How to Make a Face Mask
As the number of cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania continues to rise, and in compliance with Governor Tom Wolf’s new order that all employees and customers within essential businesses wear masks, InVision is sending supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to our residential locations beginning on Friday, April 17.
The CDC currently recommends that all people utilize a cloth face covering when leaving home for essential trips. Since we must reserve medical-grade PPE for our healthcare professionals, including DSPs, how can we do our part to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus?
Make Your Own Mask
While you may think that any “cloth face covering” constitutes a protective mask, that’s actually not entirely true. If you want a mask that works effectively, the CDC recommends it meets the following criteria:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face;
- Be secured with ties or ear loops;
- Include multiple layers of fabric;
- Allow for breathing without restriction; and
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
Keeping all this in mind, it’s actually fairly simple to craft your own mask, and there are many ways to do it too.
If you’re savvy with a needle and thread or a sewing machine, you can make your own mask out of any old fabric, like t-shirts (cotton is actually the best material you can use).
But if sewing isn’t your thing, there are no-sew methods too.
And if you wear glasses and are concerned about fogging issues, there are actually ways to stop that from happening.
Keeping Your Face Mask Clean
Cleaning your face mask is just as important as wearing it since, shockingly, the coronavirus may be present on the outer layer of the mask for up to seven days. While avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing the mask and washing your hands afterwards, the mask should be disinfected immediately (or as soon as possible) after each use.
The best way to disinfect your mask is to machine wash it with the highest water temperature the fabric can tolerate. Use bleach or a detergent with similar active ingredients to most effectively kill any living microbes. Follow this with machine drying at the highest tolerable temperature. Bear in mind that this is all subject to the type of fabric used in the mask’s construction.
If machine washing and drying isn’t possible, hand-washing your mask is also acceptable. Scrub the mask thoroughly with lots of soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds. If you have access to other methods of hot air drying, like a hair dryer, you can use that to dry your mask.
Other disinfection methods include using a hot iron on the mask or baking it in a 160-degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes.
While the CDC recommends that you wear a face mask when out in public, we are all—with the exception of essential workers—still urged to remain indoors and continue practicing social distancing, first and foremost.
Wearing a homemade, fabric mask while out shopping for essential items, stopping at a pharmacy, or operating as an essential worker is primarily to protect others. Be mindful of those around you who are more susceptible to illnesses by limiting time outside your home when possible.