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How to make your own DIY medical face mask for coronavirus

Updated 3 years ago
Published Mar 26th, 2020 7:54AM EDT
Image: Carlos Tischler/Shutterstock

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  • There are certain things we all should be doing in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and staying indoors at home as much as we possibly can is at the top of the list.
  • Needless to say, there are inevitably going to be times when we have no choice but to leave the house and when we do, a face mask can be an invaluable tool for limiting exposure.
  • Medical-grade face masks are almost impossible to find and it’s irresponsible for the general public to be using them anyway — but you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make your own face masks out of common materials that are still shipping immediately from Amazon.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

If you live in the United States, you have a crucial decision to make right now. If you’re responsible and rational, you can shelter in place and stay inside your home as much as possible unless you absolutely need to go out to buy essentials or seek medical care. If you’re irresponsible, you can go on about your business and potentially put your life and countless other lives at risk. That’s no exaggeration, by the way — a person infected by the novel coronavirus can go up to two weeks without presenting any symptoms and can potentially be responsible for infecting many tens of thousands of people over that period of time.

Of course, even if you’re doing everything you can to slow the spread of COVID-19, you’re still going to have to go out sometimes to pick up groceries or perhaps seek medical attention. And what happens to the rest of your family if you are infected by the novel coronavirus? Practicing social distancing and washing your hands constantly are good measures to take, but nothing is as effective as wearing a face mask to either protect yourself from infection or protect others if you might be infected.

Now, here’s the problem: medical-grade face masks like N95 and KN95 masks are almost impossible to find right now. And even if you do find some, it’s irresponsible to buy them for yourself since there’s such a shortage right now among health care professionals on the front line who have a much more urgent need for masks. So where does that leave you?

You might not realize it, but it’s actually quite easy to make your own DIY medical face masks at home with a few basic supplies and a bunch of items that you already have lying around the house. We’re not talking about wrapping a t-shirt around your head or anything, we’re talking about a legitimate face mask that will protect you from pathogens including the novel coronavirus. Will it be as effective as a true medical-grade face mask? Not quite, but it’s much closer than you might think thanks to the materials involved. Health care workers without access to masks are being advised by experts to cover their faces with anything — including scarves and shirts — because something is better than nothing. Needless to say, these DIY face masks are infinitely more effective than a scarf.

Apart from things that you probably already have around your home, there are really only two things you’ll need to buy and they both happen to be in stock and shipping right now from Amazon. The first is a MERV 13 Pleated Air Filter that traps and blocks tiny particles including allergens and viruses, and the second is an Activated Carbon Pad Charcoal Sheet for Air Filters. The only other thing you might need is a hot glue gun if you don’t already have one lying around somewhere, though you can probably get creative and make do without it if you need to. That said, you can get a hot glue gun on Amazon right now for just $12.

AIRx HEALTH 20x20x1 MERV 13 Pleated Air Filter - Made in the USA - Box of 6 AIRx HEALTH 20x20x1 MERV 13 Pleated Air Filter - Made in the USA - Box of 6 $41.99 Available on Amazon Breathe Naturally Universal 16x48 Cut-to-Fit Activated Carbon Filter (4 Pack) Charcoal Air Filt… Breathe Naturally Universal 16x48 Cut-to-Fit Activated Carbon Filter (4 Pack) Charcoal Air Filt… $34.99 $28.99 Save up to 17% Available on Amazon

Here’s the full list of supplies and materials you’ll need:

You’ll find a simple video on YouTube embedded below that walks you through the entire process. It’s very easy to do yourself — in fact, you don’t even need to sew anything. Making a bunch of these for yourself and for your family is a fantastic idea and it might mean the difference between being infected by the novel coronavirus or spreading COVID-19, or helping to flatten the curve and slow the spread of this deadly pandemic.

We’ve shared this info before and it was very popular, but we’re sharing it again now because the more people out there who take initiative and help slow the spread of this deadly virus, the sooner we’ll all be safe again.

AIRx HEALTH 20x20x1 MERV 13 Pleated Air Filter - Made in the USA - Box of 6 AIRx HEALTH 20x20x1 MERV 13 Pleated Air Filter - Made in the USA - Box of 6 $41.99 Available on Amazon Breathe Naturally Universal 16x48 Cut-to-Fit Activated Carbon Filter (4 Pack) Charcoal Air Filt… Breathe Naturally Universal 16x48 Cut-to-Fit Activated Carbon Filter (4 Pack) Charcoal Air Filt… $34.99 $28.99 Save up to 17% Available on Amazon

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Maren Estrada Deals Editor

Maren Estrada is a deals expert with more than 15 years of product reviews and deals coverage experience. Having been the Editor for BGR Deals since it first launched in 2013, she has helped our audience save millions of dollars over the years on tens of thousands of popular products. She is the authority on daily deals coverage. In addition to BGR, her work has also appeared on Yahoo!, MSN, and more.