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Home Made Masks — The Grow Network Community
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Home Made Masks

AlisonAlison Posts: 155 ✭✭✭

In many areas of the world there are not only a shortage of face masks, but the cost of buying them has in some cases become extravagant.

If you feel there is a benefit in wearing a face mask; and there is data to show that countries that made it compulsory to wear a face mask when going into public has had a dramatic decrees in new infections, there are a variety of online videos to show how an effective face mask can be made at home.

There are a variety of ways that it can be done.

One is done by folding a cotton bandana into a rectangle with two loops of elastic for the ears.

There is another that shows how a T-Shirt can be cut, a safety pin and a paper towel used, and no sewing is required.

There are many online videos of people showing how they make the traditional style face masks that are made of cotton so are also washable, but need sewing.

When wearing a face mask the precaution of handling it after it's worn in a situation when the virus may be should be considered. The virus could be on the outside of the mask so having a place to put it where it won't leave a contaminant should be a consideration, as well as you are touching the least amount of things after touching the mask and then washing your hands.

Be sure to do some research on cleaning your masks properly before reuse.

The innovation of people and their willingness to share their ideas are encouraging in this time of change. Of course it is up to the individual to ensure that the mask they use is providing the best protection that is necessary for their circumstances.

Stay Safe and Take Care 🌼



  • MelindaMelinda Greater Atlanta AreaPosts: 124 ✭✭✭

    You can also add in some filter material in between layers that will catch more particles. I’m high risk and have Been wearing one for weeks now.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,082 admin

    I have a seamstress friend who is a nurse, but needed to step down due to cancer. She found a link to a CDC approved mask. She also said that the tighter the cloth weave, the better.

    A bonus...these can be used when doing dirty jobs like cleaning out a chicken pen as well. Reusing later (or even using some for this purpose shortly) is certainly a great idea, and something we plan on doing.

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,083 admin

    @Alison Good cautions. Benefits of cloth masks are that they can be washed immediately after use. For those front line workers in stores, gas stations, take outs, etc., you could have several and change out during the day if need be and keep them in a ziploc until you get home to wash them

  • burekcrew86burekcrew86 Posts: 192 ✭✭✭

    A neighbor of ours made fabric masks for all the families around them. They are washable which is nice feature. Our governor was asking everyone to wear a mask when they went out. Not mandatory yet, that I know of.

  • solarnoon.aspensolarnoon.aspen Posts: 198 ✭✭✭

    In Canada they are still saying that they can't much help you not to get the virus, but if you have it or are a carrier, they can help stop you from spreading it. But people want to wear them. It just seems logical even though there are indications that done incorrectly, it could be worse than not wearing one. ie touching the surface of the mask, not fitting properly and feeling overly confident that one is safe. In a few days, I think the health service here will come out with research on this issue of contention and make recommendations for home made masks - materials, fitting properly, perhaps a pattern, suggestions for safe use.

    After so long in isolation, I feel strange when I see people in places who are not practising distancing. Even TV shows will be dated for this. the befores and after COVID.

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 519 ✭✭✭✭

    Even my husband reacts when he sees an old show with no social distancing, "Separate people , separate!" LOL I am getting ready to make some masks for us, although we don't really go out. Some I will be donating. I as wondering if anyone had used wire or other malleable material to get a tighter fit?

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,082 admin

    @solarnoon.aspen @VickiP Yes, I am also watching shows and declaring that those actors sure aren't social distancing. Get away! You're too close! 😂

    @VickiP My nurse friend was using paper clips in her masks.

  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,339 ✭✭✭✭

    @VickiP The wire is inserted into the fabric where it can be pinched above the nose to ensure a good fit (like the N95 paper masks.) My sister modified the pattern she is using to allow for tripling the thickness of the wire for a better fit.

    This is the pattern she is using to make her masks.

  • lmrebertlmrebert Posts: 363 ✭✭✭✭

    A coffee filter can be placed on the inside pocket which is good for regular use, of course not accept for us nurses and hospital staff but good for general walking around at store etc

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 519 ✭✭✭✭

    I also read that the filter layer of hepa vacuum cleaner bags and the purple layer of car air filters would work.

