Melitta Is Making Face Masks Shaped Like Its Coffee Filters

penkanya, iStock via Getty Images
penkanya, iStock via Getty Images

In the early 1900s, a housewife named Melitta Bentz changed history when she transformed a piece of paper from her son's notebook into the world's first disposable coffee filter. Today, the Melitta company is applying their founder's innovation to a very different problem: the worldwide face mask shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As The New York Times reports, Melitta is uniquely suited to meet demand for personal protective equipment. By coincidence, the distinctive design of its filters is the perfect size and shape to cover the nose, mouth, and chin of an adult face. And while paper coffee filter material isn't especially protective, the material Wolf PVG (which Melitta also owns) uses for its vacuum-cleaner bags is. The vacuum bags are made from nonwoven super thin fiber that's created through a process known as melt-blown extrusion. This material also happens to be the primary component of medical-grade masks.

By feeding its melt-blown fiber into the machine it uses to make its coffee filters, Melitta has been able to transition to mask production faster than other businesses trying to do the same. The company has produced about 10 million masks so far, and it plans to sell and donate them within its home country of Germany.

Melitta's melt-blown fiber face masks may not be available in the U.S., but you can use their coffee filters as a DIY mask in a pinch. Just poke two holes in the sides of the filter and loop hair ties or rubber bands through them before pulling the loops over your ears. This isn't an ideal face mask, as you'll have to throw the filter away after one use, but it's a quick DIY option for when you're in a hurry to get out the door. And if you feel silly wearing a coffee filter on your face, slipping it into a homemade cloth mask also works.

[h/t The New York Times]

13 Father's Day Gifts for Geeky Dads

Amazon/Otterbox/Toynk
Amazon/Otterbox/Toynk

When in doubt, you play the hits. Watches, flasks, and ties are all tried-and-true Father’s Day gifts—useful items bought en masse every June as the paternal holiday draws near. Here’s a list of goodies that put a geeky spin on those can’t-fail gifts. We’re talking Zelda flasks, wizard-shaped party mugs, and a timepiece inspired by BBC’s greatest sci-fi series, Doctor Who. Light the “dad” signal ‘cause it’s about to get nerdy!

1. Lord of the Rings Geeki Tikis (Set of Three); $76

'Lord of The Rings' themed tiki cups.
Toynk

If your dad’s equally crazy about outdoor shindigs and Tolkien’s Middle-earth, help him throw his own Lothlórien luau with these Tiki-style ceramic mugs shaped like icons from the Lord of the Rings saga. Gollum and Frodo’s drinkware doppelgängers each hold 14 ounces of liquid, while Gandalf the Grey’s holds 18—but a wizard never brags, right? Star Wars editions are also available.

Buy it: Toynk

2. Space Invaders Cufflinks; $9

'Space Invaders' cufflinks on Amazon
Fifty 50/Amazon

Arcade games come and arcade games go, but Space Invaders has withstood the test of time. Now Pops can bring those pixelated aliens to the boardroom—and look darn stylish doing it.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Legend of Zelda Flask; $18

A 'Legend of Zelda' flask
Toynk

Saving princesses is thirsty work. Shaped like an NES cartridge, this Zelda-themed flask boasts an 8-ounce holding capacity and comes with a reusable straw. Plus, it makes a fun little display item for gamer dads with man caves.

Buy it: Toynk

4. AT-AT Family Vacation Bag Tag; $12

An At-At baggage tag
ShopDisney

Widely considered one of the greatest movie sequels ever made, The Empire Strikes Back throws a powerful new threat at Luke Skywalker and the Rebellion: the AT-AT a.k.a. Imperial Walkers. Now your dad can mark his luggage with a personalized tag bearing the war machine’s likeness.

Buy it: ShopDisney

5. Flash Skinny Tie; $17

A skinny Flash-themed tie
Uyoung/Amazon

We’ll let you know if the Justice League starts selling new memberships, but here’s the next best thing. Available in a rainbow of super-heroic colors, this skinny necktie bears the Flash’s lightning bolt logo. Race on over to Amazon and pick one up today.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Captain America Shield Apron; $20

A Captain America themed apron
Toynk

Why let DC fans have all the fun? Daddy-o can channel his inner Steve Rogers when he flips burgers at your family’s Fourth of July BBQ. Measuring 31.5 inches long by 27.5 inches wide, this apron’s guaranteed to keep the cookout Hydra-free.

