Using Totobobo mask in Indonesia

Using Totobobo mask in Jakarta

I bought the Totobobo mask in 2013 because I commute on a bicycle to work in Jakarta. Indonesia is known as having some of the worst air quality in the world, and when I began cycling I really began to notice congestion in my chest and a regular sore throat, although I already was using a fabric mask. Since using the Totobobo mask, both the sore throat and congestion have disappeared. I have noticed that the sore throat sometimes comes back if I continue using filters which should have been changed.

Although Totobobo was quite costly (especially when shipping costs from Singapore are included), the mask looked very good and the ability to change filters was particularly attractive. Spread across the year, the cost of my mask works out at about US$6 per month (including international shipping & replacement filters), which is actually very cheap especially when you see what gets trapped on the filters. I Purchased the headstrap classic with extra 94% filters (92% bulk pack was sold out at the time). This review is based on 5 weeks of use.

My experience using the mask has generally been excellent, and I have recommended it to many people. Using the mask is very easy. Once it’s on, it is very comfortable and I tend to forget about it. It can easily be pulled aside when necessary which I find useful as need to be able to speak in order to purchase train tickets on part of my journey. A major advantage over my previous fabric mask is that it covers the minimum of my face and the straps are simple, thin plastic. This makes the mask much more comfortable, because the fabric mask trapped heat around my face and neck like a scarf, which quickly became uncomfortable in the Jakarta heat.

Although I was worried excess moisture might get trapped in the mask, so far I have found that this is not a problem. Furthermore, if the mask gets wet through condensation or rain, it can be wiped dry easily, or it will dry itself very quickly. With the fabric mask, I sometimes had to put a cold wet mask on if it had rained in the morning and the mask hadn’t dried before home time.

Totobobo filter after using in Jakarta for 12 hours

The filters are excellent and I found the comparison colour guide on the replacement filter packaging a very handy feature, making it simple to know when to change the filter. Changing the filter can be done in under a minute, and is very easy. In my experience in Jakarta, I need to change the filters after about 12 hours of cycling time (see photo). It’s quite alarming to see what the filters collect, that would have otherwise been in my lungs.

I think it looks a lot nicer than many of the other alternatives on the market, and many people in the street have been curious about the mask, even though wearing masks is very common in Jakarta. The clear plastic means you can easily see when the mask needs a clean. The mask packs down pretty small, and is durable, so I can easily stuff it in a pocket or in my rucksack when I’m not on the bike.

I still find it quite difficult to get a complete seal, because my nose is quite narrow and it is difficult to get the mask to seal where the nose joins the face (although watching the fitting video improved the fit a lot). However, I think that even the partial seal is sufficient to cut out most of the pollution. I’m reluctant to start cutting the mask in case I make the problem worse.

My strap snapped after 4 weeks of use, which was frustrating as I didn’t order a spare with the original shipment and the cost of ordering one now would be about US$30 (including shipping). Fortunately, the strap can easily be tied back together and I have continued to use the mask without problems.

Overall I would (and have) recommended it to anyone cycling in an urban area. I think it is an excellent product.
thanks Totobobo
PS. I also think the website is really good and constantly improving. the videos showing how to do everything are great. Although the instructions that come with the mask are adequate, I watched the video and it helped me to improve the fit of the mask

Przemek from Poland


Always happy to know that Totobobo mask make it possible for a person to continue using bicycle even when the air pollution gets worst. Through words of mouth, Totobobo mask is now selling to over 50 countries. Poland is a relative recent phenomenon.

Przemek Maciolek from Cracow, Poland sent us the following in 2012-12-16:
“Cracow, while beautiful, is one of the most polluted cities in EU (I believe that during the winter the air quality is even worse than London). Few months ago I started using bicycle for commuting and cannot look back for any other option. Cycling is just so right from a number of reasons. (editor:YES!!)

But now, we have winter here, and the pollution levels are many times over the dangerous zone. You can pretty much feel you are breathing toxic fumes… I needed to find a solution – that would allow me to cycle to work, but keeping me safe at the same time.

I was considering many options… but almost every review I have found was pointing to Totobobo. Even if this wasn’t my first choice, I gradually changed my mind and decided to try it. I am very curious of the results. Will be happy to share my opinion as a user in few weeks. Thanks!”

After 10 months of using Totobobo mask, we received another mail from Przemek:

“My first Totobobo was bought year ago and it came with ear loop rather than the headstrap (as I ordered it). I used it quite a few times and thought that it would be nice to replace the ear loop with headstrap accessory for this winter and buy another one for my daughter. ”

Thank you Przemek!

