Due to the coronavirus outbreak, most government officials around the world recommend wearing protective face masks in public, in an effort to minimize the transmission. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has lead to shortages of medical supplies, which is why many experts agree that medical face masks should be reserved for healthcare professionals, leaving people to make their own protective masks at home.
Of course, it’s worth mentioning that a homemade face mask alone cannot protect you from the virus, as you need to exercise the recommended hygiene and social distancing measures, but it will serve as an additional layer of safety, primarily protecting the people around you. And thankfully, it’s quite quick and simple to make a no-sew face mask at home.
What are the best materials for a face mask?
The best fabric recommendations for a DIY face mask are tightly woven, 100% cotton materials, which can be anything from shirts and T-shirts to handkerchiefs and bandanas, or even curtains and pillowcases. In order to make a face mask even more efficient and protective, it’s also advised to use an additional layer of paper towels or coffee filters inside your masks, which will help block microscopic particles more successfully.
Making a no-sew face mask two different ways
Even if you don’t own a sewing machine or can’t use a needle and a thread in the most productive manner, there are still a number of different ways you can make your own protective face mask, all from materials you most likely already have in your home. Here are some of the most popular no-sew methods:
Method 1: Using an old T-shirt
- Start by using an old cotton T-shirt, preferably one made with a thinker, more tightly woven material that doesn’t have any holes or other forms of damage.
Outline the pattern of your face mask using a marker, making sure that the bottom line of the mask goes just underneath the armpit areas of the T-shirt. Then, cut along the marked lines through both the front and the backside of the T-shirt at once, to make sure your face mask has two protective layers, instead of one.
- Put a safety pin (or a paper clip) on the bottom line of the mask, and then insert a coffee filter or a paper towel piece between the two layers of the T-shirt. This will act as an added filter and will rest safely on top of the pin or clip.
- Finally, put the mask on your face, making sure your mouth and nose are fully covered. Crisscross the straps, tying the top ones behind your neck, and the bottom ones around your head, to ensure a comfortable fit under your chin, and a better and more secure fit overall.
Method 2: Using a handkerchief and hair ties
- Start by using an intact handkerchief and two hair ties. While rubber bands could to the trick as well, they might be too uncomfortable and painful for longer wear.
- Fold your handkerchief horizontally in half, making a prominent crease, before placing a coffee filter or a folded paper towel in the middle of your handkerchief. Then, bend the bottom of the handkerchief upwards, and the top downwards, making sure that the added filter rests securely in the center of the fold.
- Put one hairband approximately one third away from the end of the handkerchief, and do the same on the other side. The two hair ties should ideally stand about one palm-length apart.
- Finally, fold both end sides of the handkerchief inwards, towards the middle, and then carefully tuck in one side of the handkerchief into the flap of the other, before putting the mask on.
Note: For added comfort, you could also use fabric strips instead of elastic bands, which you could tie around your head and the back of your neck.
The proper use and maintenance of face masks:
- It’s recommended to only wear face masks in public areas, such as stores, supermarkets, banks, post offices, and other places where you are most likely to be surrounded by people. There’s no need to wear them at home, in the car, or on empty streets, unless you’re with elderly or immunocompromised people.
- Don’t touch or take off your face mask before you come home, or another place where you can thoroughly wash and disinfect your hands.
- Once you safely remove the mask, always dispose of the coffee filter or paper towel insert. Then, place your face mask in soapy water, letting it soak for about five minutes, before thoroughly washing and rinsing it again. Then, remember to wash your hands once more, and disinfect any surfaces you might have touched with alcohol or bleach.
While making a no-sew face mask at home might be simple, proper use and maintenance are absolutely essential, in order to ensure everyone is safe and protected, including you.