waterproof face mask

A startup in Canada just developed waterproof face masks

Owners of a startup in Waterloo, Ontario are doing what they can to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by making reusable waterproof face masks.

Chanakya Ramdev is the co-founder of Sweat Free Apparel, a company focused on developing washable fabric patches that are placed on the underarm area of the inside of a shirt to prevent moisture and odour from getting on the shirt itself.

Now, Ramdev and his company are using the technical textiles they've created to make non-medical face masks that prevent droplets from passing through. 

"The crisis happened and what I saw was nurses and frontline staff who had to cover themselves with plastic and garbage bags because they were running out of masks," Ramdev told Freshdaily. 

"We thought we have the expertise and the technical textiles, so if we can do something to help them, that's how the idea itself started. We already developed the technology that doesn't let sweat pass through, why don't we tweak it and re-engineer it to make droplets not pass through."

With face coverings now mandatory in most indoor spaces across the country, a benefit to these masks is that they are reusable as opposed to the disposable blue masks some people wear. 

"It's the more sustainable option," Ramdev said. 

Recently, Metrolinx, the Ontario transportation agency, ordered 10,000 masks from Sweat Free Apparel for staff thanks to Communitech, an organization that helps startups grow, who introduced Ramdev to officials at the province.

"We are a tiny immigrant startup and they gave us this massive opportunity. For us, that was a massive order." 

Ramdev is a first-generation Indian immigrant who graduated from the management engineering program at the University of Waterloo.

Lead photo by

Sweat Free Apparel


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