3 Easy Steps To Make Your Own Face Mask

by Kroger Health Staff

Last Updated: May 13, 2020

Face masks are likely part of the “new normal” for us, especially as parts of the U.S. are starting to gradually reopen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends we wear face masks in public settings to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. It is still critical to preserve surgical masks and N-95 respirators for medical professionals and frontline workers. For the general public, the CDC calls for simple cloth face coverings, which are easy and inexpensive to make. Many of us likely have the tools and supplies to make our own masks lying around our homes. Follow these steps to create washable, reusable face masks for you and your loved ones.
  1. Gather your supplies.
    All you need to get started is a square cotton piece of cloth, approximately 20” x 20”, and two rubber bands or hair bands. For your cloth square, a bandana works perfectly. You can also cut your square from a T-shirt or pillowcase.
  2. Assemble your mask.
    • To start, fold your cloth square in half.
    • Fold the top-third of your cloth square down and the bottom-third up. Having multiple fabric layers is essential for your mask.
    • Take your rubber bands or hair bands and place them about 6 inches apart on your cloth.
    • Fold both sides of your cloth in towards the middle and tuck.
    • Test the fit by placing the rubber bands or hair bands over your ears and adjusting the mask to ensure it fitsis snuggly - but comfortably - covering your nose and mouth.
    • For a live demonstration, check out this video from the CDC of Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams making his own mask.
  3. Wear and care for your mask properly.
    First and foremost, make sure you are able to breathe when wearing your mask. Do not put a face mask on any children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing without a mask. Make sure you are washing your hands prior to putting your mask on AND before you take your mask off your face. Also, be sure that each time you put on your mask that there are no gaps between the sides of your face and the mask. Your mask should be washed after each use. It is best to place your mask immediately in the laundry after returning home. Be sure your mask is dry before reusing.
Whether you are going to the grocery store, returning to the office, or visiting the doctor’s office or pharmacy, having a supply of cloth masks to utilize in these situations will help protect both yourself and others. For more information on the use and effectiveness of cloth masks, review this document put together by the CDC. As the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic is constantly changing and evolving, be sure to stay up to date on current recommendations from your local health department and the CDC.

Disclaimer: The information in this story is accurate as of its publication. However, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is ever-evolving. We are working to keep our stories up-to-date as changes occur, but we also encourage everyone to check news and recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and their local authorities.