Coronavirus, that’s incredibly popular all of a sudden, was unheard of before the end of 2019. Since it was a relatively new type of virus to hit the world, medical experts were unprepared. Soon after, it took its toll and was declared as a pandemic.
As a result of the panic it created with its rise, authorities have had conflicting opinions regarding the preventive measures, especially the use of face masks. Some, like the WHO, continue to recommend the use of face masks only for patients and doctors, while others recommend the use of homemade face masks in public places as well. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is among them.
In view of the recommendations for the use of homemade face masks in public by the CDC and other authorities, we have prepared a detailed guide on how to make a homemade face mask. Hopefully, you’ll find it helpful in preparing your own set of customized face masks for the family.
Some rules to follow in the pandemic
Before heading on to preparing a homemade face mask for yourself, here are a few things you should practice while we are facing this pandemic:
1. Avoid hoarding of medical equipment
Medical masks are already short for health workers and patients, and they are the ones who need it the most during this time. Hoarding medical equipment, especially respirators not only puts the health workers at risk of the infection but it also poses a greater threat to us since the virus will spread faster.
2. Safe removal of the mask
Masks must not be removed by touching the front surface since it has already been exposed to the possibly infected air. Remove it by placing the fingers inside from each end and then carefully pulling it out without coming in contact with the exposed portion. Throw it away if you are using single-use surgical face masks. Homemade face masks can be, however, washed thoroughly, dried and then reused.
3. Don’t use on babies
Whether you make homemade face masks or buy them from the store, remember not to use them on children younger than 2 years. It may restrict their breathing and if this happens, they won’t be able to remove it on their own or call for help either.
4. Not for use by cardiac patients or those with respiratory conditions
Those with medical conditions such as these may find the masks constricting and should not use them. Instead, they can practice other measures such as social distancing and sanitizing to keep themselves safe.
5. Follow other precautions
Learning how to make a homemade face mask isn’t the only solution to keeping yourself protected. Follow all the guidelines presented by authorities to ensure safety.
Three face-covering techniques recommended by the CDC
The tricks to making a homemade face mask are simple. Also, you have three alternatives to choose from, based on what you have and whether you know how to sew or not. Here’s how to make a homemade face mask with some very simple household equipment.
T-Shirt face mask without stitching
The easiest option is to make a T-shirt face mask out of an old T-shirt of yours. Here’s how to make a homemade face mask with a T-shirt.
- Rubber bands
- Cut about 7 to 8 inches from the bottom of your old T-shirt to get a double-layered rectangular fabric.
- Lay it flat on the table and fold the base to upwards to the center of the fabric.
- Repeat step 2 with the top of the fabric.
- Now repeat the combination of steps 2 and 3 a second time.
- Now slide rubber band onto the fabric from both ends and leave some fabric protruding out from the bands.
- Fold the protruding sides to the center of the fabric taking them over the hairband and tuck them in.
- Now place each of the bands over your ears and cover your nose and mouth with the fabric that’s between the bands.
Bandana face mask with a coffee filter
Here’s another simple method to protect your nose and mouth against possible infectious particles that are present in the air around you. A bandana alone is too thin to provide much protection. Using a coffee filter packed in the central area will enhance the protection level offered by the structure.
Here’s how to make a homemade face mask with a bandana:
- Coffee filter
- Rubber bands
- Lay the bandana flat on your work table.
- Fold the upper end down to reach the center of the bandana and the lower end upwards to the center.
- Cut a coffee filter in half through its center and place its wider length horizontally along the center of the folded handkerchief.
- Repeat step 2 so that the coffee filter is covered with cloth.
- Now slide the rubber bands into the folded cloth, leaving some unused cloth at the end of each rubber band.
- Fold the outer portions of the cloth inwards over the rubber bands. Tuck them to the center, where the coffee filter is hiding.
- Now place the rubber bands over your ears and cover the nose and mouth with the bandana in the center.
Stitched cotton face mask
If you know how to stitch, you can use your skills to your benefit in these difficult times and learn how to make a homemade face mask that’s more professional than the ones discussed above.
- Cotton fabric
- Sewing machine
- Lay the fabric on the table and cut out identical rectangles, each one about 9”x6” in size.
- Fold the fabric inwards from all the sides and stitch them together. Make sure you keep enough room on the shorter sides to slide the elastic down them.
- Now slide down the elastic from the shorter ends of the rectangle and pull out from the other end.
- Tie a knot to join the ends of the elastic and make a loop for your ears.
- Put on the mask and make adjustments until it fits you securely.
- After making the adjustments, stitch the elastic on the fabric so that it stays in place.