Jun 05, 2020 8:00 AM

Author: Jen Brass Jenkins

Factoid of how to clean cloth face mask covers

Homemade Cloth Face Mask Covers: When They Help & How to Keep Them Sterile

Are you wondering if homemade face masks are a good idea? The CDC recommends that homemade cloth mask covers can help slow the spread of COVID-19 in a community. Mask covers can limit the spread of germs from the mask wearer to others by helping block large droplets from coughs and sneezes. 

Read the CDC's guidelines about wearing homemade or cloth face mask covers. 

Now Accepting Face Masks/Cover Donations!


Donate Homemade Face Mask Covers or Other PPE

Project Protect

U of U Health is also participating in ProjectProtect, a collaborative effort between University of Utah Health, Intermountain Healthcare, Latter-day Saint Charities, Utah non-profits, and volunteer sewers across the state. The project goal is to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our frontline caregivers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The collaboration is producing face shields, medical-grade masks, and reusable isolation gowns to provide our dedicated health care workers with the protection they deserve.

Learn more about ProjectProtect.

Face Mask Covers Dos & Don’ts


  • Don’t hoard clinical masks. Our health care workers need clinical masks to help take care of our community.
  • Don’t stop social distancing. A face mask will not completely protect you from the coronavirus. However, a homemade face mask cover can provide light protection and remind you not to touch your face. It also helps prevent the spread of germs from you to others.


  • Do donate homemade face mask covers, PPE equipment, safety glasses, hospital gowns, or other donations. Please do so following these guidelines.
  • Do wear a face mask cover if you have symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, shortness of breath, a new cough, and muscle aches.
  • Do wear a face mask cover if you are in a high-concentration area of COVID-19 cases.
  • Do wear a face mask cover to remind yourself not to touch your face and to help prevent spread of germs from droplets.
  • Do follow all the guidelines for proper use of a face mask cover.
  • Do wash your hands. Cleaning your hands is still your best protection against COVID-19.
Image showing different types of face masks and their uses
Types of face masks and uses

How to Make a Face Mask Cover

Face mask covers need to filter out particles but still be easy to breathe through. Experts recommend using 100 percent cotton fabrics or cotton blend fabrics. T-shirts and pillowcases are examples of cotton or cotton blend fabrics.

Face mask patterns. Download the pdf to get the full instructions.

How to Use a Face Mask Cover

To make sure your mask cover is sterile, you need to clean it properly. You also need to be careful how you put it on and take it off.

Instructions on how to clean and wear your face mask

Sewing & Receiving Homemade Cloth Face Mask Covers

If you are sewing face mask covers, be sure to sanitize your work station beforehand. Also, when you finish the covers, place them in paper bags and let them sit for three days before delivering.

How to sew and receive face masks: Sanitize your work station and place finished masks in paper bags for three days

When you receive a face mask cover, wash or disinfect it before wearing.

And—You Know the Drill—Wash Your Hands!

Remember that social (or physical) distancing, washing your hands, and staying home if you are sick are the best ways to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

Wearing and using homemade cloth face mask covers is another way you members can help support our health. As we work together as a community, we can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Want to Help?

Our community is our greatest asset, and whatever help you can give, we are truly grateful for.

Support Our Response

University of Utah Health recently partnered with Latter-day Saint Charities and Intermountain Healthcare to make five million masks. Read more about ProjectProtect.

Updated Jun. 5, 2020, with new information about donations of homemade face masks or face covers.

Revised Apr. 17, 2020, incorporating the launch of ProjectProtect.health.

Post originally published Apr. 3, 2020. Updated to reflect changes at U of U Health.

Jen Brass Jenkins

Marketing & Communications Department

Jen is the web content manager on the Interactive Marketing and Web Team. She manages projects and works with clinical services, departments, and colleges across University of Utah Health. She also writes and edits many, many things. Find her on Twitter @chrlichaz.

coronavirus face masks prevention

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