How to Make Your Own Cloth Mask for Covid-19

Covid-19 is a deadly disease that has taken thousands of lives around the world. Since a vaccine is not currently available, the best way to protect against the condition is to maintain social distance and wear a mask. However, the latter can be difficult since masks are not readily available on the market due to huge demand.

If you’ve been having difficulties in acquiring a face mask then put your worries to rest because it is possible to make your own cloth mask for Covid-19.

In this article, we’ll tell you How to make your own cloth mask for Covid-19 to protect against coronavirus and stop its spread.

Let’s get started:

Face Mask for covid-19

We know that a majority of people do not exhibit symptoms. They can quickly spread the virus to others as it travels via droplets when one speaks, sneezes, or coughs. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone wears cloth face coverings when they step out of the house to perform important tasks such as grocery shopping.

Some governments have also made it mandatory for citizens to wear a mask if they have to step out of the house for any purpose. Not wearing a mask can get you behind bars or fined. Hence, the importance of a face mask is obvious.

Some reports suggest that one should wear a face mask indoors as well, especially if you share your space with a number of people. Doing so will protect not just you but your loved ones as well. It’s the only way to control this pandemic.

Materials to Make Your Own Cloth Mask for Coronavirus

  • 100% cotton fabric – size 7” x 9” – 2 pieces
  • 100% cotton fabric – size 1 ½” x 6”– 2 pieces
  • 100% cotton fabric – size 1 ½” x 40”– 2 pieces
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Rulers
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine

It’s best to construct masks from tightly woven and high thread count cotton fabrics. The best part is that you will (in most cases) not have to step out to find materials as most of these goods are usually available at home.

Make sure to pick a non-stretchy fabric that isn’t knit. Some of your best options include Sateen, Percale, Poplin, and Shirting. 

Shirt fabric is not suitable but you can opt for pillowcases and high thread count sheets. 

Test your fabric first to ensure it meets the required standards. A reliable way to test its quality is to fold the fabric into two layers. 

Once folded, it should not be transparent, i.e: you must not be able to see through it. However, you must still be able to breathe through it without any difficulty.

How to Make Your Own Cloth Mask for Covid-19: A Step by Step Guide

Before we start on how to make your own cloth mask for the Covid-19 guide, we suggest that you have a look at official guidelines from the CDC that explain the quality of homemade masks you can use.

The center provides tips on materials to use. You will also find some tutorials for no-sew and sew crafting methods in CDC guidelines.

Let’s start with our instructions on how to make your own cloth mask for Covid-19:

  1. Place main mask pieces together (wrong side) and sew them around the edges at 1/4" so they stay secure.

  2. Place pins at a distance of 7 inches along edges to create pleats. You will have to carefully bring first needle to second so you can create pleats. Repeat this process until you reach the sixth pleat.

  3. Once more sew upon your previous stitching for a stronger bond. This will help secure pleats.

  4. Take the binding pieces (1 ½” x 6”) and press up on both 1/4".

  5. Place the unfolded side of the mask along the pleated edge and stitch at a distance of 1/4".

  6. Fold the binding around seam allowance and pin on the opposite side to encase the raw edge. Next, topstitch in place.

  7. Repeat the previous step for the opposite side and trim mask binding so that it matches the mask.

  8. Take the two 1 ½” x 40” strap pieces and folder and press log edges to the center.

  9. Pick the mask and fold it in half along the long edge and use a pin to mark the center. Repeat the process with the strap.

  10. Match centers and pin the strap in position. Measure 1/4" and stitch to mask the body. 

  11. Pick the strap and wrap it around seam allowance and pin.

  12. Take strap ends and unfold them then fold in 1/4" before refolding pressed creases. Use a pin to secure.

  13. Topstitch the entire strap including the mask. Finish it by stitching across strap ends and in the end press pleats flat.

  14. You’re done.

If you find this mask too complex or if you want an option that involves no sewing then check out our steps on how to make your own cloth mask for Covid-19 without sewing.

How to Make Your Own Cloth ask for Covid-19 Without Sewing

While sewing a mask is better, if you do not have access to a sewing machine or you do not want to bear the trouble then you can check our tutorial on how to make your own cloth mask for Covid-19 without sewing.

Here's what you will need to make a Covid-19 mask.

  • A cotton handkerchief
  • 2 hair ties

The process is simple, here are your instructions: 

  1. Pick the handkerchief and place it face down on the table or whatever surface you have.

  2. Pick the top and fold it to the center of the handkerchief.

  3. Next, pick the bottom and fold it to the center of the handkerchief.

  4. Flip it over and fold the top to the center and the bottom as well.

  5. Once again, flip it over and thread the handkerchief's ends through the hair ties.

  6. Fold the sides and you're done.

This mask is not as effective as our previous option but it does get the job done.

Is a Cloth Mask Really Effective?

While a homemade cloth mask can be effective, it isn’t a substitute for regular Personal Protective Equipment, i.e: N95 masks. If you have access to an N95 or other high quality masks then you should stick to it.

Nonetheless, a 2013 British study showed that cloth masks can be effective. Scientists in the UK tested different everyday materials as filters for masks including pillowcases, vacuum cleaner bags, shirts, and dish towels to know how effective they can be.

The research proved that using makeshift masks is better than not using anything at all.