Bertrand’s hot update from Mumbai

Setting up exhibition in Mumbai Exhibition center

Setting up exhibition in Mumbai Exhibition center

Bertrand Jenner was setting up an exhibition in Mumbai Exhibition Center. The dust and smoke inside the exhibition hall is not much better than the traffic pollution outside in the street. He purchased a Totobobo mask and this is the time to use it. Bertrand is so kind to send us the following photos and comments:

2013-09-15 Sent by Bertrand JENNER from Mumbai

“I finally got my hands on a new mask and I was able to mould it. See the results. I’m in Mumbai this week, so I can really appreciate the mask :D”
“after 1h in hot Exhibition Center during setup, I can tell you that the mask is incredible !
You can share the pictures no problems.
This filter has been used just for 1h…”

It would be nice to compare Bertrand’s filters with others with other examples from Asia
after 6 hours of use in Mumbai.

Thanks you! Bertrand!

Totobobo mask before ReShape, there is a gap around the nosebridge
Totobobo mask before ReShape, there is a gap around the nosebridge
Totobobo mask after ReShape, there the gap around the nose bridge has been closed
The gap around the nose bridge was closed after ReShape
Totobobo mask after ReShape
Totobobo mask after ReShape
1 hour used filter in Mumbai Exhibition Centre
1 hour used filter in Mumbai Exhibition Centre

Totobobo filter after 4 hours use in Mumbai exhibition center.
Totobobo filter after 4 hours use in Mumbai exhibition center.

Related post:
How to ReShape Totobobo mask to get the perfect fit?

In door Air pollution and Domestic Chores

When you discuss air pollution, most people think of the chemicals and particles breathed in when outside. Of course, traffic and industrial pollutants are a real hazard for our health. However, that doesn’t mean we are that much better off indoors. In fact, the air in our homes can be far more polluted than the air outside, even in a major city. Indeed, the Environmental Protection Agency suggests the air inside air homes can be even more damaging to our health than the air outside because of the prolonged exposure to it.

The good news is that many of the pollutants in our home or office lie dormant in the carpet or furnishings, so they do us very little harm when we are just relaxing on the couch watching TV or are sat at our desks working. However, when we do the domestic chores and start vacuuming and dusting, these dormant particles become disturbed and can spread into the air, resulting in our exposure to them increasing. For commercial cleaners, the problem is even worse. Worst of all, prolonged exposure to some of these pollutants in our homes and offices can have quite dramatic effects on our health.


There is a common misconception that dust is comprised mainly of human skin cells. Actually, the truth is that dust can contain anything, but human skin cells are fairly common, and while breathing in these particles is pretty harmless, some other components lingering in household dust can be much more hazardous to our health. One pollutant found in dust in virtually all homes and offices, is dust mites. Dust mites live in our carpets and bedding, even in the cleanest of homes. As they mainly eat human skin cells, it means our homes and offices are abundant feeding grounds. Dust mites are the leading cause of allergies in the UK and United States and have been linked to causing and aggravating conditions such as asthma.

While dust mites themselves don’t cause these allergies, their feces does, and it is this we are breathing in when we start cleaning the carpets and bedding. Of course, regular cleaning can drastically reduce the number of dust mites in our homes, but even in the cleanest of houses, they will still exist in abundance. Furthermore, vacuuming, bed stripping, and cleaning disturbs the tiny dust mite particles, so when we carry out these activities, we are most at risk of up breathing in this common pollutant.

Tobacco smoke

While everybody knows the dangers of smoking and second hand smoke, what it is less well known is that the particles in smoke can still be harmful a long time after people have stubbed out their cigarettes. Not only can these particles still cause cancer and respiratory problems, but also they can cause throat irritations, headaches and other health problems. Because these particles are fairly large and heavy, they often linger in carpets and curtains, so when you start cleaning, they become airborne again, resulting in you breathing them in. Of course, if there is a smoker in your home, by far the best solution is to encourage them to stop, and there are plenty of products available these days that can help you quit smoking. However, for those that share a home with somebody unable to quit, or for cleaners who have to work in environments where people have been smoking, tobacco particles can represent a serious health concern.

Mold and other pollutants

Another common pollutant in our homes and workplaces is mold. Mold is a fungus, and as such, it puts out spores that can be breathed in. However, in small quantities, mold spores are fairly harmless, but when they land on wet or damp surfaces, the mold grows, producing even more spores, which in greater numbers can cause chest irritations, allergies, and problems with the eyes, nose and throat.

Other potentially harmful particles in the air include wood fibers, particularly from self-assembly furniture as these contain glues and resins that can cause rashes, nausea and asthma attacks. In addition, machines such as computer printers are also pretty hazardous to our health as they spit out tiny particles of ink, ozone and toner, which are all lung irritants. These are of course much more prevalent in offices, which means that commercial cleaners are at an even greater risk.

