Usage Tips for Respirator Face Masks

Avoid shared airspaces and close contact when possible.

Wear your disposable respirator mask whenever sharing a closed airspace at any distance, or when outside and coming within 2 metres of others.

Minimize Leaks: Each time you don a respirator mask, ensure the mask nose bridge is formed tightly against the nose by pushing inwards firmly with fingers from both hands. Ensure the head bands or ear loops are snug for a tight seal between the mask and face, especially around the nose. For earloop respirators on smaller faces, try tightening the ear loops using cord locks or a strap extender or tie a knot in the end of each earloop. If air leakage persists around the edge of the mask, please discontinue use and seek a better-fitting respirator mask.

If you are a user at high risk or would otherwise like to ensure minimal leakage, consider doing a Quantitative Fit Test to find the respirator mask that works best for you. Use a search engine to seek out a "fit testing service provider" in the city nearest you. These typically cost $50-$80.

Remove your respirator mask touching only the ear loops/headbands. Wash hands.

Storage: Between wearing, leave the respirator exposed to room temperature air so it may dry out. Don't place inside a bag until it has completely dried out. 

Video Tips

The Importance of Fit: Air leaks around the perimeter of a respirator mask are a sign of a bad fit, and must be corrected! Leaks can significantly degrade the effective filtration of a respirator mask. Here is a great video from Mask Nerd Aaron Collins to explaining the importance of finding a good fit and how to check for air leaks.

The Importance of Fit

Glasses Fogging: Here is a great video from Mask Nerd Aaron Collins to help you debug the root cause of why glasses fog and how to improve it. 

Glasses Fogging

The Differences between KN95 and N95: Here's another short and sweet video from Mask Nerd Aaron Collins to explain the differences between KN95 and N95 masks.

Differences between KN95 and N95

Healthcare Use

Healthcare Use: typically requires an ASTM F2100 rating for blood spray/bodily fluids protection, and may require CSA or NIOSH surgical respirator rating. In our store please note:

  • NIOSH Surgical N95 Respirators: Vitacore CAN99 9500, 3M 1804, 1804S, 1860, 1860S, 1870+.
  • CSA Surgical Respirators: Vitacore CAN99 9500, Layfield 95PFE-L3 (headband version), and Canada Masq Q100.
  • ASTM F2100 Level 3: Vitacore CAN99 9500, Layfield 95PFE-L3 (earloop & headband versions)
  • Unless mentioned above, respirators in our store are not intended for professional healthcare use

Caution: No single piece of PPE such as respirators, goggles, gloves, etc. offers 100% protection.


For disposable respirator masks: Dispose prior to 8 hours of accumulated use to avoid growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew in the mask, and to avoid fatiguing in the nose wire and earloop/headband elastics which could cause higher leakage. 

Do not wash or attempt to sanitize - washing may disrupt nonwoven fibers by moving them or disrupting their electrostatic properties, reducing filtration efficiency. Sanitizing methods may damage the materials.

Cloth Masks and Filters

Please discontinue use of cloth masks and filters in favour of a well-fitting respirator mask.