Protective face masks are becoming the norm as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep across the U.S. However, with such a high demand and the nation’s health professionals in need of the surgical and N95 masks available, people are turning to DIY cloth face masks for trips to the grocery store and other essential errands.
So how do you create your own? We rounded up some of the Internet’s best and easiest tips, tricks and techniques to create your own protective face covering at home. Now they won’t be medical-standard but any extra layer of protection can’t hurt!
CDC Basic Guidelines
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are five key elements to an effective face mask: it should fit snugly, be secured with ties or loops, include multiple layers of fabric, there’s no breathing restrictions and is able to be washed without being damaged.
“Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure,” they advised.
Clearly, it’s important to find something you can breathe through that’s still going to block out particles. Scott Segal, chairman of anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Health, told Market Watch, “some cotton fabrics filter less than 25 percent of air particles.”
So he recommends a quilters cotton, which is a tightly woven, high-thread-count fabric that will filter out 70-79 percent particles (N95 masks filter out 95 percent). To discover if what you’re using works, Segal says to hold it up to the light to see if any rays pass through the material. “If you see light between fibers it’s not a good filter,” he said. “Even on dark fabrics if you hold them up to the light or to the sun you will still be able to see if the fabric’s fibers will show or not.”
No-Sew Old T-Shirt Trick
If you’re like Us, you have an old tee you haven’t worn in years sitting around. Now’s the perfect time to put it to good use! Simply cut the bottom 7-8 inches of the shirt off so the closed-loop of the shirt remains intact. Then, taking that bottom 8-inch loop, snip a rectangle out of the side (about six inches deep and wide) to create a top and bottom string that you can tie below your ears and at the top of your head.
If you’re confused, check out an easy-to-digest diagram here.
Use a Bandana and Hair Ties
Here’s another super simple non-sewing method the CDC recommends. You’ll need a square cotton cloth, coffee filters and hair ties. You start by cutting the coffee filter in half horizontally, saving the wider top. You then fold the square cloth in half, creating a rectangle. Then, place the filter directing in the middle of the rectangle, folding both the top and bottom of the cloth over it, which creates a skinnier rectangle.
Then, slide two hair ties around the fabric about six inches apart. To finish, simply fold the fabric on the outside of the hairbands into the middle so the ties are the only things on the outside. These will go around your ears while the highly layered mask will protect your mouth and nose.
Given the constantly evolving nature of COVID-19, Us Weekly wants our readers to have access to the most accurate resources. For the most up-to-date coronavirus information, guidance, and support, consult the CDC, WHO, and information from local public health officials. If you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms, call your primary care provider for medical advice.
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