CDC Spec Washable Reusable Cloth Face Mask

Saddleback Leather is a leather company based in Fort Worth, Texas USA that is professionally manufacturing the CDC’s Reusable Face Masks according to the specifications the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has on their website. Be careful to only buy face masks made with 2 layers of 100% cotton cloth. Though a cloth face mask looks nice, it will not be protecting you or others if it's not cotton. 

Disclaimer: Listen closely if you are the kind of person who blowdries their hair while in the bathtub. We are not saying that this mask will keep you from getting COVID-19 or any other illness. The CDC designed these reusable cloth face masks to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus by making it less likely that you will cause someone else to get sick from you. They are protective, but because these CDC Spec face masks are not perfectly sealed around your face like an N95 face mask, nor can the material filter out the tiny .1 micron sized Coronavirus particles, you can still breathe particles through it and get sick. The CDC recommends the best material to make a face mask out of is 2 layers of tightly woven 100% cotton fabric, and that’s why we followed their instructions.

If there's ever a time to buy the goods your neighbor is making, it's now. Your neighbor needs work and if he sells his goods, then they will be able to pay for the goods or services your company offers. If a neighbor's yard has weeds and stickers in it, then eventually yours will too. If your neighbor's yard is healthy then yours will be healthier too. Please consider supporting your neighbors and buy all the products you can from someone making in Canada, the US or Mexico. Creating demand from within is the greatest way to get our economy strong again.

Particularly here, we are manufacturing reusable face masks and isolation gowns. There are literally boatloads of very photogenic​ Chinese face masks crossing the Pacific Ocean right now. Some are good quality and protective, but a lot of them will fall apart sooner and are not as protective. That's been my experience most Chinese made goods I've bought. ​Resist the urge to buy for low price or convenience. For when your life may depend on it, don't try to save a dime. ​There are a lot of great quality protective 2 layer cotton masks, not just ours, being made in North America​. Buy some of those. By the way, the Chinese people are beautiful. The Communist Chinese government, in my opinion, is horribly oppressive and evil in so many ways.

To order quantities of reusable cloth face masks under 400 pieces, click here. For larger orders, contact us at ppe@saddlebackleather.com so we can get you a better price. We have a truck coming up from our factory to Texas each week and should have availability now or in a few days. 

Common Face Mask Questions and Answers

How to Pick a Great Face Mask, Reusable or Disposable

Pros and Cons of Tie Behind or Elastic Ear Loop Face Masks. Which to choose.

Face Mask Materials: What materials to use to make your own face mask.

How Long is a Reusable or Disposable Face Mask Effective

How People Disinfect or Clean Their Disposable or Reusable Face Masks

Ties vs. Elastic Ear Loops - Which to buy? A HUGE difference.

 

I initially made two different face mask prototypes; one with elastic ear loops and one that ties behind the neck and head and I tested them myself and with others. I quickly dropped the elastic ear loop version and continued with the ties. This is what I learned. Watch our video about this here

Ear Loop Cloth Face Masks - Cons

Elastic ear loop cloth face mask and earrings

  • Pulled my ears forward so I looked like a monkey
  • Became very uncomfortable within about 30 minutes
  • Poofs out on most people’s cheeks so you’re sucking in and blowing out aerosolized air through the sides of the mask instead of through the 2 layers of filtering cotton
  • Doesn’t fit big heads or fat faces or skinnylittle ones. I’m no pituitary giant or anything and it didn’t fit mine well.
  • Gets caught on earrings
  • Nowhere to stash when not in use 
  • If I’ve had it on a lot publicly, I don’t want to touch it on the outside, even when I’m alone.
  • Elastic doesn’t last as long as the mask through washes
  • Can’t be used in many hospitals
  • Not good for one eared men and women

Ear Loop Cloth Face Masks - Pros

  • Easier to manufacture
  • Cheaper to manufacture
  • Put on in two seconds and take off in one
  • More selection

Tie on cloth face mask - Cons

  • Takes longer to tie on
  • Takes longer to remove
  • Costs more to manufacture
  • Takes longer to manufacture
  • Not as much selection

Tie on cloth face mask - Pros

  • Perfect fit on skinny and fat face types
  • Perfect fit for all head sizes big and small
  • Perfect fit for big hair southern bells or dreadlocked Jamaicans
  • Comfortable for hours
  • Protective, flush on the cheeks fit
  • Doesn’t flair out ears
  • Hangs below chin or behind the neck when not needed
  • Fast to put back on when around neck
  • Can be used as an eye mask for naps 
  • Can be used as a “King David” type sling shot in a pinch. 