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texasseeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 707 ✭✭✭✭

    For shaping above the nose, a pipe cleaner can be used and removed prior to washing. Then just replaced it for the next use, not having to worry about shaping it correctly after going thru the washing machine. Just leave a small open space to insert it. Also, the blue shop towels (mechanics use these as they are more durable and a much tighter weave) can be used as a removable filter in between the two layers of material on the mask, if an opening is left to remove and insert it. These will not survive the wash but my daughter read that they have a weave almost as tight as the N95 face masks. I plan to use both of these ideas when I start making ours in a day or so.

  • Gail HGail H Posts: 299 ✭✭✭

    My in-laws nursing home has asked for masks, so we're making a couple dozen for them now. I feel Thomas Edison; I know 99 things that don't work! We've settled on two layers of cotton with non-woven interfacing in between. Wire ribbon was suggested on the internet for the nose piece, but it's much too weak and won't hold it's shape. Plastic coated bread ties are working well for us. So far one has made one trip through the laundry and seems unscathed.

  • sonbyrdsonbyrd Posts: 23 ✭✭✭

    As much as i dislike polyester fabric, this is a good time to use it (a cotton poly blend) as the tight synthetic weave doesn’t allow particulates to pass through so easily.

  • norabelehcimnorabelehcim Posts: 50 ✭✭✭

    Can't easily wash wire inserts thin enough to conform to face, and if need to wash masks for re-use, it is perhaps better to hand-form ruching along top and bottom so mask compresses to fit??

  • DesireeDesiree Posts: 202 ✭✭✭

    My nurse daughter made and sent me some of the masks she was working on. She used a thin wire for the nose piece and when hand washed in clorox (the color safe kind) and air dried it was no problem. Our Governor and Health Department Director said that this could easily become the norm for the next year or so. :(

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 519 ✭✭✭✭

    I have been using a no sew version from the CDC web site until I get more permanent ones made. I was also researching best practice for sanitizing them. Of course you can just throw the cloth ones in the wash with some bleach. The paper ones or if you have some surgical ones can be sprayed with 70% rubbing alcohol on both sides and allowed to dry, they dry fast. Many nurses and hospitals are using that method to sanitize between patients. Also if you have a "So Clean" machine to clean your CPAP that will clean and sanitize the masks.

  • 7207chablis7207chablis Posts: 46 ✭✭✭

    When sewing your own, don’t make one that you sew in the middle front. It allows the virus to enter. The less sewing the better.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,082 admin

    Remember that the homemade masks are meant to keep your germs from spewing out toward others & possibly infecting them. These masks will not keep you from getting anything. It is the droplets that are of concern, not the tiny aerosols that may slip though. Considering this, a mask sewed down the middle does not increase risk.

    My daughter used (removeable) pipe cleaner for the nose piece and it worked very well. She actually got a nice very tight fit on her mask all around.

    Please don't use bleach/Clorox. It is super unhealthy to breathe in and is certainly overkill. I just can't see this being good for anyone's lungs.

    I understand that even mild dish soap kills the virus as it is actually quite fragile. Advice I have read from what I deem reliable sources (microbiology lab folks are one) is that if you wash it in the washing machine & machine dry (it is sensitive to high heat), that it will effectively sanitize masks. When we home birthed, any cloth used (sheets, towels, washcloths, etc.), were to be dried on high heat twice. However, once dried sounds adequate for this virus.

    My preference is for unscented detergent and no fabric softeners, as these artificial scents can reek havoc on the body as well.

    I for one, will not be using a mask, even though there are very pretty patterns out there. I hope that I am not shamed in public if I go out. I feel like I will suffocate in any mask, and I learned a couple years ago that it is a known, strong reaction in some people and not just in my head. Masking my face causes an instant claustrophobic panic within me. Warm & moist at my mouth & nose=panic. I found this out years ago when using a simple mask when sanding drywall compound. As quick as it went on, I wanted to rip it off. It is one sensation that I have just never been able to overcome. Does anyone else here understand this feeling?

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texasseeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 707 ✭✭✭✭

    My daughter told me this morning that Austin, TX is probably going to go to mandatory wearing of masks for anyone over the age of 10. Since some people are carriers with no symptoms it makes sense. Some businesses are now doing that as well.

