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This Is How You Know If The Face Mask You Just Bought Is Fake

This Is How You Know If The Face Mask You Just Bought Is Fake

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Throughout the Movement  Control Order (MCO) period, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) have been conducting checks on the prices and genuinity of facemasks sold which revealed a worrying pattern of counterfeit masks being sold as genuine face masks.

In a recent raid at a Puchong shop this week, the police revealed that the modus operandi was to purchase generic facemasks from China and re-package them.

So how do you tell a fake facemask from the real?

The first thing you need to know is what a genuine surgical facemask is made of, which is three very important layers:

  • Outermost – waterproof, non-woven fabric
  • Middle – melt-blown filter made of plastics
  • Innermost – non-woven fabric that’s not waterproof
Credit: YeniExpo

Then, all you need is a lighter.

Method 1 – Burn, baby, burn

Pharmacist Zeff Tan told Channel News Asia that the filter material of a true three-ply mask is made out of plastics, such as polythene and polypropylene. So when it meets flame, it will melt instead of lighting up or producing sparks.


A counterfeit or fake facemask often uses cheaper materials mixed with paper. So when it’s brought to flame, it catches fire and produces sparks.

Method 2 – Breath test

Instead of burning that facemask you spent your hard-earned money on, there’s another way to test its legitimacy with a lighter.

All you have to do is to wear the mask and try to blow out the flame in front of you. If the flame goes out, it’s fake.

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