On this page, we’ll answer your questions as if you were a 5th grader (no offense if you are a 5th grader. We like 5th graders):

  • Why Wear a Face Mask?
  • Can farts spread Coronavirus?
  • What does Coronavirus COVID-19 mean?
  • How to extend the use of face masks and kill the virus?
  • Which reusable mask should you buy? Tie or ear loop?
  • How to make your glasses not fog up when wearing a face mask?
  • How protective is a face mask?Can the Coronavirus be spread through other bodily fluids?
  • How long does the Coronavirus live on surfaces?
  • How to make
  • your own reusable face mask?

We are manufacturing the reusable face masks at our leather factory, Old Mexico Manufacturing, in Central Mexico. Since we own the factory, we made the decision to stop the manufacture of our really cool leather briefcases and backpacks and start manufacturing much needed Personal Protective Equipment for the front line medical staff. We also make reusable isolation gowns, reusable hair covers and reusable shoe and boot covers too. Some call the CDC’s mask a Civil Face Masks, but we refer to them as the CDC Spec Face Masks.

reusable face mask kissing

 

Why Wear Face Masks in Public?

The main reason they want us to wear masks when we go out is, just in case we have the virus and don’t know it, we don't get other people sick. The second is to protect ourselves from catching it. If you want to geek out on that or are having trouble sleeping, read this study from the National Insititute of Health. The second is to protect ourselves from catching it. I read that these masks and surgical/procedure masks stop about 35% of droplets that are forced through, but 35% of something is better than 100% of nothing. And a lot of floating microbes have to be sucked through without being caught in the pores of the cotton fibers.

The main way the Coronavirus gets passed around is by going from one person’s lungs into another person’s lungs. It is a respiratory disease. It’s actually called a version of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). All it takes is for an infected person to exhale. That shoots the virus into the air. Once it's in the air, it can float around for about 3 hours. And then some healthy person walks by and breathes it in and sucks one of those virus droplets into their lungs and now that person is sick. The big deal is when someone coughs or sneezes or clears their throat. That really gets the virus filled droplets out into the air. You’re like an aerosol can spraying it into the air. But if you wear a face mask, it stops a lot of the fine droplets from getting into the air. 

leather face masks Saddleback Leather

Can Farts Spread Coronavirus?

How contagious is the Coronavirus? You know how when someone has garlic breath or they fart and you smell it from a little ways away? Well, you’re smelling the particles in the air that came out of that person’s lungs or hiney. When you smell a fart, what actually happened is the guilty person aerosolized poo particles into the air and those particles landed in your nose, lungs and probably on your tongue too.

Recently, some poor sap was tasked with studying COVID patient’s poop and he found that 55% of sick patients had the virus present in their poo. Therefore, one doctor stated it is likely that the virus can be released into the air through farts and then breathed into the lungs. Logically, the transmission of the virus is far worse in nudist colonies because they aren’t wearing pants (butt masks) to filter and slow down the virus from getting into the air. It’s that contagious.

So, if we put a face mask over our mouth and wear pants with underwear, then we’re less likely to shoot the virus out into the air for others to breathe in. And that’s why we should wear face masks in public.

What does Coronavirus COVID-19 mean?


COVID-19 does not stand for Chinese Originated Viral Infectious Disease just because it was started in Wuhan, China. It is an acronym for COronaVIrus Disease of 2019. This new type of coronavirus was named by the World Health Organization (WHO) on February 11, 2020. It is a new (novel) kind of coronavirus disease that causes serious lung problems or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The Avian Flu or “Bird Flu” back in 2003 was the original SARS. So technically, scientists call this one SARS-CoV-2.

How to extend the use of a face mask?

