Guidelines for the Production and Use of Evidence Based Locally Made Reusable Face Masks

Please note that the evidence based locally made reusable face masks referred to below  should be worn as a preventive measure by Nurses, Nurse-Midwives, healthcare workers  and non covid-19 patients they come into contact with. When caring for covid-19 positive  patients, N95 masks should be worn.

1. Material Specifications

Recommended fabrics: AAN recommends using woven fabrics made from  100% polyester with a sateen/satin weave design and tight weave density, or  100% nylon with a sateen/satin weave design and tight weave density. These  fabrics are recommended because their weave design and density increase  resistance to fluid penetration and reduce the level of penetration of micro organisms.

Important Note: Cotton is an inappropriate fabric for face masks because it absorbs and  allows for transmission of the virus contained through the material.

Important Note: Improvised filters are not appropriate.

2. Material Procurement

2.1 Weave design identification guidelines: Using a magnifying glass, follow one  warp thread (vertical) or one weft thread to determine if the order of interlacement (weave design / pattern) is one over, four under (a sateen weave design), or one  under, four over (a satin weave design).

 Plain Weave 
Twill Weave
Sateen/Satin Weave
Sateen/Satin Weave

2.2 Fabric purchasing: Engage a skilled textile expert in the identification and  purchase of mask making fabrics. Skilled experts can be engaged from local  training institutions (University, Technical College, etc.) with relevant  departments, or from textile vendors with good textile knowledge.

3. Production Specifications

3.1 Production Room Cleanliness: Prior to making reusable masks, ensure the  production room is cleaned thoroughly with soap and water, and the surfaces in  contact with mask making materials are sterilized using household bleach. 

Tailors and those responsible for handling and packaging the masks should  themselves be masked throughout the process of their work, and should wash  their hands thoroughly with soap and water prior to touching the fabrics,  production tools and work spaces and finished products.  

3.2 How to locally produce a reusable medical face mask.

3.2.1 Each mask should be made of three rectangular panels, with the  exterior panel slight larger than the interior ones, in order to fold back the  edges of the exterior panel over the interior ones and machine stitch  across the inside edges of the mask. 

3.2.2 Use nylon or polyester thread for all stitching.  

3.2.3 Cut two equal length elastic material bands. 

3.2.4 Machine stitch these to the mask with tight, close stitches. 

Alternatively, you can make a “tunnel” when folding and stitching the  larger outer layer to the inner layer, so that the elastic material band  moves freely.

3.3 Diagrams and measures. 

This is a basic design for a face mask, the aim of which is to cover the nostrils,  the mouth and the chin. Similar designs that achieve this with dimensions adjusted for local relevance are also acceptable. 

3.4 Mask Sterilization: After production, masks should be sterilised through either  boiling in water for at least 30 minutes, soaking in a solution containing 1 cup  (240 ml) of household bleach to 20 liters of water for 30 minutes or exposure to  

heat at temperatures greater than 70 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.

4. User Instructions

4.1 Putting on the mask: Wash your hands with water and soap for twenty  seconds, or with hand sanitizer containing 70% alcohol by rubbing your hands together thoroughly for twenty seconds. Take 5 deep breaths in a  safe location, then put on the mask.

4.2. Taking off the mask: Wash your hands with water and soap for twenty  seconds, or with hand sanitizer containing 70% alcohol by rubbing your  hands together thoroughly for twenty seconds, then take off the mask and  drop it in the washing container or face mask bag. If you are taking off the  mask to eat then you should wash your hands using soap and water for a  minimum of 20 seconds, seeing as hand sanitizer and similar anti-bacterial products should not be ingested. 

4.3. Washing the mask: Wash the mask after use, daily. Wash the mask by  hand with hot water and soap for at least 60 seconds. Dry the mask inside  your residence, preferably by hanging in sunlight. Storing the mask: Store the mask in a closable pouch, ideally made of the  same material as the mask is made of. 

4.5. Life span of the mask: Use the mask until there is visible evidence of wear  on the surface of the mask.

4.6. Disposing of the mask: Dispose of the mask as you would any other  contaminated materials in a healthcare setting.