As the novel coronavirus pandemic surges on, the demand for face masks has some retailers scrambling to make more — and sometimes, finding a mask that's actually in stock and ready to be shipped is tricky. Medical-grade surgical masks are in tight supply as healthcare workers on the frontlines in hospitals and clinics are facing a shortage of supplies; while these surgical masks and N95 respirators are designed for a single-use, many doctors, nurses, and essential staff are reusing them anyway.
This is why the Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams has urged the general public to stop buying PPE. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that N95's are the most effective in protecting those treating infected patients, but for those who are not in a medical setting, they're actually rendered mostly ineffective without a fit test. All this being said, it makes more sense for you and your family to source cloth-based face masks for longterm use instead.
Should I be wearing a face mask outside?
The short answer? Yes. The CDC recommends that everyone wear fabric face coverings when they go out in public, with an exception for those with prohibitive medical issues and children under the age of two. The SARS-CoV-2 virus travels in small respiratory liquid droplets that we exhale when we are talking, sneezing, and coughing; many who are sick and are asymptomatic can spread COVID-19 unconsciously while they are out running errands. In a pinch, you may choose to cover up with a scarf or even a bandana; but many retailers have created cloth-based masks that emulate the structure of medical-grade options.
To prevent that, properly made cloth masks can catch the droplets that we spray unknowingly, and mounting research has established that cloth-based face coverings can provide to entire communities. It's thought that preventing asymptomatic people from heading outside without a mask or covering helped to prevent more than 66,000 new infections from occurring in New York City in April alone, according to a study published in the journal PNAS. And while experts are still studying how effectively cloth-based masks filter the air around you, scientists believe a barrier between your nose, mouth and the air around you may reduce the amount of virus you're exposed to — if you're wearing it correctly, that is.
Can I buy a fabric face mask?
If you're unable to sew or aren't in the mood for crafts, there are many manufacturers and sites are selling their own brand of masks online. As you are surfing through retailers on the web, be aware that there are currently no specific guidelines or regulations that say a brand is CDC-approved to be effective against the coronavirus. Still, the fiber scientists in the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Textiles Lab say there are important factors you can look out for when browsing:
If the masks are made out of fabric, make sure it's 100% woven cotton
If you want extra protection, it should have a non-woven interface to filter contaminants, and something to help it fit better around the nose (like a metal piece on the inside)
Make sure it's machine washable for reuse
Make sure it's readily available, as some suppliers are delayed on deliveries
You can look for a company that's donating towards a cause that's important to you
Where to buy a fabric face mask:
There are more than 45 retailers on this list currently shipping masks out to customers; some may be temporarily on back order due to delayed manufacturing processes during the pandemic. We're continually updating with more options as they become available to us. If you're looking for a mask for your child, check out our shopping guide for kids here; and if you're spending lots of time outside this summer, a lightweight option might suit you best.
There are a slew of shop owners on Etsy who are selling cloth face masks, but styles, colors, and designs vary, so make sure you're paying close attention to the description on the seller's site.
These masks are made with cotton and lined with two layers of non-woven interfacing; Amanda Perna, formerly of Project Runway, helped our experts design our own DIY sew mask guide here at Good Housekeeping. The brand has also committed to donating masks to medical workers on behalf of their clients; the added bonus is that these come in some really colorful designs. One mask is $25.
This twinning moment is a must-have for every dog walker! The pup bandana comes in two different sizes for different breeds, and the mask itself is made with three layers of a cotton blend. Plus, the fun prints on these masks are accompanied by adjustable ear loops and a nose clip to match. You can choose from two different printsright now.
Custom Ink makes masks that are a single-ply blend of 95% cotton and 5% spandex. They promise a breathable product that has been minimally handled by human touch. You can even customize your own design. They sell in group packs as low as 12 for $30. Super affordable!
The company that makes your business cards created their own cloth masks. Theirs have a built in "Replaceable Filter System" with a 100% cotton inner layer and adjustable straps. Vistaprint is donating 10% of mask sales to support small businesses. Each mask costs $18.
Old Navy has released a line of playful face masks for kids and adults that are extremely affordable. Their 3-ply woven cotton masks are $12.50 for five. Old Navy is donating 50,000 masks to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Meanwhile, Gap Inc. pledges to supply millions of PPE to frontline healthcare workers.
Designed to make working out while wearing a face mask (yes, you need to!) much easier, the team at Under Armour have been busy taking pre-orders for multiple shipments of this ultra popular mask. The latest shipment is due to hit mail boxes in early September.