Totobobo mask

Despite all these pollutants in the home and office, nobody is suggesting you should wear protection such as a Totobobo mask when just sitting on your couch watching TV or sat at your computer working. However, when cleaning, vacuuming, changing the printer cartridge or putting up self-assembly furniture, keeping these harmful particles out of your lungs may reduce potential health problems. Furthermore, for commercial cleaners, protection such as a Totobobo mask is even more important because the prolong exposure to these pollutants makes health problems even more likely.

Related articles:
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Pollution in School Bus

More advanced features of TOTOBOBO mask
How to customize TOTOBOBO mask to fit your face?

How to clean TOTOBOBO mask for reuse?
How long does the filter last?

Mike Mc Carthy and his experience with SuperCool mask

Mike Mc Carthy and his Totobobo SuperCool mask

Finding a suitable air filter mask for cycling is often not an easy task. Cycling posts many challenges to mask wearing: restriction of air flow, uncomfortable heat built up inside the mask, uncomfortable straps, goggle fogging, or the extra bulk to carry when the mask in not being used. I hope the following post will be able to help some of you out there, if you are looking for a suitable mask to protect your lung while cycling in air pollution so common in modern cities.

Our big thanks to Mike Mc Carthy for generously sharing his experience of searching and using Totobobo SuperCool mask for cycling. Mike first bought a SuperCool mask based on his research on internet. Following is his comments as the time goes by.

2012-09-28 Mike left a note when he bought his first Totobobo mask
I am a cyclist in a large city and the pollution can sometimes be a killer, I did try another mask that also covered my nose but it just so easily fogged my glasses up (As well as costing a lot more!) On an internet search I found Totobobo mask and I like the price as well as the fact that it leaves your nose uncovered, cycling with a mask and un-fogged glasses will be a luxury!

2012-10-06 Mike received and quickly tested with his SuperCool mask
Took delivery of my “cycle” mask yesterday and tried it for the first time today – was a short cycle, 12Km. just 35 minutes on my bike was amazed to see it had already discolored from that short time. Can’t imagine how bad it will get after 2 or 3 hours of City riding.
I am still not satisfied with the fit, maybe takes a while to get used to, don’t want to do too much cutting (And do please cut carefully and cautiously). Another upside for me was the mask also stops you from breathing dry air, their is some condensation to take the dry cut out of the air – I like that.
Design simplicity – Yes.
Functionality – Yes.
Fashionable – NO !
I doubt I will ever cycle again without it!

2012-11-19 Mike’s further feedback after 6 weeks of using SuperCool mask for cycling in Nagoya, Japan
As a cyclist, I been using the mask now for about 6 weeks and am very happy, it definately cuts down on the amount of pollutants one breathes in, and now that the air is much colder and drier (Nagoya Japan) a huge bonus for me is the fact that it cuts down on that cold dry air going straight into my lungs, the mask seems to warm the air up and moistens it cutting down on the cold dryness.
The only problems I had were minor – I cut too much away from the nose part – so cut slowly and carefully, also I hated the head straps – two of them that went around the back of my head, so I changed them so I could loop over my ears and are pre adjusted, very comfortable now!

I also regret not having ordered 2 sets of this mask – I want to keep one at my work place. Another order in the works. I got to say thanks for making a reasonably priced and extremely functional mask.

Related articles:
SuperCool, the coolest cycling mask
Philippines: Cool picture of SuperCool
SuperCool respirator review by product design student
What Ross say about the Totobobo SuperCool?
Mike Mc Carthy and his experience with SuperCool mask
Protect your lungs when riding in the city

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12 useful features for cyclist
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Biking in Beijing + my pollution solution

thanks to the Totobobo Mask, it’s filters trap PM2.5, filter out 96% of unhealthy particles in the air, including pollution and viruses. I can actually smell fresh air when I inhale. I can bike. I can walk outside to buy groceries.

by Wilfred Chan from Beijing

I’m tired of moping over my pollution-induced hacking cough. I refuse to hide inside my apartment any longer. I have six more weeks here, and damn it, I am going to have fun, I am going to explore this city, and I am going to do it without getting lung cancer.

Besides, what am I so worried about, anyway? This city is full of rainbows:

braving an AQI of 220, fixie rider explore Beijing with unhealthy particles in the air, including pollution and viruses. I can actually smell fresh air when I inhale. I can bike. I can walk outside to buy groceries.
Braving an AQI of 220, with the mask on, I can bike. I can walk outside to buy groceries.

The good news is that I’ve found a way to save my trip, thanks to the Totobobo Mask I bought yesterday for 180 yuan. It has two filters that trap microns down to 0.3 microns in diameter, and filter out 92-96% of unhealthy particles in the air, including pollution and viruses. I can actually smell fresh air when I inhale. I can bike. I can walk outside to buy groceries. And I may look like a post-apocalyptic piglet when I’m wearing it, but I don’t care, because I feel like a functioning human being again!

