HOW TO MAKE A CLOTH FACE MASK AT HOME

Through the course of time, numerous accessories have been made and worn purely for adornment purposes. However, in this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new accessory has been introduced to help protect ourselves and meet the ever-increasing demand for its use.

The face mask ensures protection for those around you from this new coronavirus which causes COVID-19; it also protects those who are infected from also infecting others.

Currently the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the following types of face masks to the general public. These are:

  1. The surgical face mask.
  2. The N95 face mask.
  3. The cloth face mask.

Although the surgical and N95 face masks are currently in limited supply, the cloth mask can easily be made and is cost-effective. What then is needed in making a homemade face mask?

In making a cloth face mask, you don’t need to have professional sewing skills to make one.

All you need are the following items:

  • Two 10” x 6” rectangles of cotton fabric
  • Two 6” pieces of elastic (or rubber bands, string, cloth strings or hair ties)
  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Ruler or tape measure

PROCEDURE

  • Cut out two 10-by-6-inch rectangles of cotton fabric. Quilting fabric or cotton sheets are most appropriate since they are made with tightly woven cotton. T-shirt fabric will also work. Stack the two rectangles; sew the mask as if it was a single piece of fabric.
  • Fold over the long sides about 1/4 inch and hem. Then fold the double layer of fabric over 1/2 inch along the short sides and stitch down.
  • Run a 6-inch length of 1/8 inch-wide elastic through the wider hem on each side of the mask. These will be the ear loops. Use a large needle to thread it through. Tie the ends tight. In the absence of elastic, use elastic headbands or hair ties. In case you only have a string, you can make longer ties in order to tie the mask behind your head.
  • Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the mask on the elastic and adjust so the mask fits your face. Then securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping.

PRECAUTIONS IN WEARING A CLOTH FACEMASK

How one handles a mask is equally important as wearing one in public. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds before putting on the mask. In the absence of soap and running water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Upon wearing the mask:

  • Hold the rubber bands or ties while securing it to your face
  • Avoid touching the fabric
  • Be sure it fits comfortably

When removing the mask:

  • First wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Use the straps (rubber bands or ties) to unhook or untie the mask from your face.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes
  • Drop the mask into a washing machine or hand wash it with detergent. Air dry the mask and iron the mask for reuse.
  • Wash your hands immediately after removing the mask.

Now that we can make our own homemade face mask, let’s look at some ways of maintaining the fabric face mask.

  • Regularly wash your mask after use in hot water with detergent. Dry the face mask on a high-heat setting. Having an additional mask will minimize the daily laundry.
  • Ensure the mask covers your nose and mouth. Endeavor to measure the mask on your face before you cut it out.
  • Keep the mask on at all times when in public. Don’t lift up the mask to talk to someone or adjust the fit.
  • Refrain from touching the mask once you have it on your face.
  • A face mask does not replace social distancing.
  • According to the CDC, the cloth face mask isn’t safe for children younger than 2 years of age or anyone who is experiencing trouble breathing or is unconscious.

Besides wearing a face mask when you need to go out, remember that staying home, following social distancing protocols and adhering to hand hygiene techniques still remain as the pillars needed to win the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.