I'm sure you really don't like wearing a face mask, but what can we do?
With the current state of events, we all need to cover our faces with medical grade face masks if we want to keep ourselves and those around us safe from contracting the Corona Virus.
And since more and more places are requiring us to wear protective face masks, we might as well make them as comfortable and appealing as possible.
How about having some fun with them while we're at it?
But no, seriously, I'll explain a little about why it's important to know the ins and outs of the corona virus transmissions and what you can do with a crochet face mask to make it more effective and safe to wear.
What Is A Crochet Face Mask?
A crochet face mask is a mask cover that you can crochet yourself with some yarn and a crochet hook. You could also buy a ready-made crochet face mask online, from a craft market or craft store.
Are Crochet Face Masks Safe?
A lot of people have been asking whether crochet face masks are safe.
The answer is: They can be, if they conform to some basic criteria:
Why Wear Any Type Of Face Mask During The Corona (Covid-19) Pandemic?
The Corona (COVID-19) virus spreads mainly through close contact from person to person.
When respiratory droplets and aerosols are produced by an infected person who coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice (e.g., while shouting, chanting, or singing), these droplets can end up in the mouths, noses or eyes of others who are nearby or can possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
It is thought that the Corona Virus can also be spread by people who do not show any symptoms.
Are Crochet Masks Effective?
There is a heated debate going on about crocheted face masks and how effective they are.
Basically, research tells us that:
Crochet Face Masks are no where near as effective as medical grade masks, even if you add filter inserts.
At best, Crochet Face Masks offer some protection of others, not of yourself as the wearer.
Wearing these masks is only useful in conjunction with the recommended hygiene and distancing measures.
Crochet Face Masks may be worn on top of medical grade masks for decoration or be worn under face shields.
However, to increase the effectiveness of crochet face masks and follow respiratory etiquette, you could:
- Use cotton yarn (one that has a high thread count, yet is comfortable enough to breath through).
- Add 3 layers of filtering material to crocheted face mask.
- Ensure mask covers your nose, mouth and chin.
- Ensure a tight, but comfortable fit on the face.
- Straps must be strong enough to keep your mask in place during use, and elastic enough to allow easy fit.
- Make sure the mask stays dry while worn.
- Avoid touching the mask with your hands.
- Only remove the mask from your face by holding the ear bands, not the mask itself.
- Wash crocheted face mask after every use at 60°C in your washing machine with phosphate-free detergent.
- If you feel that after several washes your mask has lost its shape or is degrading, discontinue use of this mask.
- Wash your hands before putting on and taking off the mask or use hand sanitiser.
- After use, hang your crochet mask on a hook so that it does not come into contact with any other objects.
- You can also store your mask in a paper bag or envelope when not in use so that you can transport it without it touching other objects in your bag.
- Avoid storing your crochet face mask in a plastic bag because the masks do not dry inside them. The viruses also live longer on plastic than they do on paper.
- Have several crochet face masks with you when you're out so that you can change to a dry one when the one you're wearing gets damp from your breath.
- Use your crocheted face mask in conjunction with other preventative measures and hygiene regulations: wash hands, maintain social distancing and clean & disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
Following these guidelines can significantly reduce your risk of contracting the Corona Virus and spreading it.
Face Mask Skepticism
There are skeptics, of course, who believe that even medical grade face masks are a joke!
Some feel that face masks harbour diseases and restrict oxygen flow.
So, wherever you stand in this debate, and knowing that crocheted face masks are not the ideal solution to protect oneself against the Corona Virus, we might still be obliged to wear them.
I've read that fabric / crocheted face masks do help in reducing the probability of contraction by somewhat preventing large droplets from entering through the fabric and also wearing crocheted face masks act as a reminder that we are in a pandemic and will prevent us from putting our hands into our faces.
Crocheted masks could also be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front of your face and extends to below the chin on the sides of your face.
Problem # 1
The first problem is that there are no agreed-upon standards for protective face-masks as of yet.
So we could go on debating for a long time as to how effective they are.
It simply requires more studies, analysis and testing.
Problem # 2
The second issue, is that buying disposable medical grade face masks adds to our monthly budget - quite significantly.
I bought several packs of disposable masks, and like so many other people decided to look into DIY face masks - crocheted ones would be most appealing to me.
Obviously, I wanted to find out how effective they were and as I was researching, I discovered that there are factories in my country (Switzerland) that produced "medical grade face masks" that were not allowed to be sold on the market because they weren't effective enough!
