While wearing a face mask is no substitute for staying indoors and practicing safe social distancing, it’s good practice to wear one when you need to go outside or in public places for essential trips.
Buying a new mask is the most preferred method, but since surgical masks as well as N95’s are in low supply, it may be best to make your own in the meantime.
But don’t worry, it’s easy, and fun!
Here are some simple, step-by-step instructions from the CDC on how to do just that, and no, you don’t even need to know how to sew.
What you’ll need:
- Bandana, T-shirt or square cotton cloth, about 20″ x 20″
- Rubber bands or hair ties
- Coffee filter
Here’s The Steps
- Cut the bottom off a folded coffee filter. Keep the top part — you’ll need it for the filter in your mask.
- Lay a bandana or 20″ x 20″ T-shirt flat in a rectangle. Fold the bandana or shirt in half lengthwise.
- Fold the cut filter in the center of the folded bandana or shirt. Then, fold the top of the bandana or shirt down over the filter. Fold the bottom up.
- Place rubber bands or hair ties around the folded bandana or shirt, about 6 inches apart.
- Fold the side of the bandana or shirt in toward the middle and tuck.
- Place the rubber bands or hair ties around your ears, and voila — you’ve made a face mask, no sewing required.
Woohoo, you’re done! Now, let’s get onto the important safety stuff.
How do you wear it?
If you don’t wear your mask properly… you’re better off not wearing it at all. Here’s the correct procedures you should take any time you plan on wearing your mask out in public.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before touching or putting on the mask.
- Make sure your entire nose and mouth are covered
- Try to avoid touching the mask while you’re out
- Do not remove for the duration of your trip
- Once you safely return, untie the mask from the back — don’t touch the front of it.
- You should immediately wash the mask after returning so it doesn’t contaminate your belongings.
- Wash your hands immediately after you’ve taken it off
Are homemade masks even effective?
There’s been studies that show, non surprisingly, home made masks do not have the same efficiency as surgical or medical masks, however, they’re better than nithing.
They still offer a form of a physical barrier from dust particles, but do not have the same filtering aspects as a N95 or similar masks.
For those who are not essential workers, and are only taking a short trip or two out each week, these homemade style masks will work, but they are no replacement for safe social distancing measures.
How do you clean them?
Ah yes, the most important question. Because if your mask is filthy and covered in germs already, is it even worth wearing?
Your masks should be thoroughly washed and laundered before and after each use. They’re best to either hand wash, or put in a washing bag for use in a washing machine if you have one.
What if I can’t make my own?
If for any reason, you can’t make your own, there are other options. While surgical masks and other professional quality ones are indeed running low, there are countless other options available.
For example, on Etsy there are still countless of local sellers making and selling their own masks, as well as some startups and other well known clothing companies like Atoms, manufacturing and selling high quality masks which could serve as a replacement or upgrade for your current handmade one.
Practice the same cleaning and care measures with a bought mask as you would with your own. And finally, keep in mind that shipping times are slower everywhere on the internet, so factor that in if you are waiting on one.