Cloth masks

  • Connexions
  • Wed, 12 Aug 2020 09:48:56 GMT
  • 786

How can I make a cloth mask?

Use our guide to make a cloth mask (PDF) that covers your nose and mouth and is made of washable fabric.

Tegar, Nancy and Amy from The Social Studio have produced a video to show the easy steps to make one yourself.

Watch how to make a cloth mask.

Does a cloth mask have to have three layers?

While the Chief Health Officer recommends a mask with three layers, any face mask or covering is better than none.

Can I wear a disposable mask?

Yes, however you should dispose of it after one use. You should dispose of your mask responsibly by putting it in the rubbish bin.

Can it just be a scarf or does it have to be a certain kind of face covering?

While the Chief Health Officer recommends a mask with three layers, any face mask or covering is better than none. This includes a scarf or bandana.

How do I wear a face covering correctly?

Cloth mask

A cloth mask should fit securely around the face, specifically covering the nose and the mouth areas. The mask should fit snugly on your face and be secured by ties at the back of your head or ear loops. If you are using a mask with ear loops, you can use a plastic clip or tie to join the ends together at the back of your head to make sure it fits snugly on your face.

Make sure that your mask does not have holes or any unfiltered one-way valves. This can result in breathing out the virus if you have coronavirus (COVID-19).

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use hand sanitiser that is made up of over 60% alcohol, before putting on your mask and after taking it off. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times and store used cloth face masks in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.

Surgical mask (single use)

  • Before putting on the mask, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use a hand sanitiser that is made up of over 60% alcohol.
  • Check for defects in the mask, such as tears or broken loops.
  • Position the outer side of the mask outward according to the instructions of the manufacturer.
  • If present, make sure the metallic strip is at the top of the mask and positioned against the bridge of your nose.
  • If the mask has:
    • ear loops: hold the mask by both ear loops and place one loop over each ear
    • ties: hold the mask by the upper strings. Tie the upper strings in a secure bow near the crown of your head. Tie the bottom strings securely in a bow near the nape of your neck
    • dual elastic bands: pull the bottom band over your head and position it against the nape of your neck. Pull the top band over your head and position it against the crown of your head.
  • Mould the bendable metallic upper strip to the shape of your nose by pinching and pressing down on it with your fingers.
  • Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.
  • Be sure the mask fits snugly.
  • Don’t touch the mask once in position.

If the mask gets soiled or damp, replace it with a new one.

Face shields

Ensure they are properly designed to cover the sides of the face and below the chin. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Disposable face shields should only be worn for single use. Ensure you follow the instructions as per manufacturers guidelines.

How do I know my cloth face mask is working?

You know your mask is working to protect you if it is well fitted. If the ties are loose, tighten them to ensure a snug fit. The mask should fit snugly and cover your nose and mouth. Keep an eye on the integrity of the fabric as it may thin over time with repeated washing. If this happens, replace the mask.

When should I wash my cloth mask?

A cloth mask should be washed each day after use. However, if during the day your mask is visibly dirty or wet, do not continue wearing your mask; the mask needs to be washed.

Re-using a cloth mask without washing is risky because it can become contaminated or may not be as effective in protecting you.

How do I wash my cloth mask?

Cloth masks can be washed in the washing machine with other clothes, or hand-washed using soap and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth.

Your cloth mask should be dry before re-using it. You can use the heat setting on your dryer or lay out flat to air dry. If possible, place the cloth mask in direct sunlight. Wash your hands after handling used face masks.

How do I know when it is time to get a new cloth mask?

Each cloth mask will be constructed differently, therefore there is no specific ‘shelf life’ of a cloth mask. However, the following are signs that your cloth mask may no longer be offering you the same level of protection it once was:

  • your cloth mask does not fit snugly on your face (e.g. you can feel your breath coming out of the sides of the mask)
  • your cloth mask keeps falling off or sliding down
  • there are holes in your cloth mask
  • you need to keep adjusting your cloth mask
  • the material has started to wear thin or fray.

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