After the initial confusion over whether one should wear a mask outside the house or not due to the coronavirus pandemic, many states and cities in India have now made this compulsory. But at the same time, it’s difficult to find masks in stores as manufacturers and suppliers around the world struggle to match the overwhelming demand.
While N95 masks should still ideally be left for healthworkers and other frontline professionals, for the rest of us, home-made masks are a good option.
The Union health ministry seconds this, and has issued guidelines saying that those who are not sick could use homemade face masks. “It is suggested that such people who are not suffering from medical conditions or having breathing difficulties may use the handmade reusable face cover, particularly when they step out of their house. This will help in protecting the community at large,” NDTV quoted the advisory as saying.
The ministry said that each person in a family needed to use a separate mask and these should not be used by health workers or those who come in contact with COVID-19 patients.
“It is advised that two sets of such face covers be made so that one can be washed while the other is used. Hand washing would still remain essential criteria and hand should be washed before wearing the face cover. Such face covers should also not be thrown anywhere but kept safely, washed properly with soap and hot water and dried properly before they are used.
These face covers could be made out of clean cloth available at home, which needs to be thoroughly cleaned and washed before a face cover is stitched/made. The face cover should be prepared in such a manner that it can cover the mouth and nose completely and can be tied over the face easily.”
People across the world have been uploading tutorials on how to make masks at home easily, whether you can sew or not. So we searched the internet a little to find trustworthy videos on how to make face masks with easy-to-find material.
Note: While some of these videos call for coffee filters to be used as one of the layers, you can substitute this with non-woven fabric. Now, what is non-woven fabric, you ask? It is the fabric used in the small non-cloth, non-plastic bags you often get in grocery stores.
This is the fabric we’re talking about 👇🏾
This is a pretty detailed and self-explanatory video on how to make a mask at home. For the elastic around the ears you can cut up old hair ties or scrunchies or replace them with normal strips of cloth you can tie around your head.
Don’t have a sewing machine? No problem — this can be sewed by hand also.
This video is especially for those of us who don’t have a sewing machine. The best part about this mask is that it also includes a filter pocket, allowing you to change the filters while washing the rest of the mask following the health ministry guidelines.
If you possess absolutely zero sewing skills, don’t worry. There are videos available for no-sew masks too. This particular video follows the guidelines of US’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the instructor in the video recommends that you use a coffee filter, use non-woven fabric if you don’t have access to this. Bonus: extreme cuteness at the 10:42 mark.
4. Malayalam actor Indrans’s method
If you haven’t already seen it, award-winning Malayalam actor Indrans, who used to work as a tailor before he began acting, collaborated with the Kerala government to make a video tutorial on how to make cloth masks at home. The video is self-explanatory even if you don’t understand Malayalam and shows you how to make a three-layered mask.