According to the report, commercial masks can filter out 3x more particles than a homemade mask. Similarly, commercial grade masks can block twice as many respiratory droplets as a homemade mask. 

This is very important because coronavirus spreads through respiratory droplets.  

On the other hand, homemade versions proved to be of help. Anna Davies, one of the researchers working on the report and a research facilitator at the University of Cambridge said,

“Homemade masks did prevent some microbes from getting through, suggesting the makeshift masks were better than nothing at all.”

The former public health microbiologist suggests individuals to use whatever they can to protect against the disease.

There are also other studies that have studied the benefits of homemade masks. One such study was conducted in 2015 in Vietnam.

According to the report, workers who went to work in cloth masks acquired a larger number of influenza-like illnesses and respiratory infections than workers who went to work wearing surgical masks. 

Scientists conducted lab tests on the mask that showed that cloth masks were able to prevent about 3% of particles from passing through the cloth. On the other hand, surgical masks prevented about 56% of particles from passing through the cloth.

While 3% is not a very high number, we can say that cloth masks are effective to an extent. Unfortunately, the study did not compare wearing cloth masks to wearing no mask at all.

All in all, even if cloth masks are not perfect, we can’t deny the fact that they play an important role in slowing the spread of Covid-19 by preventing the virus from escaping one’s mouth and nose.

This means that a mask does not only prevent you by blocking droplets from entering your mouth but it also prevents others by stopping droplets from exiting. 

A report published by Natural Medicine in April 2020 concluded that surgical masks can play an important role in reducing the spread of Covid-19, whether it be via airborne particles or respiratory droplets.

How to Care for a Homemade Mask

Like any other equipment and security item, homemade masks also require proper care and maintenance. 

The most important thing is to launder your cloth mask in between each use. Also, keep your mask away from masks worn by others including your family members.

You can use a washing machine to wash your mask.

Here are some more tips from Lopez, an expert in the field:

“Wash your hands before and after taking off a mask — before to avoid getting anything on your face and mask, and after to get rid of anything that was on your mask. Don’t fidget with your mask while it’s on. If possible, throw away disposable masks after using them. And if you can’t throw a mask away, make sure to thoroughly disinfect it with ultraviolet light sterilizers — not something most people have around. Or, if using a cloth product, soap and water or laundering works.”

Can a Homemade Mask Prevent Other Diseases as Well?

A homemade mask can be effective in controlling the spread of influenza-like illnesses and respiratory infections by controlling airborne particles or respiratory droplets. However, it cannot protect you against other illnesses. Also, wearing a mask never provides 100% protection.

You must still abide by social distancing rules as it is the best method to control the virus.

Is Everyone Supposed to Wear a Mask?

The California Department of Public Health doesn’t recommend the general public to routinely use PPE to prevent the stop of Covid-19.  

According to the organization, we should concentrate more on precautionary measures like:

  • Using a sanitizer or soap to wash hands for at least 20 seconds
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are frequently touched. You can use soap or detergent for this purpose.
  • Avoid touching the mouth, nose, or eyes without washing hands.
  • Covering your face with your elbow or a piece of paper/cloth when you sneeze or cough
  • Staying away from people if you are sick
  • Maintaining physical distance from others

You must wear a mask at all hours when you step out because you cannot be sure of who may be carrying the virus. Plus, healthcare workers are also required to wear a mask when they’re around patients as they may be carrying the virus.

How to Wear and Remove a Homemade Cloth Mask

Now that you know how to make a mask to protect against Covid-19, let’s talk about how to wear one:

  • Make sure the mask fits well
  • It should fully cover your eyes and mouth
  • Use ear loops or ties to secure it
  • The mask shouldn’t feel uncomfortable but must not be loose
  • You must make sure not to touch your mouth, eyes, or nose when removing the mask.
  • Wash your hands right after you remove the mask.
wear face mask

How to Make Your Own Cloth Mask for Covid-19: FAQ

Here are some of the most common questions on how to make a cloth mask for coronavirus:

How long does it take to make a mask?

This depends on your skills and expertise but we believe it will not take you more than 15 minutes. However, the job can take longer if you do not know sewing.

Since sewing involves using a needle, it is important to be careful. Do not attempt it if you do not know it.

How much does a homemade mask cost?

A homemade mask does not typically cost more than $1 including cloth. Most items are readily available at home. You will only have to spend a little to collect the required raw materials.

How long does a homemade cloth mask for coronavirus last?

Most masks will be good for about 3 days. You must get a new mask if it gets wet due to breathing or coughing. 

Why are some countries not supporting masks?

Some countries such as Scotland haven’t been pushing very aggressively for masks. The WHO says it’s a private matter and countries can decide what’s right.

Some countries are using other measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, especially because it has been proven that some individuals tend to step out more often when they have a mask. 

Detesting the use of masks is a trick to ensure people stay home.

Can I donate these masks?

Some hospitals and NGOs accept homemade masks. You can Google for the nearest organization to donate these masks. Get in touch with them to know more.

How to Make Your Own Cloth Mask for Covid-19: Conclusion

This is all that you need to know about how to make your own cloth mask for Covid-19. Craft one today if you cannot get your hands on a commercial grade mask.

Handmade masks have been proven to be effective and can protect you and your loved ones. Stay safe!

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