Though some of these techniques could slightly diminish the percentage of filtration, it's better than not wearing one. Remember that the three enemies of the Coronavirus are heat, wind and dryness. The virus has a little envelope around it to protect it, but once that gel-like fat layer has dried out or cracked, then the virus deactivates. So, whatever can help deteriorate that fat layer will help. 

Here is our list of 8 ways to prolong the use of your disposable or reusable face mask.

  1. Aerosolizing Hydrogen Peroxide onto them. 
  2. UV Light Radiation kills the virus and also bed bugs. Did you know people bring their own UV light wands to hotels to disinfect the sheets?
  3. Heat kills this Coronavirus at 132 degrees. Put PPE's into a dry sauna, hot hot room with a wood stove, oven on low heat, hit with a blowdryer or leave them in the trunk of your car for a few warm days.
  4. Time - The Coronavirus deactivates after about 24 hours on porous materials like leather, hair, carpet, cloth and face masks. I'd store them away for 48 hours just to be safe. 
  5. Air Movement - Put your face mask out in the open air for a day or two. Don't leave it in a bag or office with minimal air movement.
  6. Washing - If you buy one of our professionally manufactured CDC Spec cotton face masks, then just wash and dry cycles will take care of all of the virus.
  7. Shake it - The virus is super contagious because it doesn't really stick to or burrow into anything. It's very passive. You may not get all of the virus off your face mask, but start walking and shake it behind you violently to get some of the microbes off.
  8. Hold it out the car window - Again, you may not get all of them, but you can get a lot of them off since they just don't really stick to things. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives strategies during face mask shortages. here.

CDC's Reusable Face Mask spec

How long can a face mask be used? How long is a medical mask effective?

How well and long a face mask filters and protects depends on a lot of factors. Remember, the air will come into your mouth and nose through the path of least resistance. The more the pores of your face mask are more clogged up, the more the air will be sucked in around the edges of the mask unfiltered. Here is a list of 7 things that take away the effectiveness of a disposable face mask. Watch the video here. 

  1. Talkie Tina - are you one of those incessant talkers or good listeners? Warning: Talking too much may be hazardous to your health when wearing a face mask.
  2. Humidity levels - are you living in Colorado or Houston?
  3. Breathing rate - are you exercising or sitting still?
  4. Nasal discharge - for obvious reasons.
  5. Moisture - Did you wash or let your disposable mask get rained on?
  6. Dusty air - Do you live in a dry dusty area. The dust will clog the pores.
  7. Pressure - Do not crush or press the face mask's material. In doing so you are closing the pores.
  8. Covered or not - Doctors now use washable reusable masks over the top of their N95's like a goalie in front of a goalie to make them last longer. 

Which Reusable Face Mask is the best one to buy?

Buying the right face mask

Whichever cloth face mask you choose, make sure it checks all of the following boxes.

5 Characteristics of a Great Reusable Face Mask:

  • Great fit - If you have too fat, wide or skinny of a face, then you're going to want a face mask that ties behind the head. Elastic ear loops may be too tight and pull your ears forward or too loose and make gaps between the face mask and your cheeks and chin. You want the face mask to lay flush against your skin without much of a gap. 
  • Cotton - Not a polyester/cotton blend or some sort of stretchy fabric. Cotton filters are better for filtering and breathing easily
  • Breathability - Not too much fabric but definitely a good mount. You want two layers of tightly woven cotton fabric. Someone may have three layers, but you've got to be able to breathe comfortably through it. If there is much of a restriction, the air will suck in from around the edges instead of pulling air through the cotton to be filtered. Air follows the path of least resistance.
  • Washable - You want to be able to wash it without it shrinking too much or losing it's shape. Also, be careful with the elastic that it doesn't dry out and crack in a short time.
  • Ties - Make sure the ties are at least 18 to 20 inches long. If you buy some and give one to a friend who has a big head or big hair, then you're going to want to have a little more length.

Great fitting Reusable face mask

How to not fog up glasses while wearing a face mask? 

Glasses fogging up when wearing a face mask is a big problem for billions of people because the moist air you exhale generally goes out through the path of least resistance, which is in the spaces to the right and left sides of your nose. Coincidently, each lens is now like a landing strip for all of that humid foggy air. So, here's one hack that surgeons use to fix that problem and you can read the official report here if you're having trouble sleeping. 