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texasseeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 707 ✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning I do understand that and you will not be the only one. There may be other situations/health conditions that make this impossible for some.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,082 admin

    @seeker.nancy I would not be able to go out in that case if I lived in Austin. It is just too difficult. I had trouble with just placing one of my daughter's trial homemade masks on my face. She wanted to know what size I'd need. I had to take a deep breath & place it over my face and try to override. That trial was very short lived. I had so much trouble not panicking! She thinks it's funny. 🙄

    I am so glad that I am in the country and that mandatory mask wearing isn't a thing here yet!

    I have been hearing that many here and elsewhere who are already wearing masks are not distancing and are being quite careless. I fully expected that response from many. It is human nature, unfortunately. Somehow it becomes their security.

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,083 admin

    @LaurieLovesLearning I sympathise. While I am able to wear a mask for a short time, it gets to be too much after awhile. due to a similar but less intense claustrophobia. Its a good thing that our First Responder medical calls are short and I don't need to wear one for any length of time. I have found that a bandana is less of an issue for me than a mask.

    I wear glasses at the moment and they seem to get steamed up quite a bit when I wear a mask. Wondering if that is an issue for others as well.

  • lmrebertlmrebert Posts: 363 ✭✭✭✭

    It is hard to prevent glasses fogging up with homemade masks, its an issue in healthcare as well. I worked in surgical services for 16 years and got pretty good at preventing my shield from fogging up but you really have to mold the mask to your face under your eyes. Ive heard fabric softener can stop the fogging but don't wear homemade ones at work. Possibly if you make your own, put a pipe cleaner or heavy duty twist tie across the entirety of the top of the mask and make sure you really mold it to your face under eye area.

  • OhiohillsLouiseOhiohillsLouise Posts: 121 ✭✭✭

    Whew, I’ve been making these masks all week, I think about 100 by now. Some with elastic around the ears and some with ribbons at back of head and neck. While disputed in the beginning I think the consensus (from reliable sources) is that the masks do offer some protection.

  • vickeymvickeym Posts: 485 ✭✭✭✭

    I have a hard time with my face covered. Not severe claustrophobic but very uncomfortable and after a short time feel like it is too hard to breath. Can't even cover my face with a blanket when it it super cold.

    My friend just made some new style masks for my husband and I. The original ones she made did not fit me as well and were fogging my glasses pretty regular as well as uncomfortable on the ears if you have to wear it all day. These new ones are made with a cord like clothesline or such. There is an adjustable length of the cord run through the "pockets" on each side. Think curtain rod style pockets. One long cord with both loose ends at the top of the mask. Loop of cord drops down over your had. Pull the loose ends up and tie at the top back of your head. Much more comfortable and good coverage as well. Will try to post a link to the style and pattern tomorrow. These have made it easier to wear all day and they have the filter pocket so a mechanics towel as a filter inside works well.

  • nksunshine27nksunshine27 IdahoPosts: 302 ✭✭✭

    @norabelehcim i sew a pipecleaner in for a bendable nose band and put the maskes in the washr

    by the way for what its worth i think spraying the mask with hydrogen peroxide helps

  • dipat2005dipat2005 Posts: 246 ✭✭✭

    I started hand sewing face masks about two weeks ago and now that my sewing machine is working again I am able to make them faster. I have watched several of the videos on You Tube about making masks for children, teenager, adult and for men with a beard. I am making them for my family. You can quote me if you want. A man stopped me one day when my glasses were fogging up and he said the way to keep your glasses from fogging up is to put some shaving cream on the glasses and then rinse it off. I have not tried it yet but I am hoping it will work. I saw the question was asked but I hadn't signed in yet and now I cannot find the where the question was found.

  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,339 ✭✭✭✭

    @Dianne Petersen I vaguely remember reading something like that to keep bathroom mirrors from fogging. An online search for mirror fogging would probably be productive.

  • Gail HGail H Posts: 299 ✭✭✭

    My daughter has a very difficult time wearing a mask as well. She says she feels like she can't breath. I bought some stretchy hair wraps that are basically tubes of stretchy fabric. They are a little better for her. She wears it like an infinity scarf around her neck and pulls it up when needed. It's pretty light weight so I don't think it would be a lot of help if someone was truly ill, but it's "legal" and being able to pull it down in a jiffy seems to help a bit psychologically.

  • vickeymvickeym Posts: 485 ✭✭✭✭

    OK, I have the link for the face masks my friend made us. Hope this is useful to someone.

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