Surgical masks are most commonly made up of three layers. These are:
1. Outer fluid-repellent layer: Typically colored blue or green, this layer repels fluid, helping to reduce the chance that viruses and bacteria from the air attach to the mask.
2. High efficiency filter middle layer: The middle layer is what does the hard work in capturing viruses and bacteria. Any particles which get past the outside layers are filtered here.
3. Absorbent layer: The inner layer captures and absorbs moisture, reducing the chance of any mucus or bacteria from leaving the mask when the wearer coughs or talks.

A Simple Guide To Wearing A Surgical Mask Correctly

Follow these simple rules:
1. Blue / Green Color Goes on the Outside
Typically, the fluid repellent layer of a surgical mask is colored side. That means, the coloured side should face out. Think of it this way: You want to show off your colors!
If your mask has the same color on both sides, move on to the next rule.
2. Soft side towards the face
Some masks have the same for both sides of the masks. Some are even white all.
For these masks that are white on both sides, you can use the feel of the material to determine which way round to wear the mask. The side that is softer to touch is the moisture absorbent layer and goes towards your face. The rougher layer is the moisture repellent layer, that faces outwards.

Don’t Use Mask Ear Loops as an Indicator for Mask Direction

It may seem like a smart idea to use the straps as an indication of which way to wear a surgical mask. We suggest not to! In four out of the five surgical masks we checked, one had the straps that attached to the outside layer, and four had the straps that attached to the inside layer.

Difference Between Top and a Bottom?

The top is the bit with extra stiffness, where there usually is a thin piece of wire

How to Wear Surgical Masks

Following these simple steps will ensure your surgical or medical mask is fitted properly:
1. Place the elastic bands around your ears.
2. Extend the surgical up above the nose and down to the chin. Make sure it fully covers the mouth, nose, and chin.
3. Bend the metallic strip at the top of the mask over nose bridge. The surgical mask should sit snuggly to the face.
4. Avoid touching the surgical mask after putting it on. If you do, wash your hands afterwards.
5. Discard used masks in the garbage and wash your hands.
6. Standard practice is to replace surgical masks after each use. But if supplies are limited, replace masks that are dirty or damaged.

Bottom Line: Which Way Round Does a Surgical Mask Go?

For most masks, the blue or green colored side faces out, and the lighter – often white – side faces in. If your face mask doesn’t have colors, make sure the soft side faces in and the rough side faces out.