Wash your glasses with soapy water immediately before wearing the mask. Just rinse them off without touching them BUT LET THEM AIR DRY. That's the trick. Let them air dry. Then lightly wipe them with a soft cloth or tissue. That should fix the problem. If you're in a hurry then dry them softly by dabbing them with tissue and then wipe them gently. Or you could junkyard it and spit on each lens like you would with your snorkeling mask. The soap trick also works for leaving love notes on the bathroom mirror. When it fogs up, it doesn't fog up where you wrote with your the finger that you touched the dry bar of soap with.

 

Can the Coronavirus be spread through other bodily fluids? 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a Question and Answer section on their site that talks about these things. There is not enough data to know for sure, but here is some good sound advice:

  • Blood: SARS-CoV-2 RNA has been found in blood, but they're unsure if the virus in that form is infectious. Probably just a good idea to just say away from other people's blood. 
  • Urine, Throw up, breast milk and semen: The National Institute of Health isn't sure, so just to be safe, don't play in a sick person's vomit or urine. but the others are worth the risk.
  • Tears: The American Academy of Ophthalmology said that “ocular secretions” of one COVID-19 patient who also had pink eye, had the coronavirus, but it hasn't been found in the tears of other COVID-19 patients.
  • Sweat: There are no cases of the virus spreading by or found in sweat. 

How protective are the different types of face masks available on the market? 

There are several types of face masks you can buy. If it's coming from China, then there's a good chance you're just breathing through the equivalent of a paper towel. Who cares what the package says. 

PAPR - The Granddaddy of them all. The Powered Air Purifying Respirators are as good as it gets. Great for investigating alien crash sites and post apocalypse chemical warfare sites. The person is completely sealed in and super purified air comes in from outside.

PAPR reusable face mask

N95 Respirators - I'll sum up what the FDA wrote all about these face masks here. This is not just a face mask, it's a beast. It blocks 95% of really small particles down to 0.3 microns and you have to be trained to wear one. No facial hair allowed . They can get hot in there unless it has an exhale valve on it. There are different models. These are tested by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). These are for medical workers right now and not for the hoi polloi.

n95 reusable face mask medical

KN95 - Chinese versions of the N95. A friend of mine had their Chinese batch tested at MIT and they called them KN71's.

kn95 trash face mask

Surgical/Procedure - Loose fitting to keep the medic from getting germs onto the patient. Fluid resistant to protect the wearer from getting a bad taste in their mouth from squirting blood or other surprises. Also, blocks a lot of the larger droplets. Cleared by the FDA. Not especially good at blocking small particles. From what I'm reading, it seems to be more of a disposable version of the Reusable CDC Spec Face Mask than anything else.

reusable procedure surgical face mask

CDC's Reusable Cotton Face Mask - This is what we are professionally manufacturing at our leather factory. I've read that they filter about 35% of virus particles or microbes. They get caught in the pores and crevices of porous materials like cotton, carpet, wood, leather, wood and cardboard. If you want to make your own, continue down the page or go to this link at the CDC to get the patterns and instructions. 

CDC Spec Reusable cloth face mask

Prison Face Mask - This type of mask is reusable too. Not protective against viruses, but great for keeping cannibals from eating people or prisoners from spitting and biting. Washable with a firehose. 

reusable face mask hannibal lector

Bed Sheet Face Mask - This reusable face mask idea is your only hope for if you're just not able to get ahold of a mask.

sheet head face mask 

 

The CDC recommends wearing a cloth face mask in public to help stop this virus. That and social distancing is what they're really hoping, yet they are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). but if you have the Coronavirus, but don't have any symptoms, then it'll be easy for you to spread it to others unless you are wearing a mask. I always thought it was a little odd when I saw people in other countries wearing surgical face masks, but now I understand. 

Cotton face masks can be made from household items like t-shirts, sheets or pillow cases or made at home from common raw materials for next to nothing. If you don't have a sewing machine, below is a model you can make or you can get a needle and thread and junkyard it. But it'll work. And you can even make some more for neighbors and health care workers and first responders. 

Don't put a face mask on any young children under age 2 or anyone who is unable to remove the mask without help. Little ones chew on them. Actually, we're working on a reusable children's face mask right now.

