You can sew your own facial mask.
We showed that a hand-fashioned mask can provide a good fit and a measurable level of protection from a challenge aerosol. Problems remain. When made by naive users, this mask may be less effective because of variations in material, assembly, facial structure, cultural practices, and handling. … Research is needed to determine the minimal level of protection needed when resources are not available for N95 air-purifying respirators since the pandemic threat from H5N1 and other possible influenza strains will exist for the foreseeable future.Dato VM, Hostler D, Hahn ME. Simple Respiratory Mask. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2006;12(6):1033-1034. doi:10.3201/eid1206.051468.
Emphasis mine. Yes, we all knew this was coming.
For the mask to be most effective, it needs to fit snugly around the sides of the face. You see people wearing masks with a gap along their cheeks, and yeah, that mask is doing nothing.
But I thought masks were not effective?
That’s not 100% accurate. So yes, virus will go through a typical mask like sand through a screen door. But if you throw a bunch of sand at a screen door at the same time, not all of the sand will get through. It will protects you from body fluids, expelled during coughing and sneezing, and it will protect people around you if the coughing and sneezing is happening to you.
How do I clean the cloth masks after use?
Boil them. 5 minutes ought to do it.
UPDATE: To clarify, we are not advocating usage of cloth masks instead of N95 respirators. Cloth masks are an emergency measure, and hopefully we will never be in the position where our health care workers are reduced to using them instead of the proper protection. HOWEVER, if you want to make yourself a cloth mask, you are free to do so.