As the coronavirus cases continue to rise in the country, the Union Health Ministry has encouraged people to use a homemade protective cover for face and mouth and shared an easy guide to making them at home. In an advisory issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, it has been suggested that people not suffering from any medical conditions can use homemade masks when they step out of their house. However, health workers and those in close contact with COVID-19 patients have been advised to wear specified protective gear.
"We are aware that social distancing and personal hygiene are keys to prevent COVID 19 infections. Certain countries have claimed benefits of homemade face cover for the general public. Such homemade face cover is a good method for maintaining personal hygiene. Such usage certainly will help in maintaining overall hygienic health conditions," the government advisory read.
Step by step guide to making face masks at home
Due to the sudden rise in demand, there is a shortage of face masks and other protective gears not just in India but across the world. Despite the government's strict directions, the prices of face masks have risen many folds. A simple Rs 10 disposable mask is being sold at a price as high as Rs 40 in the market. However, most people, who are not suffering from any medical condition or having breathing problems, can use homemade face covers to protect themselves from infections.
However, its quite easy to make a face cover or mask at home using a clean cotton cloth and sewing machine. These face masks can also be made without using the sewing machine.
What you need: A clean cotton fabric, four pieces of cloth scissors and a sewing machine.
How to make it: Take a 100 per cent cotton fabric. Wash in boiling water for 5 minutes and dry it well before making the face cover. Adding salt to this water is recommended.
Step 1: Cut the cloth at following sizes as required: Adult: 9 inch x 7 inch; Child: 7 inch x 5 inch
Step 2: Cut 4 strips for tying and piping from cloth: Two pieces at 1.5"x 5" and two pieces at 1.5"x 40"
Step 3: Take the cut fabric, attach the 1.5x5" strip to be used as piping to the fabric on one end.
Step 4: Create three downward facing pleats of approximately 1.5" each folding cloth as shown.
Step 5: Turn the pleated cloth to the other side and repeat steps for pleating on this side as shown above. Once the pleats have been made, the height of the pleated cloth will be reduced from 9" to 5".
Step 6: Secure the pleats with piping on both sides as shown above. Take extra care to keep all pleats facing downward.
Step 7: Now begin attaching the long 40" strips used for tying the face cover to the top and bottom as shown.
Step 8: Once again fold both these strips three times and stitch as shown above. Your face cover is now ready.
How to use homemade face mask
Once your face mask is ready, it is important to know the right way to use it. Ensure that the face cover fits around your mouth and nose and there is no gap between your face and the mask. Always note that when wearing the face cover, the side facing you should show the pleats as facing downwards.
How to clean and sanitize your homemade face mask
Also, you should never reverse the face cover for reuse. Always wash it after every use. To clean your used face mask, thoroughly wash it in soap and warm water and leave it to dry in hot sun for at least 5 hours. You can also boil it in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes or heat it with iron for five minutes after washing it with soap and water.