These cotton reusable face masks that the CDC recommends are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators, so don't do any surgeries with them.  Those are critical medical supplies that have to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.

How often should one wash their cloth face mask? 

Yes. They should regularly be washed, but you can also leave them in the trunk of your hot car or out on your porch for a few days to neutralize any virus that may be on there. We recommend that you have 4 or 5 reusable face masks so you don't make a bad decision by reusing one that is not clean. 

How does one safely clean a cloth face mask?

A trip through the washer and dryer cycle with soap should do the trick to clean a reusable face mask. 

How does one safely remove a used cloth face mask?

Take off the mask near a sink. Turn the water and then start removing it. Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth when taking off the face mask. And then wash your hands immediately before touching anything else.

CDC's Specifications to make your own Homemade Reusable Cloth Face Mask

Sewn Cloth Face Mask

Materials

  • Two 10”x6” rectangles of cotton fabric
  • Two 18" to 20" strips of cloth or pieces of string for the ties or two 6" rubber bands or hair ties for the elastic.
  • Needle and thread (or bobby pin)
  • Pair of scissors, box cutter or a knife.
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread.

How to do it

1. Cut two 10"x6" rectangles out of cotton fabric. Use tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets. And old concert T-shirt fabric will work in a pinch. Stack the two rectangles; you will sew the mask as if it was a single piece of fabric.

reusable cloth face mask cover

 

2. Fold over the long sides one quarter inch and sew the hem. Then fold the two layers of fabric over a half inch along the short left and right sides and stitch down the edge.

stitching pattern for CDC cloth face mask

 

3. Slide a 6 inch length of 1/8-inch wide elastic through the wider hems on the sides of the face mask. These will be the elastic ear loops. You can use a screwdriver or knitting needle to thread it through. Tie the ends tight. OR if you're making a face mask that ties, just stitch 4 18" - 20" strips individually to each corner of the rectangle to act as ties. If you don't have elastic, then use hair ties or elastic headbands. For the ties, you can also use strings.

elastic ear loops reusable mask

 

4. If you're doing the elastic ear loops, then you can tuck the knots into the hem where you tied the two ends of elastic together. If the elastic is too long and loose on around your ears, then you can tie the elastic loop with a little knot. Then sew the fabric to the elastic so it doesn't slip.

The diagram displays a completed face covering, in which the knots of the elastic strings are tucked inside the left and right hems of the mask and are no longer visible. The cloth is slightly gathered on its left and right sides, and additional stitching is added to the four corners of the gathered cloth rectangle, at the points where the cloth and the elastic or string overlap in these corners.

 

This is CDC’s recommendation for face masks and which ones to use based on who you are.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/face-masks.html

This article talks about what the FDA says about conserving face masks and which ones to use.

https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/personal-protective-equipment-infection-control/faqs-shortages-surgical-masks-and-gowns

 

The COVID-19 Masks are not Coronavirus Proof. 

The purpose is not just for you to not pick up droplets and microbes down your throat and up your nose, but for you not to get other people sick since it often takes a couple of weeks to show symptoms.

Works as a comfortable eye cover for sleepy medical professionals. They should never use the same one that could have virus on it. But use a clean one for an eye mask.  

 

 

Other types of fabric or cloth face masks you can make to protect even better than cotton.  

The top 8 best filtering fabrics to make a face mask from. 

Studies put these materials in order of how well they filter. This does not include mechanic's disposable hand towels that recently came out as an excellent filter.

  1. Tea towel
  2. Vacuum cleaner bag filter
  3. Cotton mix fabric
  4. 100% cotton T-shirt
  5. Antimicrobial pillowcase
  6. Regular pillowcase
  7. Scarf
  8. Linen

Other studies showed that quilter's cotton filters out a lot of microbes, especially tight weaves with thicker threads, like batik. Masks with cotton outer layers and flannel inner layers performed well too. You can also take one of those paperish plasticky polypropylene shopping bags and cut it up and put in in between the layers of your mask. It's washable but should be air-dried to last longer.

If you would like to learn how to disinfect leather and other surfaces around the house and office, read our How To Disinfect Leather instructional.