Home-made masks are a useful measure for individuals to contain the spread of the virus.


True. Home-made masks do not stop you from getting the virus, but can reduce the risk of spreading it if you already have it.


Wearing a face mask, whether home-made or not, will not offer full protection to the wearer against COVID-19. For further information, also see this article: ‘Does Wearing A Facemask Stop You Getting COVID-19’.

However, wearing a mask can help you reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others. Recent studies have shown that a large proportion of carriers of the virus are ‘asymptomatic’, meaning many people may not show symptoms and therefore do not know that they carry the virus. The virus is assumed to mainly spread through water droplets. A mask can capture some of the droplets released by the carrier while coughing, sneezing or speaking. Surgical masks and N95 masks are currently critical resources for front-line health care workers and should be reserved for these high-risk groups. Wearing a home-made cloth mask can therefore be a simple precautionary step individuals take to not infect others – it will not protect the wearer from contracting it.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends ‘wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.’ The NHS has not offered any official guidance on the use of self-made cloth masks. The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 remains observing the personal hygiene and social distancing advice by the NHS. If self-made masks are used they must be washed regularly. Basic machine-washing is considered sufficient to kill the virus.


CDC: Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings, Especially in Areas of Significant Community-Based Transmission

CDC: Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19

Li R, Pei S, Chen B, et al. Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2). Science (New York, NY). 2020.

Rothe C, Schunk M, Sothmann P, et al. Transmission of 2019-nCoV Infection from an Asymptomatic Contact in Germany. The New England journal of medicine. 2020;382(10):970-971.

Origins of Claim


“Masks fundamentally prevent the transmission from you to others by sneezing, coughing but also breathing. And many people are most contagious before they start showing symptoms. So when we both have a face mask, I protect you, and you protect me and we are both safe.” 1:14-1:33