Listed below are popular coronavirus mask resources including where to buy masks and how to make a DIY mask yourself to help protect you and others from the COVID-19 (C19) Coronavirus outbreak. Note: The information here should not be considered medical advice, instead please consult your doctor if you have questions.
Important: Please save the medical-grade surgical and N95 masks for our healthcare workers who desperately need them!
A Mask is One Piece of the Puzzle
Remember that a mask, while important, is just one component when it comes to reducing the spread. It’s most important to stay at home, keep your distance, and wear a mask if you need to go out near other people (like at a store).
- Stay In Place (at home)
- Keep your Distance (6 feet or more)
- Cover Your Face (with a non-pro mask)
The Science Behind Using Masks
These articles outline why DIY masks are important to help curb the spread of COVID-19. It’s wise to wear a DIY mask when out in public places where people are close together, like grocery stores, as the virus spreads through the air when people talk and via asymptomatic people (those who may not even know they have it).
- To help stop coronavirus, everyone should be wearing face masks. The science is clear (The Guardian)
- CDC recommends wearing face masks during the coronavirus pandemic (LA Times)
- Perspective | Simple DIY masks could help flatten the curve. We should all wear them in public. (Washington Post)
- Asia may have been right about coronavirus and face masks, and the rest of the world is coming around (CNN)
- Why we should all wear masks – there is new scientific rationale (Sui Huang)
Mask Handling Precautions
It’s extremely important to handle the mask correctly, especially during and after use, as the mask may have virus particles on it.
- During Use: Don’t touch or fiddle with the mask (remember, don’t touch your face or the contaminated mask!)
- After Use: Carefully remove the mask by the straps, being sure not to touch the front of the mask, which may be contaminated. If you don’t have a safe place to hold the mask while out, wait until you get home to remove it (or toss in a container/bag). Then discard the removable filter, clean your hands with hand sanitizer and drop the mask in water with soap and hand wash.
Tip: take along a washable Tupperware container to place your mask in after use. Wash both the mask (without filter) and container when home.
Where to Buy Masks Online
Here are some popular masks available to purchase online that have two layers of tightly-woven fabric plus a filter pocket. Many also have a nose wire to help them fit snugly around your nose and prevent glasses from fogging up.
Note: Prices and availability may change.
|Mask Vendor||Price||Sizes||Fabric||Filter||Nose Wire||Adj. Bands|
|Rendall Co. – Sentry||$19||One||Cotton||Yes||Yes|
|Hedley & Bennett||$22||One||Cotton||No||No|
|Take Care||$37 (3)||One||Cotton||No||Yes|
See more on Etsy. Look for shops with lots of sales, high ratings and be sure to search for masks with filter and nose wire, if desired. You can also filter by “Ready to Ship” in 1 – 3 days using the filters in the left-hand column. There are many designs to choose from!
Making Your Own Mask – Common Design Themes
The articles and videos below share some common themes:
- Ideally use two layers of pre-washed materials (e.g. tightly woven cotton t-shirts or pillowcases) with a removable insert (e.g. paper towel, coffee filter, etc.) to allow for washing.
- Wash fabric materials first to ensure they don’t shrink in later washes.
- Ensure a tight fit around the edges of your face and nose (use nose wire, ideally)
- Hand wash the mask with soapy water after use and dry.
Materials for Mask
It’s generally considered best to have two layers of pre-washed, tightly-woven fabric (high thread count cotton such as 600 thread count pillowcases, kitchen towel, denim), with a removable filter insert in between (such as a paper towel).
For the fabric, hold it up to a bright light. “If light passes really easily through the fibers and you can almost see the fibers, it’s not a good fabric.” According to a 2013 study, tea towels, antimicrobial pillowcases, and cotton-blend fabrics were found to be more effective at filtering out small particles than 100 percent cotton T-shirt fabric, a scarf, and silk (see chart in this article).
In addition, you may have different materials layers for the mask. For example, the material that sits directly against your mouth should be comfortable, washable tightly knit fabric, ideally made out of something that wicks moisture such as a polyester, nylon, or a spandex-cotton blend, like athletic clothes often have.
NOTE: Most scarves and bandannas are NOT good materials as they are too porous.
- What Are The Best Materials for Making DIY Masks? (Smart Air)
- Can You Make a Mask Out of Jeans? Bra Pads? Reusable Grocery Bags? (NY Times)
- Answers to your DIY face mask questions, including what material you should use (Washington Post)
- Adding A Nylon Stocking Layer Could Boost Protection From Cloth Masks, Study Finds (NPR)
DIY Mask Designs and Videos
General Reference Sites
The Guardian site has several variants, including sew and no-sew masks with simple illustrations.
One of the first sites with a few mask variations. Has simple, no-sew, t-shirt facemask plus other sewing variants. Remember to put a new layer (like a disposable paper towel) in between fabric layers for each use.
DIY No-Sew Masks with Filter Inserts
Simple No-Sew Foldable Face Mask with Filter (video)
Simple, fast, no-sew facemask using the folding technique with filter (from Korea)
DIY No-Sew Face Mask in Minutes with Filter (video)
Simple, fast, no-sew facemask using the folding technique with filter.
DIY Sewing Masks with Filter Inserts
Instructional video for sewing the Olson mask (video: UnityPoint Health)
Sewing instructions for a modular “Olson mask” (fabric, removable insert, nose wire).
Additional information: web page and template.
Doctor recommends making your own cloth face mask with air ‘filter’ – here’s how to do it (AsiaOne)
Sew a fabric mask with removable insert (no nose wire). See video of technique here.
Sew respirator mask with filter #DIY (Germany)
Sew a fabric mask with removable insert and nose wire
DIY Face Mask Patterns – Filter Pocket & Adjustable Ties! (Jennifer Maker)
Sew a fabric mask to sew with removable insert, nose wire, and adjustable ties
How to sew a reusable face mask with filter pocket (video)
Sew a fabric mask with a removable insert that’s quick to create (no nose wire)
DIY Masks with No Filter Inserts (less ideal)
How to make a face mask for doctors, nurses and health care workers (video: Deaconess Hospital)
Basic double-layer fabric (cotton) mask with elastic bands – no insert pocket
It’s Time to Make Your Own Face Mask (NY Times)
Basic fabric mask – no insert pocket
How to Sew a Face Mask (NY Times)
Basic fabric mask – no insert pocket
Q: How to I prevent masks from fogging up my glasses?
A: Ensure the mask fits tightly around the nose by using a nose wire or tape, if needed.
Source: Help! My Mask Fogs My Glasses (NY Times)