Homemade masks 70 percent effective, says Government’s Scientific Advisor

The government’s scientific advisor has issued a manual for homemade masks, saying that they are 70 percent effective in preventing coronavirus infection. 

Created On: Apr 1, 2020 13:39 IST
Homemade masks
Homemade masks

The central government’s principal scientific advisor on March 31, 2020 issued a detailed manual to prepare homemade masks using commonly available items such as t-shirts, old vests and handkerchiefs, saying that they are 70 percent effective in containing the spread of COVID-19.

The manual has recommended people to wear masks, especially those who are living in densely populated areas. The manual states that wearing of masks can lower the chances of coronavirus entering one’s respiratory system through the droplets left in the air by the infected person. 

The manual states that reducing the chances of inhaling the virus by wearing protective masks that are properly cleaned using soap, alcohol, water and exposure to heat and ultraviolet light can be significant for containing the virus spread. 

Government's Manual for Homemade Masks: Important Highlights

Double-layer masks, made from 100 percent cotton cloth, are around 70 percent as effective as a surgical mask to stop small particles from crossing through. The masks can protect against particles that are almost five times smaller than coronavirus. 

The 100 percent cotton material is breathable and can be easily found around the house in the form of old t-shirts and vests. The masks made from this material are reusable. 

The fabric, however, should be washed well and boiled for around 5 minutes before being used for making masks. The manual recommends adding salt to the water.

The manual, however, clarified that the reusable homemade masks only reduce the chance of inhaling the infected droplets that are still in the air and do not provide full protection.

The manual instructs that the homemade masks must be washed daily and exposed to heat. They should not be reused without washing. 


The manual on homemade masks aims to provide simple and best practices of making the masks that can be used and reused as protection against COVID-19. The manual will enable NGOs and individuals to make such masks thereby ensuring widespread adoption of masks across India. 

The manual revealed that analysis shows that if 50 percent of the population wears masks, only 50 percent would be infected by the virus. Hence, wearing of masks by more people may help in containing the coronavirus outbreak.

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