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DIY: How to make a cloth mask with just a t-shirt and scissors

Posted at 4:08 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 18:08:28-04

Making a cloth mask to help slow the spread of COVID-19 is surprisingly easy and one variation by the Centers for Disease Control only uses a pair of scissors and an old t-shirt, no sewing required.

The CDC issued guidance Friday recommending Americans wear cloth face masks while in public settings or places where six feet of social distance can't be maintained.

The recommendation was made after research found people can be contagious without showing any COVID-19 symptoms.

"The virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms," the CDC website states.

The CDC hopes more people wearing masks will slow the spread of COVID-19.

"CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others," the CDC website states.

The cloth masks offer members of the public some protection while the supply of medical-grade or N-95 masks is being given to health care workers.

"(Medical-grade masks) are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance," the CDC website states.

The CDC has a few different styles of masks that people can make at home, some requiring more supplies and skill than others.

The easiest one to make only requires a t-shirt and pair of scissors. It takes about 15 minutes to make.

040420 no sew mask instructions.PNG<div class="Figure-credit" itemprop="author">Centers for Disease Control
Instructions on how to make a no-sew mask using only a t-shirt and scissors.

Here's a list of criteria a home-made cloth mask should follow:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

The CDC said cloth face masks should be washed depending on the frequency of use and can be washed in the washing machine.

When people remove the masks, the CDC advises to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and wash your hands immediately after removing.

Social distancing is still important to help curb the spread of COVID-19, the CDC urged. The recommendation to use cloth masks is not meant to supersede any social distancing procedures already in place.

To view instructions from the CDC on how to make three different masks from household materials, click here.