No more smelly mask: Newport travel accessory company offering antimicrobial masks

Leigh ShoeCase Company, a travel bag seller based in Newport, was already using antimicrobial silver yarn in their baggage products, and now includes it in their face masks to prevent odor.

By: Tim Studebaker

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NEWPORT, R.I. (WLNE) – A Rhode Island retailer is offering a solution to a common complaint: dirty face masks.  They’re offering masks made with silver coated nylon yarn woven into the fabric, which kills bacteria that can cause masks to smell.

Tracy Cugno is the founder of Leigh ShoeCase Company in Newport.  Cugno says, “We all have to wear masks, but it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable if you can do something that has some softness, that’s hypoallergenic, that also is highly functional in killing bacteria and all the nasty things that are out there.”

Cugno is a former business traveler.  She started her retail business primarily selling bags and accessories designed around the need to better organize shoes into separate compartments while traveling, and controlling odors in the process.

Cugno says, “When silver, which is really the world’s oldest natural antimicrobial, comes into contact with moisture, the ions are released from silver and those ions then prevent any bacterial spread.”

Then, the pandemic slowed business.

Cugno says, “As we started to use that time to be creative and really think about ‘Where do we want our brand to go, and how can we help travelers?’  It’s always about travelers.  We realized that the opportunity to use that silver material would translate really well into facial coverings.”

She says the line launched earlier this year and is doing well so far.  They’ve even shipped their masks as far away as California.

Cugno says, “I’m hoping that the Leigh brand will become something that will become synonymous with Rhode Island and southern New England.”

If you’d like more information, visit their website:

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Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island