How to Make a Face Mask from a Vacuum Cleaner Bag

How to Make a Face Mask from a Vacuum Cleaner Bag

To help slow the spread of COVID-19, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends that everyone should wear a fabric face covering in public. The cloth face coverings help remind us to not touch our faces, and cut down on the spread of germs through coughing, sneezing, or even vaping. With merely cloth between you and the airborne particles, the maximum filtration power is not as good as N-95 and surgical masks - but they are the way to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

 

Why Not Buy A Face Mask Instead? There are multiple reasons why it is a better idea to make a homemade mask instead of buying one.

One the one hand, there is high consumer demand for medical masks all over the world, the sales of medical masks have risen sharply, according to Nielsen Retail Measurement Services. This has left healthcare providers concerned that there will be a shortage of masks and they will be at risk while caring for sick patients. It is best that the general public leave the supply for health professionals. On the other hand, the costs of face masks have surged. With COVID-19 spreading around the world, sellers have increased their prices as much as four or five times. As an example, a 10-pack of 3M N95 respirators were roughly $18.20, and then the cost skyrocketed to $99.99. Amazon is attempting to stop third-party sellers from exploiting the outbreak. A spokesperson for the company said they were “disappointed that bad actors are attempting to artificially raise prices on basic need products during a global health crisis and, in line with our long-standing policy, have recently blocked or removed tens of thousands of offers." However, Amazon does struggle to police its market.

Making your own face mask by vacuum cleaner bag may save you time and money, while also ensuring you’re not taking away any protective equipment from your healthcare workers.

 

There are easy ways to improve the amount of filtration in a homemade mask. By using vacuum cleaner bags designed to remove the tiniest of air particles as a filter, you can easily make a mask much more effective.

 

For comfort and efficiency, any mask filter material should be placed between two layers of fabric. Our instructions for an easy, no-sew mask make this possible, and there are no special skills or equipment needed. We have also included a tutorial on how to make a homemade mask with a filter pocket.

Read on to find out how you can make these masks to protect yourself.

 

How Effective is a Mask Made From a Vacuum Bag?

A mask is only effective if it provides full coverage from your mouth to your nose. It must also be made from appropriate materials. Research from Cambridge University has shown that homemade masks from vacuum bags are effective, the vacuum bags captured 86% of 0.02-micron Bacteriophage MS2 particles. The coronavirus is around 0.1 microns, 5 times larger than Bacteriophage MS2. This means that the vacuum filter material traps the particles, preventing them from infecting the person wearing the mask. Therefore wearing a homemade mask made out of a vacuum bag is the next best thing to wearing a surgical mask in order to protect yourself, but only if it is made and worn correctly.

 

Steps for Making a Face Mask With Filter Pocket

To make your own face mask with a pocket opening to hold a filter, you will need to have the materials and also follow the step-by-step tutorial.

 

Materials Needed:

Vacuum cleaner bag

Template to cut the bag into the correct sizes

Sewing Machine

Iron

Scissors

Pins

One 9 inch x 12 inch piece of tightly woven cotton fabric

Two 7 inch pieces of ⅛ inch flat elastic

 

Step-by-Step Tutorial

To cut the vacuum cleaner bag, open it up and remove any cardboard pieces. Use the template to cut your filters. Keep both layers of the bag together after they are cut - they need to be used together. Keep your pre-cut filters secure and clean in a plastic bag or airtight container until you use them

Fold the piece of 9 inch x 12 inch fabric in half, with the right sides facing each other so it measures 9 inch x 6 inch

Sew a 1/4 inch seam across the top edge, leaving a 3 inch opening in the middle

Bring the seam to the center instead of at the top. This makes it easier to press the seam open

Press the seam open

Insert and sew elastic in place. It can be easier to tuck it in there and pin the ends in place and remove them before you sew. The ends of the elastic should be right inside the folds

Stitch along both ends with a 1/4 inch seam. This will make sure the elastics are secure and in place

Topstitch a 1/4 inch seam across the bottom and top of the mask

Make two pleats on each end. Make sure the pleats are facing down on the front aide. Pin them in place

Sew along the edges of the mask to hold the pleats in place

Insert the filter into the pocket

The mask is now ready to use. Place it over your nose and mouth and loop the elastics over each ear.

 

Steps for Making a No-Sew Face Mask

To make your own face mask at home, you will need to gather specific materials mentioned below and also follow the step-by-step tutorial.

 

Materials Needed:

A bandana made of cotton or cotton blend fabric. These are the most comfortable to wear, and the easiest to launder. The standard bandana size you’ll need is 20 inch x 20 inch square. These already have finished edges, and are ready to use

Scissors

Vacuum cleaner bag

Template to cut the bag into the correct sizes

2 elastic hair ties or rubber bands for each mask. If you have difficulty finding these, strips from elastic bandages can also be used - you’ll need to cut and tie them to a comfortable size

 

Step-by-Step Tutorial

To cut the vacuum cleaner bag, open it up and remove any cardboard pieces. Use the template to cut your filters. Keep both layers of the bag together after they are cut - they need to be used together. Keep your pre-cut filters secure and clean in a plastic bag or airtight container until you use them

Fold the bandana in half. You’ll now have a piece of double-layered fabric in front of you

Center the piece of vacuum cleaner bag in the middle of the fabric rectangle

Fold the top side of the fabric halfway down and the bottom side halfway up, so that they meet and overlap slightly in the center. They will now totally cover the filter fabric

Place a rubber band, hair tie, or loop of elastic around each end of the folded fabric, moving them toward the center until they’re about 6 inch apart

Leave the elastic bands where they are. Now, fold the ends of the fabric to the center, so that they touch. Tuck the fabric in neatly

Gently pull the elastic bands to the outer ends of each side of the mask. The filter fabric will now be centered inside the fabric, so that it covers your nose and mouth when the mask is worn

The mask is now ready to use. Place the mask over your nose and mouth, and loop the elastic over each ear to check the fit.

 

How to Care For Your Homemade Mask

The CDC recommends that fabric masks are laundered routinely, depending on how often they are used. This mask can be washed in a washing machine. At this time, discard the filter fabric, and replace it with a new piece after you’ve laundered the bandana.

 

These pre-cut vacuum cleaner bag filters can also be used in any fabric mask that comes with a pocket. The pocket allows the filter media to be added in between the two layers of fabric. The pocket secures the filter in place while the wearer is venturing into public or crowded places. This greatly boosts the amount of protection the mask provides. Inserting and removing the filter from the pocket is also incredibly easy because of how they are made.

This simple mask meets all the CDC guidelines, including a snug but comfortable fit, secure ear loops, multiple layers of fabric, allowing for breathing without restriction, and able to be machine washed and dried without shrinking.

 

Notes:

A homemade mask that contains a filter made from a vacuum bag is made of two layers of fabric with an inner pocket. It does not filter the transmission of particles as effectively as an N95 mask and it is not a replacement. However, the mask does offer a significant amount of protection.

Provided the homemade mask is made correctly and the filter is cut and inserted the right way, you will be better protected from airborne particles. Research from Cambridge University has shown that vacuum bags capture 86% of particles as small as 0.02-microns, and the coronavirus is 5 times the size of that figure, at around 0.1 microns.

 

Where can I buy vacuum bags?

You can purchase the vacuum bags here.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

What are you looking for?

Your cart

English