How To Make Your Own Mask
The VSSL team has been amazed and inspired by how everyone is stepping up to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. The actions we are taking right now are helping to save lives. The latest guidance from health experts in Canada, in the U.S., and across the globe, is to help guarantee that medical masks such as N95 respirators are available for the frontline healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, and many others, who really need them.
To ensure that those masks remain available, recent government recommendations have also advised people that a DIY mask can be effective in blocking the spread of airborne particles from a person’s face. A great way to make a DIY mask is to use a neck gaiter/headwear that will cover your nose and mouth, and then attach a common household filtration material that will improve its ability to block aerosols. We have created a step-by-step illustration for you, using our VSSL neck gaiter, to show what we are doing to make these DIY masks.
First, choose a filtration material. While there are a lot of ideas out there, we’re focusing on what the experts have concluded is most effective, and also trying to use common household items in our DIY mask build.
Vacuum cleaner bag. In a study published online by Cambridge University in 2013, researchers found that the filtration capabilities of a vacuum cleaner bag made it one of the most effective homemade materials.
Blue shop towels. Three clothing designers who work at Suay Sew Shop in California tested dozens of fabrics and found that the best choice for filtration was disposable blue shop cloths. Their particulate-counter found that it was a better filter than simple cotton masks.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control recently put out a tutorial showing how to make face masks, including one that uses a coffee filter.
And here in Canada, our top doctor, Dr. Theresa Tam, recently said that “Wearing a non-medical mask is an additional measure that you can take to protect others around you”
Once you have picked out your filtration material, you’re ready to make your DIY mask with VSSL headwear. Please make sure that you do your best to fit this mask as tightly as possible to your face. Here is our step-by-step guide:
1. Wash your hands! Try to keep the mask as sterile as possible before use
2. Lay the neck gaiter flat on the ground (Note: if you don’t have one, here’s a link to shop our VSSL neck gaiter). You’re going to fold this in half over your filtration material, so you’ll need to know how large to cut that material.
3. Cut the material so that it is just large enough fit in half the neck gaiter.
4. In our example, we folded coffee filters in half and found that they fit really well.
5. Lay the cut filtration material on the top half of the neck gaiter
6. Fold the bottom half of the neck gaiter so that it covers the filtration material, and holds it in place
7. That’s it. You can do additional folds to secure the filtration material better. That’s up to you. But, make sure you can remove/replace that material. And if you’re using it a lot, wash your neck gaiter frequently.
As always, follow government guidelines for current quarantine restrictions and the best social distancing practices. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay in touch! We would love to see the DIY masks that you create, so feel free to share that with us in an email or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.