Another option for those who are spending more time being active outside than running errands inside, Reebok's face mask is equipped with ear loops that stretch around your ears for easy fit. There's two layers of recycled polyester used on the masks' front, which makes this mask more breathable than others.
The brand donates 10% of each purchase of their "Human" mask pack to the ACLU (already raising $600K thus far). Everlane's cotton fronts and Lyrca-infused ear loops end up making these masks feel more like your favorite t-shirt than anything else.
Leave it to the masters of basics to create a face mask that's both performance-enhanced and quite simple at the same time. Hanes' face mask wicks moisture easily thanks to a 100% nylon finish.
During this COVID crisis, the rainbow has become a hopeful symbol for many kids all over the world. It heeds the adage, "After every storm comes a rainbow." Uncommon Goods used that message as inspiration to create their cotton masks. The art was designed by children themselves, and 100% of the profits will go towards NYC Health and Hospitals. You can order a pair of masks (two different designs) for $25.
Armed with 3-D knitting technology and an ultra-light fabric, Rothy's is taking the same approach to comfort in their shoes up to our face with this washable mask. The brand releases masks in waves and batches, and says it'll continue to evolve the design as the pandemic unfolds.
This vintage clothing store based in Brooklyn has stylish African-inspired masks made of cotton. Their ear loops are made of a fabric lining for comfort. For every 8 masks purchased, 50 are donated to laundry, grocery store, hospital, and transit workers in New York City. Adult masks are $25 while kid masks are $15.
Purple's mask comes in three different sizes (including large and extra-large options) . It also uses a special polymer (rather than elastic) to create it's ear loops, so it won't feel extra tight across your skin.
If you're looking for a face covering to wear to work or a special event, this men's wear brand has crafted fashion-forward options that are made with non-woven polypropylene. Plus, there's a washable filter expertly hidden away within the sleek face covering.
Science icon Bill Nye has created a collection of cloth-based masks (infused with polyester, making them a snug, comfy option) that any self-proclaimed geek will love. AIRBAND's products promise to stay form-fitting for up to 50 washes and come equipped with a nose bar for a secure fit — plus, Nye will donate his proceeds to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
If you're on the hunt for disposable, single-use medical masks rather than cloth-based face coverings, try sourcing a few manufactured options from MediPop. They come in sterile packs of 5, and they can be immediately disposed of after use.
Known for their bags, Scout has released a new line of masks designed with their signature patterns. They are made from 100% pre-washed cotton with flat elastic ear bands. The masks also come with a slit for a disposable filter. A portion of all of their proceeds will go to support the Georgetown University Hospital Pediatric Oncology Family Relief Fund. Each mask is $11.
These are absolutely beautiful masks; it's no wonder they're on backorder right now. But sign up for their restock alert so you can get them whenever they become available. These masks are handmade by a Black-owned business and come with a pocket for a filter. Each one is $20 and 25% of the proceeds go to the Feeding America Foundation.
Avocado Mattress, one of our top bedding brands, is making masks out of certified-organic cotton that are machine washable. These masks aren't made with plastic, as they tie behind the head with cloth straps. Avocado sells them in 4 and 8 packs, and the company claims they are selling them at cost, not for profit.
These beautiful masks come in 20 different designs. Handmade in Brooklyn by a Black-owned business. Each mask is made of 100% cotton and are machine washable. They are made to order at $20 each.
This beanie-making brand has consulted medical professionals as well as tested and refined their mask designs. They sell single-use masks ($10 each) that can be worn over medical grade PPE as well as reusable cotton surgical masks ($15 each) for adults and kids. They also have a BOGO program and 50% of their net profits are donated to the fight against pediatric cancer.
Known for their K-Beauty products, Lapcos has expanded their line with face masks that promise to reduce skin irritation for those with friction issues during longterm use. The brand has also donated proceeds from mask sales to the New York City-based Ali Forney Center, which helps house homeless LGBTQ youths.
Casetify's masks are made with breathable cotton fabric. They are washable and fitted with a filter that has been crafted with non-woven materials. The company has pledged to donate 10,000 masks to DirectRelief, a nonprofit dedicated to improving "the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies – without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay". If you buy one reusable mask ($15), one surgical mask will be donated to a healthcare worker in need.
