How to Make Your Own Fabric Face Mask

| 7/10/2020 9:56:00 AM

DIY mask all finished with bias tape for ties. 

While many people are donating handmade masks to local hospitals and doctor’s offices, make yourself a mask first. Although most states are in lock down, most of us are still making occasional trips to pick up animal feed and groceries. Wearing a mask offers some protection for yourself and others; it’s also a reminder: Do not touch your face!

Before I get a barrage of comments about how homemade masks aren’t proven to be effective, you’re correct. They’re not as effective as an N95. If you’re working face-to-face with someone with COVID-19 and they’re coughing phlegm on you, these are not the best option. 

But let’s leave the N95 masks to the doctors and nurses who are face to face with this epidemic. We can quickly and easily sew masks for everyone in our family to reduce our risk of catching or spreading this horrible virus.

I’ve made masks for my kids, my husband, myself, and I mailed some to my mom. While I don’t plan for my sons to leave the house, I made these for them in case of an emergency. You never know when you might need to bring your child to a doctor so it’s good to have a few on hand if necessary. 

If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can still sew these by hand, use a bandanna, or just cut three layers of cotton to tie around your nose and mouth before you leave home. If you don’t have cotton fabric, get creative! You can use a few layers of T-shirt material. You can upcycle some old sheets or an old shirt. You probably have something in your house that will work.

7/16/2020 3:09:20 PM

For the record: Cambridge University published a study on the various materials, thickness, etc., and efficacy of homemade masks. First, 100% cotton, in only 2 layers, is 75% effective at germ filtration (as opposed to 95% of an N95). Second, 100% cotton t-shirt material is 73% effective at filtration (not as great as cotton quilting material, say, but perhaps more comfortable for children or those with sensitive skin). Last, increasing the layers by more than 2, or using any kind of filter material in between increases filtration by only 2% but DECREASES BREATHABILITY by 50%. You will be less likely to wear a mask if you cannot breathe comfortably. Please don't overthink these: 100% cotton, 2 layers only, is the idea combination (Davies et al, 2013, Cambridge, Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness)

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