HEPA Vacuum Bag Mask

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Introduction: HEPA Vacuum Bag Mask

About: Tara McManus is a circus performer, costume designer and event producer.

HEPA Vacuum bags are a better filter than bandanna but not as good as a true N95 mask. Unfortunately, there is a global shortage of N95 masks so these are your second best option. The material can be tricky to work with, it has a blue papery outer layer and a white non woven layer that is like a tissue, its important to keep them together as you cut and sew. Be careful turning the material inside out because it can tear. Its best to keep stitch sizes large for this reason as well.

Sanitation is VERY important as you make these, the hospitals that are accepting homemade masks are sanitizing them but safety precautions should always be done in duplicate so act as if they are not going to be sanitized. Clean your sewing and cutting area, your tools and sewing machine with bleach or lysol. Make sure your hands are washed and protected with nitrile or latex gloves, wear a mask while you work. If you can designate a room for this, keep the room sterile, if you take breaks to eat or take off your mask, use another room. Don't let other people or animals into the sewing room.

This material and sewing pattern are not the easiest out there, for a more simple design you can make with home fabrics, check out https://www.deaconess.com/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask?fbclid=IwAR1H25JhviFlqeBjj-LEwCUCGNf-PbJcst4fHxcnXOThUqoTk6CVQ8cuyRM

Supplies

Expendable materials:

HEPA Vacuum bags

String or Elastic Paperclips

Any Tape (electrical preferred)

Construction materials:

Pattern print out (pdf supplied in imgs)

Sewing machine

Scissors

ruler

cardboard

binder clips & magnets (alternative to pins which make holes)

PPE & Sanitizing materials:

Lysol wipes/spray bleach

hand sanitizer or soap

N95

mask latex or nitrile gloves

Step 1: Step 1: Cut Open Bag

HEPA Vacuum bags have a blue paper like layer and a white non woven tissue like layer, be sure to keep these together as you work (these layers never get seperated) and don't crinkle the materials too much!

-The top and bottom of the bag are rolled and glued, unroll a layer and then cut straight through the seam. There is a seam down the center, cut straight through that too.

-There is also a cardboard guard around the vacuum hole, tear that cardboard off.

Step 2: Step 2: Place and Cut the Pattern

For the best air filtering results, don't use pins or cut any notches!

*Tip: If you have magnets, they are a great pin alternative, place one on top of the pattern and one below the layers of the bag material. Keep them about a half inch away from the edge so they don't stick to your scissors as you cut.

- Once you have spread out the bag, fold it so you have 4 layers of material that fit the pattern, use binder clips to keep the folds perfect.

Step 3: Step 3: Sew Center Seams

-Using binder clips, clip the center seams together making 2 mask shapes. Just like sewing a garment, clip the faces together, this is the blue side of the bag material.

*Tip: Remember that the straight line on the pattern is the chin, that's your point of reference when identifying the seam.

- Once they are sewn together, notch the curved part of the seam (careful not to cut the seam, thread snippers are nice and small for this task).

Step 4: Step 4: Sandwich Lining, Outer and Nose Insert

Now you have 2 sewn mask shapes, one will be the lining and one will be the face.

- Press both seams to the left (the photo shows the seam open but to the side is better for filtering) by hand (no iron needed) and turn one inside out. The mask shape with a white exterior is your lining, this is where you'll attach the nose bridge.

- The nose bridge is a paperclip opened up, shown in the photos. Place a strip of electrical or other tape across the nose part of the center seam about 1/2" down from the edge. Place the paperclip on top of the tape and put a second piece of tape over that so it's sandwiched in tape (to prevent edges poking out)

- Insert the white lining mask piece inside the blue exterior mask piece. The nose piece should be sandwiched between the layers and the mask will be blue inside and out.

Step 5: Step 5: Make Strings or Ear Elastics

If you have elastic, cut 2 pieces 9.5" long for a loop

If you have string, cut 4 pieces 14" long for ties

Tip for cutting many pieces of string or elastic: cut a rectangle of cardboard the length of the material, wrap the cardboard in the material and then cut the ends. Voila, you cut many pieces in the right length at the same time!

Step 6: Step 6: Clip in String or Elastic

-Take your paper pattern and mark the 4 spots for string/elastic insertion

- Insert string/elastic with a generous 1/2" inside, use binder clips to hold them in place

*Tip: be consistent with the placement of clips in the order you plan on feeding it through your machine so as you sew, the clip is always below the foot/needle.

Step 7: Step 7: Topstitch Outer Seam and Trim

Run the outer seam through your machine with 1/4" seam allowance and be careful around the nose guard! As you get to the string/elastic, remove the binder clip and use a finger to keep the material in pace. Chances are when the mask is all done, the 4 layers of blue and white material will have shifted and may not look perfect, if this matters to you, trim the layers (use caution around the strings!) to make it look even.

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    34 Comments

    0
    nanfulcher
    nanfulcher

    1 year ago

    **URGENT!!** There is
    misleading information out there about the appropriateness of vacuum bags for
    this purpose. There is a 2013 study (link below) that shows that VACUUM BAGS
    ARE UNSUITABLE for homemade masks because the airflow is so severely
    restricted.... Very little air actually goes through the vacuum bag under
    normal respiratory force. In the context of a homemade mask, most of the air
    would be forced out around the gaps in the mask, which would defeat the entire
    purpose of having a mask. Following their evaluation of vacuum bag material in
    a closed system, the authors of the study concluded "the bag’s stiffness
    and thickness created a high pressure drop across the material, rendering it
    unsuitable for a face mask." PLEASE look carefully over all the data
    presented in this study of homemade masks. People like you are choosing HEPA vacuum bag
    material based on specifications for particle exclusion. That may fit a
    non-expert's idea of what constitutes a suitable barrier, but that's only one
    aspect of filter design... you also have to take air flow into consideration for a face mask. Unless
    you can cite credible scientific data that the material you're using has
    appropriate airflow, you should consider retracting this design. As you know,
    there are serious implications for poorly designed masks, as they are intended
    as a last resort barrier. It is urgent that you please read the data presented
    here in its entirety and understand the implications of using vacuum bag material in your
    design. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258525804_Testing_the_Efficacy_of_Homemade_Masks_Would_They_Protect_in_an_Influenza_Pandemic

    0
    studionelle81
    studionelle81

    Reply 1 year ago

    He sites a report that discusses fiberglass being present in HEPA bags. Hover ever it is a very old report and Hoover has confirmed fiberglass is no longer a material present in their bag systems.The report has no info nation about the issue of air flow. I would suggest if you are using the mask as filtering system it may not be the best idea as it will become uncomfortable to breath with. However if you are using it as a alternative to a sugigal style mask to stop you spreading the virus if you are worried about passing it on, then that is perfectly fine as the surgical style masks are designed to allow air flow through the sides and bottom of the mask.

    0
    tmc manus
    tmc manus

    Reply 1 year ago

    this is better than nothing

    0
    evanmattwilliams
    evanmattwilliams

    Reply 1 year ago

    It`s all pointless anyways.
    Anything covering your mouth can prevent droplet spread ... Covid-19 does not spread as an aerosol except in certain conditions, such as removing a breathing tube.




    0
    Karmagal
    Karmagal

    1 year ago

    HEPA CAUTION: be careful, so far all the HEPA and air filters (including vacuum cleaner bags and air furnace/home HVAC) have spun glass (aka fiberglass) in them which is fine for house furnace filtering but probably not good in front of your face with pressure from breathing... (cut particles of fiberglass not good). A few threads talked about non-fiberglass stuff from (3M) maker but honestly I'm seeing a Prop 65 warning on those (CA's warning for fiberglass) so waiting to hear back from manufacturer... BE CAREFUL NOT TO CREATE LUNG ISSUES WITH FIBERGLASS, research safer filters if necessary!