Sports lovers may not be able to see their teams on the court for a while, but at least they can still support in spirit with a mask from the NBA Store. Their masks are 100% cotton with elastic closures. All proceeds will be donated to Feeding America and Second Harvest Canada. They are also donating one mask for each mask purchased. You can grab one for $14.99 each.
This brand has earned approval from the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (a division of the CDC), and this mask has been classified as N95, meaning it may filter up to 95% of particles if worn correctly. The mask comes with a set of removable filters, three in each set.
Equipped with adjustable ear loops, a nose clasp, and a carbon filter, PopSocket's foray into face masks are just as adorable as the phone grip many use to stylize their phones. You should feel good about getting a matching set, as $1 from your purchase will go to Doctors Without Borders.
For those with an endless sweet tooth, there's nothing better than showing off your love for candy with a colorful cloth-based mask featuring this emporiums' signature logo. With every purchase of a mask, the brand will donate $1 to pups and kittens at the Southampton Animal Shelter to help pets find their forever homes.
This manufacturer normally makes the scrubs that nurses and doctors wear in a clinical setting; their masks contain a water-resistant outer layer, and also are loaded with filters that can be replaced over time.
This fashion brand makes cotton masks with adjustable noses and DIY adjustable straps. They come in packs of three for $30. LA Apparel is using the money they make from purchases to donate masks to essential services and manufacture hospital gowns for health care workers.
Are you always adjusting your glasses to avoid mask fog? This mask might be for you: The manufacturers claim their designers kept this top of mind when making their mask, which is also equipped with an embedded nose bridge clip.
If you live in an area where humidity is an issue, you're going to want to pull a mask made with breathable material — and this silk option is a winner. Lined with cotton on the inside, the elastic ear loops are also made with silk, which might help ease the discomfort against skin if you're wearing it for hours on end.
This company was inspired by the classic bandana design and created 100% cotton, reversible masks. They even have a wire insert to better conform to your nose. Not only is this great for fit, it will help prevent any fogging on your glasses. Each mask is $25.
If you're looking for fun, nostalgic designs featuring Wonder Woman, Care Bears, Popeye, Betty Boop and more, MaskClub has got you covered. Literally. They have a subscription-based buy one, donate one program that benefits the First Responders Children’s Foundation. Their masks are actually made out of 100% polyester, but they are doubly layered for proper protection. Each mask is $13.99 or you can subscribe for $9.99 to get a new one each month.
A new workwear company that's developed two mask designs, Rendall Co's options feature: Two layers of woven cotton, a pocket to insert your own filters, and copper nose bands for a snug fit. They sell for $19 each, or $65 for a pack of four. For each mask you buy, they will donate an additional mask to essential workers and non-profits serving the homeless.
These adorable floral masks are treated with a blend of essential oils that the company claims is relaxing and refreshing. For each mask purchased ($15), Sue Rock Originals will give one mask to a survivor of domestic violence — one of the populations that has endured some of the most hardships during the pandemic. This company makes other designs as well (if you aren't into the florals), some of which are $20.
This Utah-based company makes masks out of 100% cotton with straps that tie around the head. They've partnered with a local cut-and-sew factory to support jobs in Salt Lake City. For each mask that is made, one will be given to a community member in need of PPE. They sell for $7 each.
This designer makes comfortable, breathable masks with a 100% cotton filter. They are made in the NYC garment district and for every $10 this company receives, a mask will be donated to communities in need, per the brand. Each mask is $15 dollars.
If you want to order face masks in bulk, Averill's is a great source. They are a uniform manufacturing company out of Los Angeles and they claim that they are able to produce tens of thousands per week. All the profits made from sales will go towards local hospitals. They sell them in assorted color packs of 12 ($5 per mask) and 500 ($4 per mask).
Noel Corbin is an experienced costume designer from Georgia who is using her talents to all sorts of fashionable face masks. Depending on the design, the prices range from $15 to $25.99. You can choose from various inspired prints like "Kente Ankara" and "Pineapple Ankara." She even crafts filters that are $8 each.
We like VIDA's masks because they come with adjustable straps as well as filters that can be (and should be) replaced every seven days. They can be worn by kids (ages 5 and up) and adults. Ten percent of their profits are going to support the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank and Food Bank NYC. One mask is $10.
Naturepedic is a mattress company that makes 100% organic cotton masks with adjustable straps. They emphasize that they are not making these masks for profit. They sell in 6-packs, $49 an order.