Buy it: Toynk

7. Doctor Who Vortex Manipulator LCD Leather Wristwatch; $35

A Doctor Who-themed watch
Toynk

At once classy and geeky, this digital timepiece lovingly recreates one of Doctor Who’s signature props. Unlike some of the gadgets worn on the long-running sci-fi series, it won’t require any fancy chronoplasm fuel.

Buy it: Toynk

8. Wonder Woman 3-Piece Grill Set; $21

Wonder Woman three-piece gill set
Toynk

At one point in her decades-long comic book career, this Amazon Princess found herself working at a fast food restaurant called Taco Whiz. Now grill cooks can pay tribute to the heroine with these high-quality, stainless steel utensils. The set’s comprised of wide-tipped tongs, a BBQ fork, and a spatula, with the latter boasting Wonder Woman’s insignia.

Buy it: Toynk

9. Harry Potter Toon Tumbler; $10

Glassware that's Harry Potter themed
Entertainment Earth

You can never have too many pint glasses—and this Father’s Day, dad can knock one back for the boy who lived. This piece of Potter glassware from PopFun has whimsy to spare. Now who’s up for some butterbeer?

Buy it: EntertainmentEarth

10. House Stark Men’s Wallet; $16

A Game of Thrones themed watch
Toynk

Winter’s no longer coming, but the Stark family's propensity for bold fashion choices can never die. Manufactured with both inside and outside pockets, this direwolf-inspired wallet is the perfect place to store your cards, cash, and ID.

Buy it: Toynk

11. Mr. Incredible “Incredible Dad” Mug, $15

An Incredibles themed mug
ShopDisney

Cue the brass music. Grabbing some coffee with a Pixar superhero sounds like an awesome—or dare we say, incredible?—way for your dad to start his day. Mom can join in the fun, too: Disney also sells a Mrs. Incredible version of the mug.

Buy it: ShopDisney

12. Star Wars phone cases from Otterbox; $46-$56

Star Wars phone cases from OtterBox.
Otterbox

If your dad’s looking for a phone case to show off his love of all things Star Wars, head to Otterbox. Whether he’s into the Dark Side with Darth Vader and Kylo Ren, the droids, Chewbacca, or Boba Fett, you’ll be able to find a phone case to fit his preference. The designs are available for both Samsung and Apple products, and you can check them all out here.

Buy it: Otterbox

13. 3D Puzzles; $50

3D Harry Potter puzzle from Amazon.
Wrebbit 3D

Help dad recreate some of his favorite fictional locations with these 3D puzzles from Wrebbit 3D. The real standouts are the 850-piece model of Hogwarts's Great Hall and the 910-piece version of Winterfell from Game of Thrones. If dad's tastes are more in line with public broadcasting, you could also pick him up an 890-piece Downton Abbey puzzle to bring a little upper-crust elegance to the homestead.

Buy it: Hogwarts (Amazon), Winterfell (Amazon), Downton Abbey (Amazon)

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How to Make Wearing a Face Mask More Comfortable During the Warm, Sweaty Summer Months

Cloth face masks can make for a sweaty summer.
Cloth face masks can make for a sweaty summer.
elladoro/iStock via Getty Images

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to challenge the world’s population to rethink everyday behaviors, it seems likely people will continue to practice both social distancing and the use of a cloth face mask throughout the summer. (Cloth masks can’t stop infectious particles from entering the nose and mouth, but they can reduce the spread of respiratory droplets by wearers.)

Once tolerable, these masks might grow to be uncomfortable as temperatures rise and the fabric begins to trap heat. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to minimize discomfort.

According to health experts who spoke to writer Nick Vadala of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the best strategy for a heat-friendly face mask is to opt for a 100 percent cotton fabric. Polyester and other synthetic materials can trap heat, causing wearers to build up sweat and moisture around their face quickly.

You’ll want to avoid any kind of filter, which are also synthetic and make breathing more difficult.

Snug masks can also be harder to tolerate when it’s warm out. To adjust the fit, it’s better to use a mask that has ties rather than elastic straps, which can irritate the ears.

The biggest adjustment wearers may have to make in adhering to mask recommendations in the summer is to carry more than one. As masks get damp from sweat, they’ll need to be switched out for a dry one. You’ll want to be sure to do that only after washing or sanitizing your hands and making the switch away from other people.

Despite your best efforts, skin irritation might persist. It’s a good idea to use moisturizer to heal skin affected by trapped heat and moisture.

[h/t The Philadelphia Inquirer]