The government is now encouraging the public to wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces, where it can be difficult to exercise social distancing. This includes public transport and some shops.
If you don’t have a mask there are some alternatives that you can use; as long as the covering completely covers your face and nose, it may be effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). You can use any cloth covering, including a scarf/bandana, or a homemade covering made from an old T-shirt.
How to make a face covering using a T-shirt
You will need:
- A clean T-shirt
How to make the face covering:
1. Wash your hands
Before you begin, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can view more thorough guidance on hand-washing below:
2. Clean a flat, level surface to work on
Next, clean and disinfect a flat surface, such as a kitchen table. Wash with warm soapy water, and then spray a household disinfectant spray directly onto the surface. Wipe off with a clean microfibre and leave to dry.
3. Lay your T-shirt on the clean surface
Lay your T-shirt onto your clean, level surface, and flatten out with your hands.
4. Cut along the width of the T-shirt
Around 20 cms from the bottom of your T-shirt, cut across the entire width of the shirt. You can now discard the top half of the shirt (the half with the sleeves).
5. Cut a box to create the face covering and ties
To create a face covering and tie strings, you should cut a box from the right-hand half of the shirt. The box should come around 20cm into the shirt, with 2cms above and below the box.
6. Cut your ties
On the right hand side of your shirt, there should now be two loops of one inch: one at the bottom, and one at the top. Using your scissors, cut these loops at the top and bottom, to create ties.
7. Tie your face covering
Open up the remains of your shirt on the surface and you should now notice that you have a central face covering, as well as a top tie and a bottom tie either side.
Place the face covering over your mouth and nose. Secure the top ties above the crown of your head and the bottom ties around the base of your neck. Make sure to tie the covering tight, to ensure there are no gaps between your face and the covering.
8. Machine wash your face covering between uses
Between uses, you should machine wash your face covering at a high temperature of 60C+ and allow it to dry fully.
Wearing a face covering safely
When using a face covering, it’s important to follow some rules for safe and effective use:
- Ensure that your mouth and nose are fully covered, and that there are no gaps between your face and the covering
- Avoid wearing a face covering if you have a medical condition that can cause difficulty with breathing. If you have difficulty breathing while wearing a face covering, you should remove it immediately. If, for any reason, you’re unable to remove a face covering yourself, you should avoid wearing one
- Do not place a face mask on anyone below the age of two years, or who is unable to remove the covering themself
- When wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, and after removing it. Continue to wash your hands regularly at other times
- Practice social distancing (maintaining a distance of 2m + from others) wherever possible
- Change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
- Change and wash your face covering daily. If the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in your usual waste