So, I kind of apologize for the complaining last time. I may have to wear a freaky mask now, but I am going to give this city another chance.

Today, with mask firmly attached, I went out with Juanes for a 20-mile ride (complete route here), braving an AQI of 220* with very high PM2.5 in the air.

An air quality index of 220 is considered Moderately Polluted according to the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection, which I like to think of as humans should probably fucking stay indoors.

I will show you a picture of what my mask looked like AFTER the ride. The left side is a new set of filters. The right side is my mask, after three hours of biking.

Totobobo filter after three hours of riding in AQI200 Beijing air
Totobobo filter after three hours of riding in AQI200 Beijing air

Yep! I’m never taking this thing off again.

More user stories:
Totobobo filter after one month cycling in London
Bert Leatherman review Totobobo mask
Scrollsaw workshop review by Steve


MIDI MUSIC FESTIVAL IN BEIJING : Haidian Park, Beijing / Dates: April 29th – May 1st 2012

Beijing Midi Music Festival Poster , Designer Zhu Wei

Midi Music Festival is regarded as the Woodstock of China. It is Chinas largest rock music festival, which also started as the first music festival in China. With tens of bands at home and abroad volunteering to perform at Midi, it attracts tens of thousands of young people all over the country. Many travel long distances by train just to catch the annual feast for ears.

The theme this year is “PM 2.5,” focusing attention on a growing environmental problem in China. PM 2.5, also called “fine particles,” is an air pollutant with less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. Avant-guarde artist Zhu Wei designed this year’s poster, describing a future scene where all people care about environment. Zhu Wei also designed the poster for 2006 Midi Music Festival, as well as directing the music video for Miserable Faith’s famous song, “Bloom.”

Source: International Beijing Foreign Studies University

My Health In Beijing ( recommended Totobobo mask to block PM2.5

Totobobo in TimeOut Beijing

Beijing air and air filter mask

That’s the question that Beijing TimeOut set off to find out..

“There are many wonderful things about Beijing, but the air isnt one of them. Even on a supposedly blue-sky day, air-quality index (AQI) readings for particulate matter (PM) of 2.5 micrometres those small enough to get into the bloodstream and do damage to the respiratory system can be in the hundreds. On really bad days, the AQI pushes past the 500 limit; a level thats officially hazardous or beyond index, but now known locally (thanks to a mischievous tweet from the US Embassy) as crazy bad.”

Although the risk is not as high as some people may think, there are certain groups of people should take note and avoid going out on “bad air day”, these includes children (especially infant and toddlers), patients with asthma or chronic coughs, or people with pre-conditions that make them susceptible heart attack or stroke.

When it comes to air filter mask for protection, this is what Dr Richard Saint Cyr, a family medicine doctor at Beijing United Family Hospital said:

Dont just get a surgical mask, says Dr Saint Cyr. The best ones are rated N95, which literally means 95 percent of air particles smaller than PM0.3 are filtered out. The Respro cycling masks work really well, but personally I like the Totobobo masks.

Read more at TimeOut Beijing

Totobobo on Taobao

Totobobo mask is now available at Taobao now.

This Taobao shop is from the first official online dealer ( in China. You can obtain detailed information about Totobobo in Chinese. Furthermore, if you are located in Beijing and purchase from there, you shall receive your mask earlier than before. Now if you order one mask and 5 pairs of F96 filters together, delivery charge will be waived. Don’t miss the chance!

Bert Leatherman

Bert Leatherman in Sau Paulo
Bert Leatherman wearing Totobobo mask in Sao Paulo

From time to time we receive feedback from our users. It is always a pleasure to read these feedback, whether they are positive or not. For example, on November 30, 2011, Bert sent the following to us:

“Looks like your mask works great! Here’s a photo of a filter (compared to a new one) after 3 days’ use for 1-2 hours per day on the streets of Sao Paulo. Feel free to publish this photo anywhere you’d like. Thanks! Bert

Bert's filter after about 5 hours of walking in Sao Paulo

Soon after, Bert send another mail concerning about the fit around the nose bridge. Since more people may be interested here is listed his question and our answer:

Bert: Any ideas for improving the seal around my nose? Air leaks in beside the bridge of my nose a bit when I inhale. Thanks!

Francis: Regarding the slight gap near to the nose brdige, you may try to use the nose-rest of your sun glasses to press on the mask to help to close it.

There may also other ways to trim the mask so that it fits better. But I’d need a few good quality, close up photos showing the problem situation now in order to give our advice.

To clarify, Bert uses the Totobobo mask just for walking, not cycling. The grey pollutant trapped on the filter could be worst if he was cycling and breathe more heavily. In any case, the filter shows a lot of pollutants would have entered his airways and lungs if not for the protection of the filter.