There has been lots of discussions about face masks and if they are safe. Let me say one thing. If you do not have a medical grade mask with filter than anything is better than nothing. And this is borne out by the latest advice from CDC too.

DIY face masks serve different purposes: if you are sick you can reduce your germs expelling. I am not just talking about coronoavirus but any germs right now. I don’t know about you but the last thing I want to get is seasonal flu or even a cold right now. I don’t need my immunity run down because Karen at the fruit shop sneezed on my Vitamin C foods: oranges or peppers.  Masks made from bandanas also prevent you from touching your face. Have you actually tried not to touch your face? I lasted 1 minute and then I couldn’t help myself. It’s actually really hard.

As supplies become harder to find and resources are low, this is the best protection out there that ANYONE can make. It doesn’t require glue or sewing. If you want to increase the function of this bandana face mask for viruses add a mask filter into the folds. So here is how to make a mask using a cotton bandana or handkerchief.

First, gather these materials:

  • Bandana or handkerchief (ours is folded in half diagonally in the picture)
  • Two hair ties or elastic bands (the mask will be more comfortable if the bands are looser) You can use elastic loops if you do not have hair bands. No elastic? Can you cut up an elastic bandage or the top of a tube sock? That could also work.

Step 1: Fold the bandana in half towards you twice.

Step 2: Take your two bands and put them around the sides of the bandana.

Step 3: Fold the left side in.

Step 4: There should be four “lines” of fabric/bandana. Find the middle.

Step 5: Tuck the right side into the middle of the left side.

Step 6: Pull the bands tight and lift the mask to your face. (The side that you folded on should be the side touching your face) Hook the bands around your ears and you’re done!

Remember to wash your mask after 1-2 hours. Best way is to have a few masks ready to go, throw the one you take off into the wash and pick up the clean one that you have ready made to go. Use hot washes when washing your bandanas to remove any dirt and grime.

Of course, no medical mask is as good as a surgical grade respirator mask but unfortunately, we do not have a DIY for one of those just yet.

The main aim of a fabric mask is to prevent YOUR bodily fluids from being expelled or you being splashed on by someone else’s bodily fluids. It is my (non-medical) understanding that air still flows through the masks. The best fabric for surgical face masks is cotton that can be easily washed and NON woven fabric as a filter that can be replaced several times during the day. You can purchase readymade carbon filters too.

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