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April 16, 2020

Cloth Masks: Where to Buy and How to Make Your Own

By Laura Byrne

The CDC recommends we wear cloth masks when out running essential errands or in situations where we cannot easily practice at least 6 feet of social distancing from others.

There are numerous ways you can purchase cloth masks for your family, including cloth masks made by local businesses like South Tampa Trading Co. which recently launched willyswashablemasks.com. You can even check on etsy and social media to connect with locals who are making and selling masks.

The following major retailers are selling masks too:

Related: Tips from an Infectious Disease Physician on How to Sanitize Your House

If you can’t wait, it is super easy to make your own cloth mask. The best authority on this is the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, so we’re going to follow their guidelines to help you.

Keep in mind, children under the age of 2 should NOT wear a cloth mask and neither should those who have difficulty breathing or are not able to remove the mask on their own.

First, you’ll need to gather up the cloth materials. Here are some recommended fabrics you might have in your house now:

  • 100% cotton fabric (quilting fabric that has a tight weave is a top choice)
  • Tea Towel
  • Antimicrobial Pillowcase
  • Bandana
  • Old T-shirt (this might be the easiest one to find with growing kids in the house)

You’ll also need the following for the simplest DIY cloth mask:

  • Rubber bands or
  • hair ties

Some people are slipping a layer of these materials inside their cloth masks for extra filtration:

*This is NOT a CDC guideline, it is just an extra layer of protection some people are using in their cloth masks. You can read a study here on the effectiveness of different materials.

  • Blue shop towels
  • Vacuum cleaner bags (be sure the bag does NOT contain fiber glass which is obviously very dangerous)
  • Layers of coffee filters

You can find multiple ways on how to make your own mask here from the CDC or WATCH this step by step video from the US Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams:

Now that you’ve made your cloth mask, let’s talk about the proper way to wear the mask.

Here is what the CDC recommends. Cloth face coverings should—

  1. Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  2. Be secured with ties or ear loops
  3. Include multiple layers of fabric
  4. Allow for breathing without restriction
  5. Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

When you go to remove your cloth mask, make sure you avoid touching our eyes, nose, and mouth and wash your hands immediately after removal. Obviously, you’ll also want to clean your cloth mask. A cycle through the washing machine should work.

You can follow all of our coronavirus/COVID-19 related stories in Tampa Bay here.

 

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