How To Make A Homemade Face Mask With Hair Ties, According To The CDC

mbg Editorial Assistant By Abby Moore
mbg Editorial Assistant
Abby Moore is an Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine.
Woman Tying Her Hair in a Ponytailq

Image by Leandro Crespi / Stocksy

While the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are tiredness, fever, and dry cough, it is possible to have the virus for two to 14 days before developing those symptoms. This is referred to as being asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic, and it's the same reason the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends wearing cloth face masks in public settings.

Last week, mbg shared how to make a face mask at home with or without a sewing machine. But now, with an even higher demand for masks, here's a more in-depth tutorial on how to make a homemade mask using only hair ties and a square piece of fabric, based on recommendations from the CDC.


  • 2 hair ties 
  • One 20-by-20-inch piece of fabric (ideally, a scarf or bandanna)
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  1. Fold fabric from the top and then from the bottom, so they meet in the middle.
  2. Repeat the first step with the smaller folds. You should now have one long rectangle.
  3. Wrap one hair tie around each end of the rectangle (about 6 inches apart).
  4. Fold both sides into the middle.
  5. Use the hair ties as ear loops. Make sure it's fitted properly so that your nose and mouth are covered. 

If you don't have a scarf or bandanna lying around, the CDC recommends using an old T-shirt or towel and cutting it into a 20-by-20-inch square. To see it demonstrated by the surgeon general, watch this video.

What to keep in mind. 

Wearing cloth coverings, combined with social distancing and hand hygiene, can help slow the spread of COVID-19. But the CDC wants us to keep these tips in mind when wearing homemade masks:

  • In order for the mask to serve its purpose, it should cover the nose and mouth snugly, but comfortably. 
  • Never put a cloth face covering on children under the age of 2 and anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Regularly wash your face mask, either in the washing machine or with hot water and soap. 
  • Always wash your hands when putting on or removing a face mask, and avoid touching other parts of your face.
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Bottom line.

"The whole reason we recommend masks is to possibly prevent spread from people who are asymptomatic to other people,” says board-certified physician Bindiya Gandhi, M.D.

If you have to leave the house and go to the grocery store, pharmacy, or other crowded places like your running trail, don't forget your mask. 

Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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