Our team of writers, editors and producers are proud to bring you coronavirus news and tips you can trust. To help keep this news free, become a member and sign up for our ad-free newsletter, The Current.
The coronavirus pandemic has turned life upside down for most of us and we’re all ready to get back to at least a little bit of normalcy. But for that to happen, we all need to do our part to help flatten the curve.
Washing your hands regularly and social distancing is only the beginning. You also need to be doing things like sanitizing packages that are delivered and learn how to shop safely at physical stores. Tap or click here to find the proper techniques.
Now, health officials are asking all of us to add one more thing to our to-do lists: Wear a cloth mask whenever we’re in public. Since it’s unlikely you’re going to find a face mask to in stores or online, it’s time to learn how to make your own.
10 simple steps to make a coronavirus face mask
One of the strangest phenomenons brought on by COVID-19 is panic shopping. Across the U.S., stores just can’t keep up with demand on things like toilet paper, eggs, hand sanitizer, flour and paper towels.
You can add face masks to that list. It’s nearly impossible to find any to buy so you can comply with the CDC’s recommendation to wear one when you leave your house. If you have a sewing machine or live with someone who does, you’re in luck. There are tons of patterns online a sewer can whip in no time.
What if you don’t have that skill? The good news is with just a couple of household items you can make your own cloth masks. All you need is a handkerchief (or similar cloth item) and a couple of hair ties.
This demonstration uses a regular cotton 18-inch by 18-inch handkerchief. Let’s get started.
Step 1: Place the handkerchief face down.
Step 2: Fold the top of the handkerchief to the center.
Step 3: Fold the bottom of the handkerchief to the center.
Step 4: Flip the handkerchief over.
Step 5: Fold the top of the handkerchief to the center.
Step 6: Fold the bottom of the handkerchief to the center.
Step 7: Flip the handkerchief over.
Step 8: Slide the hair ties on by threading each through the ends of the handkerchief.
Step 9: Fold the sides of the handkerchief toward the center.
Step 10: Flip over and your face mask is ready to wear.
If you don’t have hair ties at home, you can improvise with a pair of tights or even old socks. Both are made with stretchy materials that can be snipped into thin pieces used for the bands to hold the mask on.
The key is finding material that can keep the folds secure and the mask on your face.
See this tutorial in action. Watch the video below.
How to wear a mask safely
We just showed you one easy way to make your own face masks, but there are other ways. Tap or click here for simple ways to make different types of face masks.
Now that you a cloth mask, you need to learn proper etiquette in handling and wearing it. Whether it’s a mask, scarf or bandana, you must wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water before you put it on. Then dry your hands with a clean paper towel and throw the paper towel away. A clean rags work too.
Face masks have two strings that loop behind your ears to keep it in place. Put the mask on and open it up to cover above your nose and below your chin.
While wearing it, do not touch the mask. Once you get home, take it off carefully. If you’re using a disposable mask, promptly take it off and throw it away before walking into your home — then wash your hands again.
You may also like: Watch out for these coronavirus scams
For scarves and bandanas, make sure they are freshly cleaned. Set your washer and dryer to sterilize if you have that setting, or use the hottest water setting you can.
No matter how you tie or fold it, be sure it covers your nose and mouth. And again, do not touch it while it’s on.
Remember: Always assume everyone you meet has the virus and act accordingly. The only surefire way to prevent contracting the virus is to avoid being exposed to anyone who has it. Stay safe out there, and we’ll all get through this together.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.