December 7, 2021

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How to Make a CDC-Approved Face Mask For Double Masking

We’ve somehow reached the one-year mark of living in the Covid-19 pandemic, and at this point, you should have a few masks that are properly fitted and filtered. But if you want to have more on hand for double-masking, you can make your own.

It’s important to note that the CDC no longer recommends making your own masks because the manufacturing of properly made masks has increased and DIY ones can vary in efficacy. But adding a layer over a disposable medical mask is an option that we think is only beneficial. See the CDC website for its updated guide to masks.

If you’re sick, you shouldn’t be leaving your house. But if you happen to be infected with Covid-19 and are not yet showing any symptoms, wearing a cloth mask will protect those around you, and help you from unknowingly spreading the virus. (These are Covid-19’s typical symptoms.)

Be sure to frequently wash masks in the washing machine with regular detergent.

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Updated April 2021: This article was originally a guide on how to create your own cloth face mask, and followed CDC guidance. We’ve updated it now that the CDC doesn’t recommend using a homemade cloth mask as your only face covering. We recommend you purchase one of our favorite face masks if you’re searching for a primary face covering to wear.

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more.

Some Mask Rules

  • Do not hoard N95 masks. Health care professionals are still facing shortages in supplies, and we should not use protective masks intended for ill patients and health care workers.
  • Do not put a face mask on kids under 2 years old, or anyone who has difficulty breathing or might be unable to remove the mask themselves.
  • Do not remove a mask by its mouth area. Grab it by the straps. Wash your hands after touching it.
  • Do not just wear a standard bandana or scarf. Wear a properly manufactured mask (disposable or not) with multiple layers that tightly covers your face. The directions below are for a second layer.
  • Do not stop wearing a mask if mandates have been lifted where you live. Even if you’ve been vaccinated (if not, here’s how to find a Covid-19 vaccine), you should continue wearing masks when out in public—private businesses like restaurants and grocery stores can still deny you service, and until everyone is vaccinated, we need to be vigilant.
Photograph: Jens Büttner/Getty Images 

How to Make a DIY T-Shirt Mask (No Sewing Required)

These directions are based off of the CDC’s original guidelines. As we stated above, these masks should only be used in double-masking, layered over a disposable medical mask (if you don’t already own cloth masks). These are not intended to be used as your only layer of protection.

What You’ll Need: