Frequently asked questions
I make masks/want to start making masks where do I go?
Can I donate to UKMN?
I want to help - how do I join?
Do homemade masks stop the spread of Covid-19?
Yes! They work by trapping your breath, making it harder for you to pass on the virus to those around you if you do have it.
Click here for the science.
Do masks stop you breathing?
If you feel like you can't breathe while wearing a face mask, try a different style of mask, or a mask made out of more breathable materials (such as cotton).
My glasses keep fogging up, how do I stop that?
Soak your glasses in soapy water and allow to dry - this creates a thin layer that prevents your glasses from steaming up as much.
Wear your glasses slightly further down your nose, on top of the mask.
Use nose wires to improve the fit of your mask.
Use medical tape on the top edge of the mask, under your glasses.
Try a different style, or size of face mask. If you don't seem to be able to stop your glasses from fogging up, it could indicate that it just doesn't fit that well, leaving lots of gaps for unfiltered air to flow through.
My family won’t wear masks, how do I talk to them about this?
See our hints and tips section on how to ensure your mask fits correctly, and what is the best type of mask for you.
But masks hurt my nose.
Flexible wire in the top edge of a face mask can help improve fit and reduce irritation.
You may also want to consider a different style of mask, or different size.
Check out Face Masks 101 for more help choosing the right mask.
But masks hurt my ears.
You can also buy and make ear-savers and headbands with buttons on them.
If you wear glasses, you can fix buttons to the arms of your glasses using elastic bands, and hook the ear elastics onto those.
There are no masks available.
This is simply not true. One of our founders has literally hundreds in her house, right now.
How often should I change my mask ?
You may find that you have to change your mask every few hours if you are out and about for a long period of time.
How many masks do I need?
I’m healthy, should I still wear a mask?
What are the benefits of wearing a mask?
- Protects you from the virus (and other colds and infections!)
Protects your loved ones from the virus
Protects at risk individuals and communities
Reduces allergens breathed in - less hayfever!
Allows us to return to normal quicker
I have children - should I make them wear masks?
Children under two should not wear face masks, because it can pose a hazard.
Older children can wear a face mask, but this is not mandatory.
I can't afford to buy face masks
Never fear, there are lots of do-gooders out there, wanting to help you.
Check out and post in your local community mutual aid groups (often on facebook), and contact your local sewing groups.
You can also find links at:
Buy, Sell, Donate, Accept Face Masks UK
How to masks affect people with disabilities?
Try not to challenge people who aren't wearing a face mask unless you know them quite well - they may have valid reasons for choosing not to.
Some people may struggle to wear a face mask: people with sensory disorders such as autism; people with conditions such as asthma that already make breathing more difficult; and people with some mental illnesses, to name a few.
There are communication difficulties that come with wearing face masks. They make it harder to read and give facial expressions, which can be very important to people who are receiving care. They also completely prevent lip-reading, which seriously impacts people with hearing difficulties who rely on lip-reading as a form of communication.
In some cases, a person may politely ask you to remove your mask in order to make communication easier. If this happens, try to stay 2 metres apart, and remove your face mask while communicating. If you don't feel comfortable doing this, then write things down.
There are types of face mask out there that have clear panels which means that people can see your lips through the face mask. These are less common than opaque face masks, because they are harder to construct, and it can be harder to get the right materials. They also have a tendency to fog up.
If you would like to make communicator face-masks, check out this pattern for the "Happy Turtle" face mask with a clear panel.
If you are already making communicator face masks, and would like to share them, please add your details to:
UK Mask Network Database
Buy, Sell, Donate, Accept Face Masks UK
or get involved with local community organisations, including Big Community Sew and Community Mask Trees.