Cordova Safety

4 Common Types of Disposable Face Masks

Who knew that two years into the Covid epidemic, we would still be wearing masks in so many places? Conditions are still in flux and the demand for disposable face masks is still historically high. With so many options to choose from, it’s not always easy to figure out which mask to use. Let us clear up some of the confusion by reviewing four of the main types of disposable face masks.


First, What Makes a Mask Disposable?

Sure, you can throw anything away, but the difference between disposable face masks and reusable is simply that disposable masks should not be worn more than once. It’s not that they can’t be or that they are not durable. It’s that contaminants cannot be cleaned off the mask, so they can’t be reused. These masks are typically constructed of varying layers of polypropylene, cotton, and polyester.

All Disposable Masks Are Not Created Equal

Disposable masks are available in different styles and levels of protection – from general hygiene use to NIOSH N95-rated for greater protection.


Disposable ear loop face masks offer general hygiene protection. These have become extremely popular during the pandemic because they are lightweight, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive. However, they do not provide medical-grade protection and are not intended for use in medical settings by healthcare professionals.

man wearing black face mask
Ear Loop Face Mask

Our ear loop face masks provide triple layer protection and are available in Blue – #ELM100 and Black – #ELM101. We also have a size for smaller faces: #ELM150.


Dust masks provide general protection against dust, pollen, and non-toxic particles. It is most typically used in areas and applications that generate a lot of dust, such as home cleaning and lawn maintenance.

dust mask
Dust Mask

They are constructed with compressed paper and contoured to fit the face. They are secured with straps and equipped with an adjustable aluminum nose piece for a better fit.



N95 disposable masks are rated as such by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). This rating means that they are proven to filter at least 95% of airborne particles.

They are constructed of polypropylene and polyester. They are typically equipped with features such as adjustable nose piece, latex-free straps, valved & non-valved filtration, contoured and non-contoured styles and more.

N95 rated masks are good for filtering aerosols free of oils, flour, iron coal, minerals, paint fumes, and sanding dust. They were also recommended by the CDC during the Covid pandemic to help prevent spread of the virus.

NX95 contoured disposable face mask
Contoured N95 Face Mask
nx95 valved disposable face mask
Valved N95 Face Mask

CORDOVA SAFETY PRODUCTS is on the CDC’s list of NIOSH-approved N95 Particulate Filtering Facepiece Respirators.


These masks are similar to N95 masks, but they are certified per Chinese Standards, not US standards. When facing a shortage of N95 masks during the peak of the pandemic, KN95 masks were more readily available as a close alternative.


kn95 rated mask features


If you have additional questions or need help selecting the right disposable face mask for your application and work environment, we invite you to contact us. You can also Request a Quote or Request a Sample.


CORE SAFETY PROTECTION: For over 25 years, CORDOVA SAFETY PRODUCTS has expertly provided consumer and industrial Core Safety Protection. We are a head-to-toe personal protective equipment (PPE) supplier with over 4500 products and distribution centers in Memphis & California and a member of Bunzl Distribution’s Safety family, a leading supplier in North America.

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