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Where can you buy face masks and do homemade face masks work?


A model wears a personal protection mask designed by Mulberry. (Picture: Edward Smith/BFC/Getty Images for the BFC)

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the UK Government are now advising that non-medical face masks should be used by the general public when outside the home. 

Not intended to replace other protective measures, such as social distancing and hand washing, the British public have been told that from 15 June it will be compulsory to wear a face mask on public transport and those who do not comply could face a fine. 

Although it will only be mandatory to wear face masks on public transport from this date, experts are calling for this to be extended to all public spaces where social distancing is not possible. 

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends: ‘wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations.’

But where can you buy a face mask if you don’t have one already and is it safe to make your own? 

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Where can you buy face masks? 

Both reusable and disposable face masks are available from retailers such as Boots, Amazon and Lloyds Pharmacy, but you can also buy cloth face masks in different patterns and colours from websites like Etsy.

Jumping on the demand for face masks that are both practical and colourful, there are also brands that have started making masks instead of their usual product range.

Face masks are now available in a variety of colours and patterns. (Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Such retailers range from bedding manufacturer, Comfy Group, who are selling non-medical protective face masks you can buy online, to luxury French textiles accessories brand Le Colonel Moutarde who are selling Liberty Print pieces.

For more information on brands selling stylish but protective masks, check out this list of face masks and coverings online,

Are homemade face masks safe to wear to help prevent the spread of Covid-19?

The CDC advise that homemade face masks will help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and say that: ‘Cloth face coverings can be made from household items’. 

They also recommend that a bandana or old t-shirt can be used to make face masks if you don’t have a square cotton cloth to hand. 

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Just make sure that whatever fabric you use to make your mask is machine washable at 60C to kill germs and help maintain freshness and hygiene.

Visit this page for instructions on how to make a face mask at home

How to wear a face mask safely and effectively

The World Heath Organisation has the following advice on how to wear a mask properly and effectively during the Covid-19 pandemic:

  • Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
  • To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

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