Updated: May 1
As promised, this article is about making your own cloth face masks. Cloth face masks are not a replacement for medical face masks but still have benefits if you can't get medical masks. We are facing a shortage of medical face masks and medical providers need all the masks they can get.
Cloth face masks offer the benefit of helping to stop you from touching your face. This is a major source of infection for many viruses. It can be very hard to stop touching your face as it is an unconscious gesture. The average person touches their face muntiple times per minute.
The other benefit they have is that they keep you from spraying potentially infected droplets all over everything. One of the big challenges of Covid-19 is that an infected person can spread the virus even before they have symptoms. This means that you or I could be infected and infecting others and we are unaware of it. One of the reasons China is enforcing the law to wear a face mask is because the more people wearing one the less chances there are for infection to spread.
After research I have found that the most effective masks are a combination of silk and cotton. The best outer layer is tightly woven silk and the best inner layer is tightly woven cotton. The one with the most filtration is silk, a 100%cotton flannel filter layer and a 600 thread count 100% cotton fabric. They can be a little hard to breath through so for lighter wear make a 2 layer mask of silk and cotton flannel. Because it doesn't take much fabric even using the best fabrics it is relatively inexpensive to make one. Depending on the fabric used you can either hand wash in cold water with laundry soap for a minimum of 5 minutes or place it in the washing machine. Masks can also be disinfected using UV lights made for that purpose. You can steam silk with a steam iron for 15 seconds on the silk setting for quick disinfection. To hand wash silk masks use either a delicate laundry soap or even hair shampoo. Don't wring it out, hang to dry. Steam iron once dry for a better look and extra disinfection.
The links below take you to my favorite free pattern. I have included both the site itself and the link to the printable pattern. The instructions are very detailed and it offers alternative fabrics for use in construction.
There are many free patterns for cloth facemasks online. Feel free to use whatever pattern suits you best. Please make sure to prewash all fabric before sewing and wash your hands before handling the supplies. This also goes for putting the mask on. It does not serve a purpose if you contaminate the mask before putting it on! Try to have fun making your mask and make it unique!