday use, from supermarket trips and commuting to work – you won’t need to depend on disposable face covers again!


* Trusted PPE is dedicated to providing safe and reliable PPE to the nation and that is why our black reusable masks and coloured reusable masks include Nano Copper Ion fabric, to ensure a high level of durability and protection. These masks are 99% antibacterial and tested to still be 70% effective against bacterial infection after 50 washes, making this mask a more environmentally-friendly option than disposable masks. 


For further information or advice, please email a member of our team at: info@trustedppe.co.uk.