Making your own mask can result in a good face covering if you use the right materials in multiple layers.
You can either make one using a simple sewing pattern or opt for a version that doesn't require any sewing.
There are two main styles of cloth mask. Pleated rectangular versions that mimic a basic surgical mask and a more curved, non-pleated design. The latter can be a bit more tricky to make, but there are patterns available online if you're keen to try your hand at it.
The good news is that they did well on filtration and breathability, showing that normal, tightly woven cotton is a good fabric option for a homemade mask.
The problem with this pattern was that it was a bit uncomfortable and didn't fit as snugly around our testers' faces as it should have.
Below is another, similar option to try, with pleats that should make it fit better around the face (although we haven't lab-tested this one):
Adding extras such as a nose wire, strap adjustors and a filter pocket should also help with the fit and effectiveness.
You can fold a piece of cloth such as a bandana or tea towel into a rectangle, placing rubber bands or elastic hair ties around the middle and folding the material in then hooking the elastics around your ears. This is the method the .
Make sure the material is folded over itself to form multiple layers, that the elastic ties fit snugly on your early and hold the material closely to your face.
Our tests show that using a tightly woven cotton for a homemade mask is a good option, as it's able to filter particles fairly well.
Two layers of tightly woven cotton were able to filter 73% of particles before washing and 81% after five hot washes - an impressive result.
Ideally, you would add another layer and use a combination of different fabrics, such as polyester or silk.
You can use a piece of kitchen towel or a coffee filter as a cheap and simple disposable extra filter layer in between two fabric layers. The French consumer organisation UFC-Que Choisir found in their tests that a piece of Kleenex tissue was even a good homemade option for a disposable filter layer.
For the ear loops, you can use pieces of elastic band or hair ties, or for a potentially more comfortable option - ribbons to tie up behind the ears.
Watch our video for step-by-step instructions on sewing a face mask at home and tips on how to make sure it fits properly.