These Swiss Factory Made Face Masks were "rejected for a technical reason and required improvements if they were to receive certification." You can read more about it here:
Well, if a medical manufacturer failed the test, would I be able to pass it by making my own crocheted face mask? Even if it has a filter pocket?
Let's delve into this issue a little further.
The FDA produced this information on Face Masks and it basically says that “While a facemask may be effective in blocking splashes and large-particle droplets, a facemask, by design, does not filter or block very small particles in the air that may be transmitted by coughs, sneezes or certain medical procedures. Facemasks also do not provide complete protection from germs and other contaminants because of the loose fit between the surface of the facemask and your face.”
As you can see, there are several layers to this problem. And I am no scientist, so the basic research I've done to shed some light on this issue shows that there is no complete protection from the Corona Virus.
All we can do is try as much as possible to stop droplets and aerosols from entering our mouths, noses and eyes by following the WHO guidelines.
Crochet Face Masks For Kids?
More and more countries are now obliging school children to wear face masks.
Amusement parks as well are making face masks a requirement and it looks like this will be the case through 2021.
We all know how difficult it is for a child to keep a mask on, so the best we could do is to make the masks appealing enough for the kids to wear.
There are many crochet patterns and finished products available on Etsy that are super cute!
You could let your children choose the designs they like and you could crochet it for them.
Hopefully this would encourage children to wear protective masks 🙂
How To Get Started With Crochet Face Masks?
Crochet face masks are relatively easy to make and most are beginner level.
You can check my Pinterest Board featuring over 100 crocheted face masks and ear savers.
How To Crochet Face Masks For Beginners: Tips for Success
First of all, you need to figure out the most suitable yarn to use for your face mask project.
Most likely, a cotton yarn will be best for this particular project.
Each face mask pattern or tutorial will state exactly which yarn to use and what size crochet hook will give the best results.
Check the care instructions of the yarn you choose and make sure it is machine washable.
Face Masks With Filter Pockets / Inserts
Most designers recommend adding a second layer of crochet (to create a pocket) where you can insert a filter.
You can find online some Mask Filtration Material, non-woven fabric made of spun-bond polypropylene that is on par with most surgical masks.
Adding this filter in your crochet face mask and changing it regularly whilst also washing your mask daily will be of considerable effect during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Face Mask Extenders (Also Referred To As: Ear Savers / Ear Guards / Adapters / Holders)
If you have to wear a face mask for long periods of time, your ears might start to get sore.
To avoid this problem, even with disposable surgical face masks, crocheted extenders can come to the rescue. These are sometimes referred to as ear savers, guards, adapters and holders.
These are basically a small crocheted rectangular piece with a button on either end where you can attach the ear straps at the back of your head.
Face Masks With Decorations
Wouldn't it be fun to add some decorative touches to face masks? You could add appliques or embellishments for a stylish look.
Kids will also be more inclined to enjoy wearing their face mask if it has a theme or animated character they love.
You can really create a trendy look which will be attractive especially for teens. Let your creative juices flow!
And check out this fun face mask cover!! That'll surely bring some smiles on your friend's faces!!
How about crocheting a face mask for a friend? You can download these free gift tags to make it all the more special.
Crochet Gift Tags
Crocheting a gift for a loved one? Why not personalize it with a cute gift tag? Yours FREE here.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Crochet Face Masks
It's obvious we all want to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities from the corona virus pandemic.
To do that, we should arm ourselves with the best possible information and stay up to date with research developments.
I've gathered the basics here in this blog post and will update it regularly for you.
If you feel comfortable with the decision to wear a crochet face mask, then go ahead and check out some patterns you can make.
And if you like what you've read here so far, please go ahead and share this blog post with your friends.
*Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the opinion of the author. None of the statements in this article are based on any tests, experience or expertise on face masks. The aim of this article to provide some insight on face masks and crocheted suggestions to the best of my knowledge. It is not to be perceived as professional advice. No tests were performed to substantiate my recommendations. There is no guarantee that following them will prevent infection. Start Crochet holds no responsibility or liability about performance of the crocheted face masks.
*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase using the Start Crochet links. Please see my disclosure for more details.
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-covid-spreads.html, accessed August 8, 2020.
How reliable are cloth masks? https://www.srf.ch/news/schweiz/textil-oder-einwegmaske-wie-zuverlaessig-sind-stoffmasken, accessed Sept. 1, 2020.