Wearing a mask: Who, when, where and how to make your own

Wearing a mask: Who, when, where and how to make your own

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, for example in the grocery store or pharmacy.

This is especially important in cities and areas where significant spread has occurred, like New Orleans.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to help people who may have the virus and don't know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as a mask.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on:

  • young children under age 2
  • anyone who has trouble breathing
  • anyone unable to remove the mask without assistance

These cloth face coverings recommended by CDC are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.

When to wear a mask:

  • If you are taking care of a person with the suspected COVID-19 infection
  • If you are coughing or sneezing
  • In public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, for example in the grocery store or pharmacy

Best practices for wearing a mask:

Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.

RELATED: Why handwashing really is effective in stopping spread of coronavirus

  • Before putting on a mask, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask
  • Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks
  • To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water

Applying a face mask - step 1

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

Applying a face mask - step 2

How to make your own mask:

A. Sewn Cloth Face Covering

Sewing a facemask - materials needed


  • 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


1. Cut out two 10-by-6-inch rectangles of cotton fabric. Use tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets. T-shirt fabric will work in a pinch. Stack the two rectangles; you will sew the mask as if it was a single piece of fabric.

Sewing a facemask - step 1

2. Fold over the long sides ¼ inch and hem. Then fold the double layer of fabric over ½ inch along the short sides and stitch down.

Sewing a facemask - step 2

3. Run a 6-inch length of 1/8-inch wide elastic through the wider hem on each side of the mask. These will be the ear loops. Use a large needle or a bobby pin to thread it through. Tie the ends tight.
Don’t have elastic? Use hair ties or elastic head bands. If you only have string, you can make the ties longer and tie the mask behind your head.

Sewing a facemask - step 3

4. 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.

Sewing a facemask - step 4

B. Quick Cut T-shirt Face Covering (no-sew method)


  • T-shirt
  • Scissors


Sewing a facemask - step 1

Creating a facemask from a tshirt - step 2

Creating a facemask from a tshirt - step 3

C. Bandana Face Covering (no-sew method)


  • Bandana (or square cotton cloth approximately 20”x20”)
  • Coffee filter
  • Rubber bands (or hair ties)
  • Scissors (if you are cutting your own cloth)


Creating a facemask from a bandanna - step 1

Creating a facemask from a bandanna - step 2

Creating a facemask from a bandanna - step 3

Creating a facemask from a bandanna - step 4

Creating a facemask from a bandanna - step 5

Creating a facemask from a bandanna - step 6

Creating a facemask from a bandanna - step 7

Best practices for cloth face coverings: 

Should cloth face coverings be washed or otherwise cleaned regularly? How regularly?

Yes. They should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use.

How does one safely sterilize/clean a cloth face covering?

A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering.

How does one safely remove a used cloth face covering?

Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.

Additional resources: 

A Little Extra Support

We are now gratefully accepting donations and offers of community support.

At LCMC Health, we are humbled by the generosity of all who have inquired about donating medical supplies to support our staff and patients during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Many of you have asked, “How can we support LCMC Health”?

There are areas of community need where your support can make a big difference.


The LCMC Health Supply Chain team has worked diligently to procure necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our health care workers who are on the front lines. Our number one priority is their safety and that of our patients.

In an abundance of caution as COVID-19 spreads in our community, and with the increased global demand for supplies, LCMC Health is now accepting donations of needed supplies from the business and medical community (dentists, suppliers, etc.) who have available supplies.

Donations must be in the unopened, original packaging, in quantities of 1,000 or greater and in accordance with approved hospital standards.

Requested donation categories include:

  • Masks (N95, surgical, procedure)
  • Disinfecting wipes, such as Clorox or Sani-cloth wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Face shields
  • Goggles and eye shields
  • Isolation or surgical gowns
  • CAPR/PAPR machines and disposables
  • Flocked swabs

To ensure that we can safely use any donated items or equipment, our safety and infection control experts need to review information about the items before they can be sent to our hospitals.

Please complete the fields to provide details about your donation and a member of our team will respond as soon as possible with next steps.

Supply Donation Form

Content Source: https://www.cdc.gov/ncird/index.html