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Sewing face masks and scrubs for NHS workers - anyone know the facts on this please?

(35 Posts)
Pinknbluene Sun 29-Mar-20 16:36:11

I keep seeing posts on sewing forums regarding sewing masks and scrubs for NHS workers. I also have seen replies that because the masks won’t be sterile, they won’t be any use.

Does anyone know the facts about this please? I have looked online but cannot find anything.

OP’s posts: |
Movingnot Sun 29-Mar-20 17:31:46

Do you think that if cotton masks were any good they might have got some made already?!

Absolute bullshit, do something else.

bellinisurge Sun 29-Mar-20 17:44:00

I'm a general prepper. There are better things to do with your time and sewing skills.

Even if you can fashion a make shift filter (I happen to have a spare cooker hood filter and I've seen those suggested cut up and used as insets) you need to change the whole thing so regularly - every 20 mins, I've seen- because of droplets from your breath/saliva and wash it on a high heat . And know how to use them properly on your face. And have a proper seal around the mask to avoid droplets getting in at the side.

Hand hygiene and social distancing is more effective.

Scythrop Sun 29-Mar-20 17:49:34

Agree with Movingnot. It’s happening in the US, where some hospitals are accepting/asking for them, but the masks are not ppe.


alittlecloudfloatinginthesky Sun 29-Mar-20 18:04:39

I've made a couple, largely because I have a sewing machine, a stash of fabric and craft materials, and am bored when not out at work (key worker, can't work from home).
It's an interesting exercise adapting a pattern to get a mask to fit nicely onto my face... but they really aren't PPE.

IpeartreeI Sun 29-Mar-20 18:06:48

If you wore one whilst painting, they'd probably work well enough to stop paint getting on your nose.

Wearing them to protect yourself against exposure to a virus is of no use and may even make things worse.

An NHS ENT surgeon has recently died of Coronavirus. Medics and nurses need proper PPE or expect more deaths.

Mrsmorton Sun 29-Mar-20 18:09:05

Hi OP. No help for your general question but just to let you know that almost nothing is sterile. When they process instruments for surgery, they manage to make them sterile by sucking the air out and heating them up to very high temperatures.

The gloves and masks that people use aren't sterile. They may have been sterilised at some point (sometimes by radiation) but as soon as they touch the air they're not sterile.

Truly sterile stuff is done by using vacuums and the like. The gloves that most medics use (less surgeons) are not sterile as they live in a box open to air.

Pinknbluene Sun 29-Mar-20 18:53:48

Where in my post did I actually say that I was considering making these?

Perhaps I may have been looking for the facts to point out to others not to waste their time...

Thanks for the answers that didn’t make the assumption that I was about to crack out the fabric and make a delivery of Sound of music styled scrubs with coordinating face masks!

OP’s posts: |
Mrsmorton Sun 29-Mar-20 19:15:58


CousinKrispy Sun 29-Mar-20 19:20:54

I'm glad you asked, OP, as I've seen loads of American sewing friends making these and have wondered if it was worth giving it a go.

abbey44 Sun 29-Mar-20 19:21:51

I've been wondering about this, as I've had a request come up on one of my whatsapp groups about making theatre hats - they've said they need to be made from fabrics that can be washed at 60 degrees and must be washed before sending to local A&E. is this just a waste of time and fabric then...?

trinity0097 Sun 29-Mar-20 19:24:16

My mum (75) made Dad (69) mask out of a Henry hoover bag for when he has to infrequently leave the house! He says it’s so effective at anything getting in he can’t breathe properly!!!

TTTs Sun 29-Mar-20 19:24:53

You have to change to change PPE between each patient

trappedsincesundaymorn Sun 29-Mar-20 19:31:08

Some sewing companies have been approached to do employers being one of them. There are strict rules in place concerning materials so we are waiting to see how it's implemented. I don't think they are putting requests out for home sewers to get involved though but I could be wrong on that.

Pinknbluene Sun 29-Mar-20 19:33:05

That’s funny, mask including the hoover itself would be genius!

OP’s posts: |
Pinknbluene Sun 29-Mar-20 19:35:23

...yes, loads of people on the American sewing forums saying that they are making them too.

OP’s posts: |
picklemewalnuts Sun 29-Mar-20 19:38:37

Two different professional sewing friends have been approached to make masks. Must be 100% cotton.

ErrolTheDragon Sun 29-Mar-20 19:39:52

There was another thread on which a nurse said hospitals couldn't accept homemade masks or any that anybody happened to have for whatever reason (even proper N95)

delilahbucket Sun 29-Mar-20 19:39:59

It's an American thing and not something suitable for our NHS staff. I wouldn't even bother making them to sell as online marketplaces are not allowing them to be sold. I had it suggested to me to make and sell them as I sew for a living anyway, but I can't work for free and I couldn't bring myself to profit from such circumstances.

withadivinebeatlesbaseline Sun 29-Mar-20 19:40:00

Scrubs would be useful so they can be washed and you can wear ‘clean’ clothes home. We have supplies in hospital but I think GP practices are struggling to get hold of them as they wouldn’t usually have them.
I am going to make some funky hats for us because it will stop me touching my fringe! It’s driving me nuts because it needs cutting!

ErrolTheDragon Sun 29-Mar-20 19:40:58

Professionals being requested to do it is obviously different, they'll presumably be working to a defined spec.

picklemewalnuts Sun 29-Mar-20 20:11:27

One friend is a small operation.
The other is more factory scale.
I'd assume it's some back up plan, or for medics to wear when the see non Covid patients.

bellinisurge Sun 29-Mar-20 21:41:48

Making period pants for women doctors, nurses etc would probably be more use.

Daffie19 Sun 29-Mar-20 21:47:20

I've seen these too on fb OP...
Definately not Ppe, plus they'd need to be disposable, and wouldn't offer much protection.

Nice idea though, maybe they would work for non medical reasons / uses.

Really12345 Sun 29-Mar-20 21:52:10

Scrubs might be useful though and theatre hats. Masks have to be tested but 100% cotton scrubs and theatre hats may well be useful to Go practices

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