Friday, January 15, 2021

CDC guidance on homemade masks

by Erin Binnall & Katherine Hoyer
| April 7, 2020 1:12 AM

This is a series about COVID-19 preparation and regional updates. Check the Press daily for new information, tips, and ways our health care professionals are working to keep our community safe.

The CDC announced that they are recommending everyone wear a cloth face covering when going out into public areas for essential services. Recent studies show that people can spread COVID-19 without developing symptoms (asymptomatic) and prior to having any symptoms (pre-symptomatic).

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Wearing a mask should not give our community a false sense of security. We urge everyone to maintain the 6-feet social distancing and other guidance to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those will be reserved for our health care workers.

Below is guidance from the CDC on how to properly wear a cloth face covering and material you will need to make one.

Cloth face coverings should:

• 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

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Materials needed:

• Two 10-inch x 6-inch rectangles of cotton fabric

• Two 6-inch pieces of elastic (or rubber bands, string, cloth strips, or hair ties)

• Needle and thread (or bobby pin)

• Scissors

• Sewing machine

How to wash and care for cloth face coverings:

• Face coverings should be washed routinely, depending on the frequency of use. A washing machine and machine dryer will suffice in properly cleaning the face covering. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing your face covering and wash your hands immediately after handling.

The CDC also provides tutorials on making cloth face coverings using a T-shirt or a bandana.

For further tutorials on how to make cloth face coverings, visit:


Kim Anderson is with Kootenai Health, Erin Binnall is with Bonner General Health, and Katherine Hoyer is with Panhandle Health District.