With so many hacks around at the moment for DIY face masks due to the mandatory use in Melbourne we decided to dig around and see if they were still safe enough to protect us.

There has been a video going viral this week of a lady making a face mask out of a sock. Clever? YES! But is it safe? Maybe not.

Dr Abrar Ahmad Chughtai, an epidemiologist at the University of New South Wales, says that it’s “apparently not safe”.

“It may provide a false sense of protection as well,” Dr Abrar tells 9Honey.

“I think cloth masks should be at least three layers. Selection of material is also important — better to select material with high thread count.”

Dr Abrar Ahmad Chughtai

We previously shared from The Conversation while it’s generally accepted cloth masks don’t do as good a job of filtering out particles from coughs and sneezes as surgical masks, new evidence shows there are several things to look out for when choosing or making a cloth mask:

  • use two or three layers of fabric
  • choose fabric with a high thread count (so a tighter weave, for instance from a good quality sheet is generally better than a fabric with a looser weave that you can clearly see light through)
  • fabrics made with more than one type of thread (for instance cotton–silk, cotton–chiffon, or cotton–flannel) may be good choices because they provide better filtration and are more comfortable to wear
  • make sure any cloth mask fits well and seals around the face.

Wearing a bandana or scarf around your face should also be a last resort. That’s because it’s hard to get a good fit around your face and the cloth they are usually made from tends to have a loose weave.

But in saying that a bandana or scarf may provide some protection and prevent spread of infection from sick people, compared to wearing nothing at all.

Clever hacks

Meanwhile we love this idea from one mum who said her autistic son really hated the straps around his ears so she added a couple of buttons to his favourite hat and it worked a treat.

Some people are making their own masks using $1.50 tea towels from Kmart.

One member of the Kmart hack group shared her clever creation saying, “Double lined and a pocket for a filter.”

And this man had people in giggles over the weekend in his upside down underwear while shopping at a craft store in Knox City.

We don’t recommend this idea though, sorry.

Find out the best mask to wear here – Which face mask should I wear?

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