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Facts about Face Covers! What is CDC's Face Covering Recommendation? 3 simple ways to make your own face covering?

Meghan Quinones |

With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting everyone across the globe it’s extremely important to protect ourselves and others from the virus.  Wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain is recommended.  According to the CDC, face coverings help 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.

With many countries and states requiring individuals to wear a face mask when leaving their homes, many either don’t have a mask, or simply do not have the funds to purchase masks for their entire family.  The good news is you don’t need to buy a fancy mask.  There are a few DIY options that can be done with supplies you may already have on hand at your home.


  • Why Do I Need To Wear A Cloth Face Covering? This is to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms. CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in the community setting. 
  • When Do You Need To Wear Face Covering? A cloth face covering should be worn whenever people are in a community setting, especially in situations where you may be near people. These settings include grocery stores and pharmacies. Cloth face coverings are especially important to wear in public in areas of widespread COVID-19 illness.
  • Do I Still Need To Stay 6 Feet Away From People If Wearing A Face Covering? Yes. Face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing.
  • What Type Of Face Covering  Should  Be  Worn? Cloth face coverings can be made from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost. Even a homemade fabric face cover has been shown to be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Who Should NOT Wear Face Covering? Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children younger than 2 years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.
  • Why Cloth Face Covering Recommended instead of Medical Grade Face Masks? Surgical masks and N95 respirators are in short supply and should be reserved for healthcare workers or other medical first responders, as recommended by CDC guidance.

You can order cloth face covers here:


Before starting to make a DIY face covering, there are some guidelines the CDC recommends everyone follow to ensure proper precautions are met. Cloth face coverings should be made with multiple layers of fabric that allow for easy breathing.  They should fit snugly against the both sides of the face while still being comfortable.  To ensure face coverings stay in place, it’s recommended that ear loops or ties be used.  The sewn cloth face covering, no-sew t-shirt face covering, and no-sew bandana face covering meet all of these requirements and are recommended by the CDC.

1) Use a piece of fabric

To make the sewn cloth face covering, you’ll need:

      • Two 10”x6” rectangles of cotton fabric
      • Two 6” pieces of elastic (or rubber bands, string, cloth strips, or hair ties)
      • Needle and thread (or bobby pin)
      • Scissors
      • Sewing machine

Step 1: Cut out two 10-by-6-inch rectangles of cotton fabric (tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets work the best!).

Step 2: Stack the two rectangles on top of each other with the wrong sides of the fabric on the inside.

Step 3: Fold over the top and bottom ¼ inch, iron, and hem. Then, fold the double layer of fabric over ½ inch along the short sides, iron, and stitch down.

Step 4: Run a 6-inch length of 1/4 inch elastic through the wider hem on each side of the mask for the ear loops.  Use a safety pin (or bobby pin) to thread it through. Finally, tie the ends tight. If you don’t have elastic, hair ties or elastic headbands can be used instead. If you only have string, you can make the ties longer and tie the mask behind your head.

Step 5: Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the mask on the elastic and adjust so the mask fits your face. Then securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping.

 2) Use an old T-shirt (No-Sew)

To create a face covering out of a t-shirt you’ll need:

      • T-shirt
      • Scissors

Step 1: Start by cutting 7 - 8 inches off the bottom of the t-shirt. 

Step 2: Then, fold the shirt in half and cut in 6-7 inches. 

Step 3: Finally, cut the ends to create strings.  The strings should be tied around the top of the head and behind the neck. 

3) Use a bandana or large piece of fabric (No-Sew, No-Cut)

For another quick no-sew fabric face covering, try the bandana face covering.  For this mask, you’ll need:

Step 1: Fold the bandana (or fabric piece) in half. 

Step 2: Then, fold the bottom up and the top down. 

Step 3: Grab two hair ties or rubber bands and slide them over the fabric about 6 inches apart. 

Step 4: Fold both sides in and tuck.



  • They are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators which should be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders.
  • They 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.
  • Face coverings should regularly be laundered and machine dried without damaging or changing the shape of the face covering.
  • Be careful not to touch eyes, nose, and mouth when removing face coverings and wash hands immediately after removing.