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Description of maintenance from 
Textile Faculty of TUL

Recommendations for home production and sterilization of reusable masks

Home-made scarves, once an appropriate material is selected, properly cut and maintained, can significantly reduce the risk of viral infection even after multiple uses.

Cotton fabrics have the following advantages:

  1. They are commonly available in homes and shops

  2. They are highly hydrophilic, so they can catch and retain virus droplets

  3. Simple and effective disinfection is possible

Is the cotton fabric I have suitable? This can be detected by dropping a drop of water onto its surface. If the drop absorbs immediately, everything is fine. If the drop does not break after approx. 10 seconds, either the fabric should not be used or additional cooking should be done in boiling water with an alkali (e.g. soap) for approx. 5 minutes. Select cotton fabrics that are not specially treated (eg, crease-free, non-iron-finish, etc.) or printed with, for example, iron-on transfers. In these cases the boiling recommended above will not help.

It is advisable to use fabrics in two layers.

It is best to verify by breathing through the double fabric any problems with its use !!

How to maintain a cotton cloth?

The mask can only be reused after disinfection. The following procedures are recommended for disinfection of masks:

  1. Immerse the cloth in boiling water for 5 minutes. OR

  2. Ironing with temperature set to "cotton" and possible steaming so that the cloth is perfectly heated, ie from both sides, for longer time (about 2 minutes). OR

  3. Moistening the drape with an alcohol-based disinfectant solution and sterilizing it for 1 hour in an impermeable (plastic) bag. OR

  4. If you own a home solarium, or better an older “mountain sun” with a mercury lamp, you can use sterilization through UV radiation. Be careful not to shine on the skin, and sterilize in a room free of animals and vegetation. Recommended distance 1 m, exposure time 5 min. The disadvantage of this procedure is the potential degradation of plastics !!!

It is also possible to combine procedures 1) and 2).

Not suitable: do not carry out disinfection by washing only in an automatic washing machine. At lower temperatures there is no destruction of viruses and bacteria that can survive in the washing machine. The machine does not sterilize the cloth masks, plus there is also a risk of contamination of textiles during the next wash cycle. After the expiry date, when the fabric wear becomes visible, you should sterilize and dispose.

What kind of "cut" should the cloth have?

The design should fit securely under the chin and cover the entire nose. The cloth should be hemmed. When sewing, it is necessary to place the seams away from the mouth and nose!

 

Detailed explanation:

Cloth masks made in a non-professional way do not use any special layers and materials. Rather, they help reduce the risk of infection. On the other hand, with appropriate material selection, drapery design and easily available sterilization, these cloths can significantly reduce the risk of infection, even when used multiple times. Home / non-professional cloth masks should be especially intended for healthy people who protect themselves against coronavirus infiltration, that is, by splashing or inhaling, in particular water droplets containing viruses. If the virus spreads in droplets, a highly hydrophilic fabric can ensure that the droplets with the virus deposit directly on the surface, as well as trapping the droplets on the walls of the crooked pores as air passes through the inhalation. Of all the potentially suitable textile materials, cotton fabrics preferably have the following advantages:

  1. They are commonly available in homes and shops

  2. They are highly hydrophilic, so they can catch and retain virus droplets

  3. Simple and effective disinfection is possible

Whether a cotton fabric is suitable for use in cloths can simply be determined by placing a drop of water on its surface, e.g. If the drop drops immediately, everything is fine. If the drop does not break after approx. 10 seconds, either the fabric should not be used or additional cooking should be done in boiling water with alkaline (eg soap) for approx. 5 minutes. Cotton fabrics that are not specially treated (eg, crease-free, non-iron finish, etc.) or printed with, for example, iron-on transfers should be selected. In these cases the boiling recommended above will not help.

The effectiveness of capturing virus-containing droplets increases with fabric thickness and reduction of porosity (smaller/fewer holes). It is therefore preferable to use more dense and thicker fabrics. One limitation is the need to allow comfortable long-term breathing through the cloth.

For the cloth manufacture, it is desirable to use fabrics in two layers to more effectively limit the penetration of virus-containing droplets. It is good to check for any problems with its use by actually breathing through the double fabric.

The mask can only be reused after disinfection. The following procedures are recommended for disinfection of masks:

  1. Immerse the cloth in boiling water for 5 minutes.

  2. Ironing with a temperature set to "cotton" and possible steaming. It is necessary to iron so that the mask warms up perfectly, ie iron from both sides, for a longer time (about 2 minutes)

  3. Moistening the cloth with an alcohol-based disinfectant solution and sterilizing it for 1 hour in an impermeable (plastic) bag.

  4. If you own a home solarium, or better the older "mountain sun" with a mercury lamp, you can use sterilization via UV radiation. Be careful not to shine on the skin and sterilize in a room free of animals and vegetation.

 

Recommended distance is 1 m; exposure time 5 min. The disadvantage of this procedure is the potential degradation of plastics, so it is advisable to carry out this procedure, for example, on the toilet, when the radiator is placed on the toilet.

It is also possible to combine processes 1) and 2) due to the fact that ironing reduces the porosity of the fabric.

 

Not suitable: do not perform disinfection by washing in an automatic washing machine. At lower temperatures there is no destruction of viruses and bacteria that can survive in the washing machine. The machine does not sterilize the drapes, but there is also a risk of contamination of textiles during the next wash cycle. After the expiry date when fabric wear becomes visible, sterilize and dispose of the cloth. The design of the cloth mask should ensure that they are fastened securely under the chin and cover the entire nose. The drape should be hemmed. When sewing, it is necessary to place the seams outside the mouth and nose area.

If you want to help to spread this appeal, or to start the production, contact us on email: inka.teschinska@tul.cz