This fashion-forward scrub design company has released a face mask line that is just as stylish. Their product is manufactured with antimicrobial-finished scrub fabric so that the masks last longer. For each mask that is purchased, one will be donated to an organization in need including Baby2Baby, a nonprofit organization that provides children living in poverty with basic necessities. Adult and children's masks are sold in packs (five for $25).
This small company is makes reversible masks, some of which come with adjustable loops. The bonuses: they are breathable and waterproof. Nam & Ko is passionate about social justice and they are currently running a GoFundMe campaign to donate 1,099 masks, one for every life lost to police violence in 2019. They are giving these masks to street medics, protestors, and nonprofits in Black communities. Prices range from $18.50 to $24.50 depending on the design and they are also in the midst of creating an improved model.
The owners of this small sports brand quickly shifted their operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are now pumping out 2-ply washable cotton masks for $6.99 each. StringKing also makes disposable 3-layer face masks for $39.99 a box.
This fashion company has dozens of African-inspired prints to choose from. Each mask is made out of 100% cotton and one layer of allergen/pollen filter material. They sell for $22 a piece.
This luxury suit brand has made masks that will have you looking like a Mortal Kombat character. But judging from their specs, these masks seem to be effective and comfortable. This product optimizes breathability and features a pocket for interchangeable filters. Each one costs $29.99. They also have other designs that start at $16.99 a pop.
SwaddleDesigns is a baby blanket brand run by a registered nurse. They are currently manufacturing masks made of 2-layers of double-napped cotton flannel for extra protection. Each mask costs $9.99.
Their Essential Lifestyle Fashion Masks have two layers of cotton muslin as well as a filter made of non-woven material. Even though they are machine washable, they are meant to be tossed after a few uses. You can get all of their designs (five) for $28. With each purchase they will donate masks to organizations in need.
These cotton masks have designs featuring art from Billie Eilish, 2PAC, The Rolling Stones, and more. All of the net proceeds go to MUSICARES, an organization that provides critical assistance for music people in need. Each mask is $15.
Emilia George prides itself on using sustainable methods to craft their products. Their masks are made of 100% cupro, a cotton by-product that they claim is breathable. They are donating part of their inventory to daycare centers that serve children of essential workers. One mask is $10.
This company makes masks out of three layers of cotton with adjustable threads to fit for comfort. If something were to ever happen to the threads, you can even replace them. This website has a lot of how-to videos to help you out. Each mask is $9.
If you want to have an assortment of masks, Clare V., a handbag and accessory company, is shipping them off in packs of four. Theirs are made of 100% cotton from their deadstock fabric. Clare V. is also working to donate masks to frontline and essential workers. Buy a pack for $35 a pop.
This company sells masks and sanitizer for adults and kids. Their cotton/polyester variety is treated with silver nanoparticles which they claim has an antibacterial effect. The adult ones sell for $9.40 each, while the kids' masks are $7.40 each.
This Massachusetts brand has created 100% cotton masks with removable carbon filters. They are made by the Good Clothing company in Fall River, Mass. and their partner factories in New England. Purchasing these masks supports garment workers who are making PPE for medical professionals. One mask (with accompanying filter) costs $15.99.
Mr. Pink's offers cotton masks with adjustable straps and pockets for filters. You'll have to buy your own filters to insert. They come in really fun patterns, you can reverse them for another style, coming in at $34.99 each. If you're really into their designs, the higher price tag is worth it — especially since Mr. Pink is working hard at donating masks to healthcare workers.
Ilya is a fitness trainer, educator, and activist based in North Carolina who is offering face masks for adults and children at $10 each. The masks are made of breathable 3-ply cotton and some of them are reversible. Each are "handcrafted by an Black elderly woman with all profits going to support her during these times."
Your favorite store makes buying reusable masks for the whole family easy; there are both adult-sized options and really fun kids-sized colorful masks for just $2 each. You'll find about four prints in the Universal Thread and Cat & Jack line to shop now.
Bonrisu promises that their masks will ship three to four days after you order. Their masks are made of 100% cotton with adjustable straps and a pocket for an optional filter. For every mask that is purchased, Bonrisu will donate a mask to "support small businesses, essential workers and health care professionals on the front-lines, and those undeserved communities." Each mask is $18.
This clothing company is promising to give one free mask to anyone who requests one. If you are a medical care worker, you will get a medical PPE. If you are not, you will get a reusable cotton mask. This initiative is funded by donations. Request your mask here.
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