Face Masks for Personal Use

The CDC’s recommendation for cloth face coverings is posted here.

Making Face Masks with No Sewing Machine
If you are not a sewer, here’s a tutorial that may be useful:  How to make a No-Sew Pleated Face Mask with Handkerchief and Hair Tie.  A more complete guide providing 4 easy options for quickly making no-sew face coverings can be found here.

Before making your mask or face covering, be sure to boil the fabric.  The World Health Organization provides this guidance for putting on a mask:

  • Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
  • To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of the mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

The World Health Organization (WHO) provides tutorial resources here. (Please note that the WHO’s guidance on when to use a mask for personal use is now inconsistent with updated CDC guidance).

Best Materials for a No-Sew Face Covering
The best material for home use is 100% cotton.  Researchers at Cambridge University tested a whole range of household materials for DIY masks and face coverings using particles both larger and smaller than the size of the new coronavirus.  Some materials for DIY masks that performed pretty well (vacuum cleaner bags (95%), dishcloths (83%) and 100% cotton shirts (69%). They also tested for breathability, a key ingredient for successful use of a face mask, and found that 100% cotton t-shirts and pillowcases were the best.

Safe Handling of DIY Masks for Personal Use
Ex Officio Board Member, Dr. Xiaoning Zhang contributed to this section on personal use and, in collaboration with a colleague, provides this information that includes instructions on safe removal and sterilization of DIY face masks for re-use. SEE HERE!

For those needing 100% cotton, a fabric donation of 300 misprinted t-shirts was made by Canisius High School. To arrange a safe pickup, contact mkavanaugh@wnystem.org.

MORE FACE MASK INFORMATION AND SEWING FACE MASK INSTRUCTIONS AVAILABLE AT https://wnystem.org/2020/03/volunteer-makers-needed-to-make-face-masks/


WNY STEM Hub is unable to directly supply DIY masks to individuals. Our purpose is to mobilize and inform DIY makers regarding medical facilities accepting homemade donations of masks and shields. Individuals wishing to use our posted resources to make masks for personal use are encouraged to do so.

This is a public service to mobilize our community of makers in WNY.  Please be aware that careful fabrication should produce masks that are CDC compliant. However, WNY STEM Hub does not assume responsibility for donated products that fail to meet n95 standards.

Follow WNY STEM Hub:
Making Face Masks with No Sewing Machine