Here’s how you can make a reusable face mask at home
While medical masks are available in India, many are urging that the general population leave those for use by our doctors and medical staff.
Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, much before it was classified a pandemic by the World Health Organization, many countries shared concerns around a shortage of masks - surgical, N-95s and others.
While medical masks are available in India, many are urging that the general population leave those for use by our doctors and medical staff - who risk their lives daily to test, transport and treat COVID-19 patients.
Anyway, if you bought masks at the beginning of the lockdown, you may be running low on them now since medical masks can't be reused (yes, they are single-use masks). Add to this the fact that as precautionary measures have gone up in India over the past couple of weeks, you are being required to wear a mask to access many stores and services.
The Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India has a solution to this problem: reusable masks you can make at home.
Here’s what you’ll need for it:
- 1 piece of old 100% cotton fabric, any colour
- 4 pieces of cloth strips
- Sewing machine
- Boil the cotton fabric in salted water for 5 minutes. Let it dry.
- Cut the cloth strip for piping. You’ll need two pieces that are 1.5” x 5” and two of 1.5” x 40”.
- Cut a 7” x 9” piece from the cotton fabric for an adult-size mask.
- Fold the 7" x 9" cotton fabric breadthwise to create three downward-facing pleats. Each fold can be 1.5” of fabric. You can use cloth pins to maintain the folds for now. Once your pleats are made, the length of the fabric will go from 9” to 5”.
- Now you can secure the pleats in their place by using the 1.5” x 5” strips as piping. Piping is folded three times (0.5” each fold) and goes onto both sides so as to create a ‘pipe’ around the raw edge.
- Attach the centre of the long strip along the two edges now, but continue to sew beyond the cloth piece. These strings will be used to tie the mask around your head.
Your mask is ready! Try it on and ensure that it fits well and there are no gaps between the mask and your face. Now you need to ensure it’s fit for use every time by doing one of the following:
- Wash it with soap and water and dry it for 5 hours in the sun. Or
- Boil it in a pressure cooked in salted water for 10 minutes. Let it dry in the sun. Or
- Wash thoroughly with soap and water and then apply heat with an iron for up to five minutes.
Take precautions while wearing and storing the mask. You can store it in a clean zip-lock or plastic bag. And wash your face and hands before wearing the mask and never reuse it without cleaning it properly. Touch only the strings of the mask to wear and remove it - no other part.
Maintain social distance regardless of wearing a mask and practice hand hygiene religiously. To fight COVID-19 , we need a combined approach, not just one method.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
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