On the 4th April 2020 the CDC or Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA recommended that people should wear cloth face masks to protect themselves from the Coronavirus. Donald Trump, the President of the USA, famously rejected the official advice for his own personal situation, saying "I don't see it for myself". There has been a reminder that N95 Face masks are meant to be kept for health workers and those on the front line of the fight again the Covid-19 virus, not for public use as they could run out.
So now that cloth face masks have become recommended for wearing what are the options, and where is there to buy a coth face mask?
What is a cloth face mask?
The recommended material is cotton, made from 2 rectangular pieces, using elastic, string or other materials to hold it in place over your mouth and nose. The guidelines state that it should fit snuggly, be held into place and contain multiple layers of fabric.
It is important that it can, and should, be laundered and cleaned regularly and does not restrict breathing for the wearer.
Face masks are recommended to be worn at all times when out in public.
Where can I buy a cloth face mask?
Many retailers and stores don't usually stock cloth face masks, so it is difficult to find something that has been specifically made for the purpose. Here is a list of some of the best stores and websites.
eBay.com has a good selection of cloth face coverings including bandanas, carbon filters and sunscreens. Many of these may be suitable for viral prevention, but remember to check that they adhere to the CDC guidelines. There are a number of sellers making custom handmade cloth coverings.
Our pick is this custom made face mask with elastic ear loops and wire for a nose covering, made of two pieces of cotton for $9.50. The bright colors are sure to get people's attention when you are in the supermarket!
Click here to see eBay's selection.
Amazon.com's selection of cotton face coverings, look more like surgical type masks or dustmasks. There are some sellers selling cotton handkerchiefs, such as Levis, and others selling cotton dust masks, but many do not appear to, at least to a cursory glance, fit the prescribed information.
Click here to see their selection
Etsy is a community of artisan makers and other people who create items for sale themselves rather than buy wholesale from a factory, so you would think that there are lots of Etsy makers producing face masks from their home's in these times.
And there are. It looks like, if you are shopping online for a cotton mask then Etsy is a good place to visit. There are many different styles and patterns, so you are likely to find one to fit you and suit your tastes.
Our pick is from a seller selling a set of 3 cotton masks in a selection of pattersn for $14.95 plus local taxes. Simple but effective.
Perhaps you don't want to buy one online, and would rather go to a shop, even while advice is to not venture our in public.
We've checked Walmart for you, and can say that there selection is much like Amazon's and they don't appear to be the suitable and recommended design.
Clik here to see their selection.
How to make your own cotton face mask
The CDC website has examples of 3 types of face masks that you can make, a sewn cotton mask, a no sew mask made from a T-Shirt and one made from a bandana with a coffee filter in between the folds of cloth.
Here is the instructions for making a T-shirt face mask. We all have an old T-shirt lying around that we don't need anymore, so this is a perfect way to put it to good use. Image credit The CDC. Instructions copied for the CDC website, see link at botton of the page.
What you need:
- Cut the bottom section off your T-shirt, about 7-8 inches high.
- Cut out a rectangular section from the right hand side, about 6-7 inches
- Cut the remaining tie strings
- Place over nose and mouth and tie the ties around your head and neck
A good online store with plenty of choice for buying masks for the coronavirus outbreak is Etsy.com. But if you are feeling adventurous it is quite easy to make your own mask and the instructions copied above from the CDC website allow tou to make your own one from an old cotton T-shirt.
The CDC advice - Including face mask making instructions.