    0
    rdbjr2008
    rdbjr2008

    Reply 1 year ago

    I don’t believe vacuum bags are fiberglass. Please state your source of accurate information.

    0
    Karmagal
    Karmagal

    Reply 1 year ago

    Am finding various refs on both sides of the fence now that articles are being done on this. I'm sharing one with specific manufacturers so as to be more useful:

    https://www.ezvacuum.com/ezvacs-answers/does-vacuu...
    Do Vacuum Bags have fiberglass?
    4/3/2020 5:42 PM
    Ever since some websites, news channels and DIY guys started posting about making masks out of vacuum bags, we are getting this question a lot.
    We tried reaching out to manufacturers about it and so far following companies have confirmed that none of their paper or synthetic cloth bags have any fiber glass in it:
    Envirocare Tech DVC
    Kirby Oreck
    Royal Hoover
    Vac America

    (response posted 4/15, 10pm pst, check list above for updates)

    0
    jmartinez661
    jmartinez661

    1 year ago

    Hi. I'm a respiratory therapist. My coworkers (nurses, doctors, x-ray techs, CNAs, Housekeepers) are at the frontlines taking care of Covid 19 patients. I want to make these masks for us. Do you know if HEPA filter vacuum bags have glass or fiberglass in them? I keep seeing people post comments about that and I'm not sure. I don't wanna make these and hand them out if they do. Thanks....

    0
    bonissima919101
    bonissima919101

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hello, I am using HEPA replacement filters for MEDIHEALER CPAP HEP, filter #X002GHO0QB.
    They seem small but fit exactly right for the style of mask I made for my family. Good luck, stay healthy please.

    1586058981653287263794227340673.jpg
    0
    rdbjr2008
    rdbjr2008

    Reply 1 year ago

    Do you have instructions for the masks your making? What size are CPAP filters you use. Thanks.

    0
    Rnmcvicker
    Rnmcvicker

    Reply 1 year ago

    Did you get a response yet?

    0
    tgbnjiolm
    tgbnjiolm

    1 year ago on Introduction

    I just called Hoover Vacuum cleaner company to ask about using their vacuum bag material as filter in face mask: they said DON'T! The filters are safe for what they are designed for: in vacuum cleaners but ARE NOT SAFE FOR USE IN FACE MASKS!

    0
    GardenGranny
    GardenGranny

    1 year ago

    I just Googled what to use as a filter for my DIY masks. The first thing that came up was the carcinogenic potential from using vacuum bags or furnace filters! The next article said to use vacuum bags. Some articles said use coffee filters or paper towels. Others said that 2 layers of cotton fabric is effective. Of course, all of them are effective "to a degree". I don't expect to be getting hospital-level protection, but now I'm thinking making the masks at all is either a waste of time or more dangerous to one's health due to what's used as filtration! SIGH!

    0
    violae1975
    violae1975

    Reply 1 year ago

    Pleass don't use hepa or regular vacuum bags there not made to breath through. There made with small particles of glass like fiber glass and you will destroy your lungs in a month..PLEASE DON'T USE.

    0
    tmc manus
    tmc manus

    Reply 1 year ago

    it's better than nothing, you can also absorb the virus through your eyes so KEEP YOUR DISTANCE! If your not a medical professional, you should be quarantined and keeping social distance. Only leave the house if you have to and wear anything over your mouth while your out.

    0
    mail20002000de
    mail20002000de

    Tip 1 year ago

    There has been concern regarding the choice of material (e.g. filter fleece containing glass or mineral fibers).
    I haven't found other recommendations so here goes: it should be possible to burn a sample of the material in question when placed in a crucible or folded in aluminium foil and heated with a torch. If there's any residue / ash, that'd be a sign for glass or mineral fiber content and invalidate the material for use in masks.

    Any thoughts on that?

    0
    DaMarkn
    DaMarkn

    Question 1 year ago on Step 7

    Has anyone been able to breath while wearing this mask?

    0
    Victoriat81
    Victoriat81

    1 year ago

    The pattern printout you supply is different from the one you have pictured in the instructions. Please advise.