How the 'Knot-and-Tuck' Method Achieves a Better Fitting Face Mask

We all know that wearing a mask is essential to slow the spread of COVID-19. But is there even more we can do to protect ourselves — and each other?

Recently, the CDC conducted experiments to assess ways of improving the fit of face masks: Wearing a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask, or knotting the ear loops of a medical procedure mask, and then tucking in and flattening the extra material close to the face.

Both of these modifications substantially reduced the transmission of COVID-19.

As spring approaches, double-masking may be less appealing, so it’s a good time to learn the “knot-and-tuck” method.

In this video, Todd Ellerin, MD, Director of Infectious Disease at South Shore Health, demonstrates the ‘knot-and-tuck’ method to achieve a better fit of your face mask.

By knotting the ear loops where they join the edge of the mask and tucking the excess material under the edges of these multi-layer masks, you improve the fit of your mask along the edges.

This prevents air (and potentially respiratory droplets containing the virus) from flowing around the edges of the mask.

Dr. Ellerin emphasized that the filtration of medical procedure masks is great, but the fit can be improved by doing what he calls “the knuck.”

“I think one of the key parts about the CDC study is that we shouldn’t be walking around right now with just a single-layer cloth mask,” he said. “We want to make sure that our masks fit our faces as well as possible.”


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