Garment printer Screenworks has launched what is claimed to be the first anti-viral reusable face mask into the UK market.

The Bumpaa products are treated with Polygiene’s ViralOff technology which has been proven to effectively kill viruses, such as Influenza A and Feline Coronavirus which work like the novel coronavirus, by up to 99% over two hours while still allowing the face covering to be used again.

Other reusable face masks on the market can also reduce the airborne spread of particulates but they are anti-bacterial and therefore not as effective against viruses.

While the Bumpaa masks are not PPE grade, they will help to save vital PPE for the NHS as well as prevent more disposable masks going to landfill.

Users are advised to avoid washing the face masks to maintain the highest anti-viral effect but, if washing is required, to wash by hand in cold water.

The fabric masks are manufactured in the UK and packed at the Screenworks facility in Suffolk. They are proving “hugely popular” with trade clients, achieving sales of more than 100,000 units per week since launch.

They are fully brandable using dye sublimation, lightweight and comfortable and come in 12 colours and two sizes. They can be available from stock in as little as one day and are available in bespoke designs for orders over 10,000, starting with a three-week lead time.

The masks are treated with Polygiene’s ViralOff, a technology that ensures garments, footwear and textiles stay fresh and last longer. Currently, Polygiene works with two main technologies, one inhibiting bacterial growth.

Duncan Gilmour, managing director at Screenworks, said: “We are proud to be launching these facemasks at a time when their supply is so critical. They present a really exciting opportunity for our sector, and – already – we have seen huge industry demand.

“Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the textile decoration sector. During our initial brainstorming around how we could pivot, we did look into PPE. However, our due diligence on suppliers flagged a large number whose products would not meet quality standards.

“This prompted us to look into other options for superior products with real longevity that would support new needs for social distancing. In order to meet demand we have re-enrolled previously furloughed team members to commence the production line.

“We really wanted to launch a mask that would be more visually appealing and comfortable for people to wear, and which would also be more environmentally friendly. The product isn’t considered PPE but these masks will play their part in helping to protect vital supplies of PPE.

“As so many businesses return to a sense of normality following lockdown, they will be looking for ways to protect their staff, customers and suppliers. We believe the Bumpaa anti-viral facemasks can play a vital role, providing some reassurance during the difficult and uncertain times that lie ahead.”

Bumpaa masks are currently being stocked at all the main UK wholesalers. Bespoke orders are being handled directly by Screenworks, which is also researching further product lines including snoods, which go around the neck as well as the face, to meet trade and consumer demand. These will be launched over the coming weeks.