- For the mask itself, use tightly woven fabric that will withstand the heat of sterilization, like 100% cotton twill or denim. Good quality, heavy weight quilting fabric is also excellent. Canvas or duck fabric may be good too.
Examples: high thread count (300 or 400) sheets; men’s oxford shirts; some curtains; turn your old jeans or Dockers twill pants into shorts, and use the legs to make a mask!
- The rule of thumb is: ““Hold it up to a bright light,” said Dr. Scott Segal, chairman of anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Health who recently studied homemade masks. “If light passes really easily through the fibers and you can almost see the fibers, it’s not a good fabric. If it’s a denser weave of thicker material and light doesn’t pass through it as much, that’s the material you want to use.”” Prewash fabric in hot water to preshrink it. Do not use scented detergent, fabric softener, or dryer sheets. Material must come from a nonsmoking home.
- For the ties, 1/4″ elastic or ties made out of cotton bias tape, cotton ribbon, or 1.5″ strips of knit fabric cut across the grain are good.
- For nosepieces, Twisteez wires are most highly recommended and they have special pricing for Covid-19 groups!
If you are unable to obtain Twisteez, try double wire clips from the tops of coffee bags and bread bags, doubled pipe cleaners with the ends bent over to protect the nose, or better yet: soft, wrapped wire ties used for staking plants.
- Disposable filters: UPDATE!! DO NOT USE AC filters or HEPA vacuum bags. Explanation below. For masks worn by ordinary people in public, try a simple rectangle of tissue paper, paper towel, or coffee filter (any nonwoven fabric that is easy to breathe through). For masks to be worn by essential personnel, people have tried interfacing, surgical wrap, and blue shop towels. However, there have been some concerns about breathability, as some users have complained that it is hard to breathe through these materials. When in doubt, try it out for a few hours. If you can’t breathe through your filter, essential workers can’t either. We DO NOT recommend HEPA filters or AC filters, which may contain fiberglass or other dangerous fibers.
This information will be updated as we find out more about how other materials, such as surgical wrap or blue shop towels, really perform in practice.