TLDR; full description below jump down
- General information: CDC: Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 see also The Atlantic: The Real Reason To Wear A Mask
- Read the warning and instructions for use. Make sure to machine wash (hot) and machine dry (hot) your masks before first use/wear.
- For every mask you buy, we'll donate a mask to a person in need; we've donated over 45,000 masks so far. Track our efforts in this public spreadsheet.
- Made in U.S.A. / Made in Seattle
- To simply donate to our efforts and not receive a mask, please see our DONATION ONLY page. Note: not tax-deductible.
- Two sizes: Small/Medium and Medium/Large. Click for more on sizing.
- Comfortable non-elastic stretch ear loops.
- Clever, customizable nose bridge slot that allows you to replace the metal piece that conforms the mask to your nose.
- Two layers of pre-shrunk 65% polyester / 35% cotton blend fabric. Note: these masks are not made from medical grade materials.
- We are accepting bulk orders from healthcare and essential businesses: firstname.lastname@example.org
- We've posted our mask pattern + video instruction so you can make it at home.
- For the safety of our crew, no returns, exchanges or repairs of masks are accepted. More info.
- We know you care about our safety at the Seattle factory as much as we do. Here's some of the safety precautions we've been taking.
Our Reusable Cloth Face Mask is designed to be simple so we can manufacture as many as possible. It also has a few thoughtful features, such as comfortable, non-elastic yet stretchy and conforming ear loops and a bendable nose bridge. It’s made out of two layers of 65% polyester / 35% cotton blend fabric and is meant to be machine washed (hot) and machine dried (hot).
If you are an essential worker, volunteer, non-profit, clinic, or shelter and would like to request no-charge mask(s), please email@example.com and we will add you to our list; we will provide you with a time estimate of when we can fulfill your mask order.
If you are with a hospital, institution or business with essential workers who would like to order a large / bulk quantity of masks, please firstname.lastname@example.org with the desired quantity. Bulk pricing is available.
We may occasionally “sell out” of the option to order “Give” or “Buy” Reusable Cloth Face Masks; we don’t want to accept more “Give a mask” orders than we can fulfill and our capacity may shift based on how many masks we need to make for hospitals and essential businesses.
Comfortable Ear Loops
Everyone at TOM BIHN wears our Reusable Cloth Face Masks all day while we’re at work. We know what it’s like to wear a mask all day; comfort — especially around the ears — is important. The fabric we’re using for our ear loops is the most comfortable option we’ve found, and it’s also durable — more comfortable and more durable than the elastic we tested, yet still stretchy enough to fit faces and ears of various shapes and sizes.
Bendable Nose Bridge w/removable conforming piece
We’ve added a fabric slot over the nose bridge; your mask will come with a cut length of twisty-tie material that you can insert into the slot and use to conform your mask over your nose. We determined that the first component on a mask most likely to fail after repeated machine washing and drying is the bendable, metal nose piece; by making that piece removable and replaceable on our masks, we’ve increased the longevity of the mask and have allowed you to replace that part if/when it does fail at little to no cost (most of us have extra twisty-ties at home… you know, the things produce comes bundled in or bakery bags are tied with.)
Please note that the piece of twisty-tie material we’ll include with your mask is cut slightly long; you can fold the long edges on the outside of the nose bridge slot, or trim the excess length of the twisty-tie so that it disappears inside of the slot (ours hasn’t fallen out yet). We machine wash and machine dry our masks with the twisty-tie material still inserted; no issues so far, and again, when there is an issue, it’s easily replaceable.
You can wear your Reusable Cloth Face Mask with the nose bridge slot facing outwards or inwards; choose one or the other, because that will help you know which side of the mask is “in” and which side is “out” (you don’t want to put the “out” side against your face!)
Beyond those thoughtful features listed above, this mask is intended to be as simple as possible so we can manufacture as many as possible. Don’t expect it to be high-tech or the Synik of mask designs.
To determine which size you need, take a flat ruler and place it next to your nose. Measure from the bridge of your nose to the point of your chin.
Choose Small/Medium if you measure LESS than 4.5” / 115mm
Based on feedback from bulk orders, donation orders, and individual customers, we estimate that 70% of people will prefer the Original size.
Choose Medium/Large if you measure MORE than 4.5” / 115mm and above
Based on feedback from bulk orders, donation orders, and individual customers, we estimate that 30% of people will prefer the Large size.
If you have facial hair, you'll probably want the Large.
Darcy (bridge of nose to point of chin: 4.25") and Ben (bridge of nose to point of chin: 5") can wear either size; if given a choice, Darcy would choose Small/Medium and Ben would choose Medium/Large
If the comfortable stretch ear loops feel a little tight initially, please take off the mask and try stretching the ear loops several times with your hands; this should effectively stretch the ear loops enough to provide a comfortable fit. The loops will also stretch over time to conform to your ears.
If the ear loops seem a bit long, simply knot them to shorten the length.
So, why not offer even more sizes and options? The demand for cloth face masks right now is huge; our focus is on manufacturing as many masks as we can and, thanks to your help, donating as many face masks as we can. Offering more sizes and colors slows down our production and shipping efficiency by a considerable degree. Once there's more cloth face masks out in the world, we will be able to offer more colors, sizes, and even different designs.
We’ve chosen to make our mask with two layers of a 65% polyester / 35% cotton blend fabric. Note: this is not medical grade fabric. We have personally found it to be plenty breathable for walking and hiking uphill at a quick pace.
Our incredible sewing crew — the most talented crew on the planet, if we may brag for a moment — had to put their perfectionism aside so we could make as many masks as possible for the hospitals. It took a lot of convincing that every stitch needn’t be aesthetically impeccable; it needed to be strong, mostly straight, do the job a stitch does, and that’s it. That’s all to say — if you see what you think is ever-so-slightly “off” stitching that doesn’t impact the utility of the mask, we ask you to perceive it as a symbol of our crew’s work ethic.
Care Instructions, No Returns & Exchanges, Limited Guarantee Applies
For the health and safety of our crew, we can’t accept returns, repairs or exchanges for/of these masks. Any issue with materials or workmanship on these masks will be evident immediately; beyond your immediate inspection of the mask upon its arrival, the mask is not covered under our Lifetime Guarantee.
Machine wash (hot water) and machine dry (high heat). Do not microwave or put in the oven.
We don't have any bleach so we haven't been able to test whether our masks hold up to repeated bleaching. We do know that repeated bleaching can weaken poly/cotton fabrics; however, we don't know how many bleaching cycles it takes for that to become an issue.
We also have not experimented much with ironing these masks; they may only be able to take low heat.
Warnings and Instructions For Use
We include one paper version of these Warnings and Instructions For Use with each shipment of Reusable Cloth Face Masks. If you need more copies of the Warnings and Instructions For Use to distribute with masks that you are providing to others, please download this PDF and print additional copies on your home printer.
These guidelines are based on this FDA document; the guidelines may be subject to change. Please refer to the FDA website for the most up-to-date information.
Enclosed Face Masks are NOT Intended to Provide Liquid Barrier Protection
This mask is not a surgical device or a respirator and should not be used as a substitute for either of these devices.
Not for use in any surgical setting or where significant exposure to liquid, bodily or other hazardous fluids, may be expected.
Not for use in a clinical setting where the infection risk level through inhalation exposure is high.
Not for use in the presence of high intensity heat source or flammable gas.
65% Polyester/35% Cotton Note: These masks are not made of medical grade material
For adult use only. Machine wash (hot) and machine dry (high heat) these masks prior to first wear. Wash routinely depending on the frequency of use. Do not microwave. Do not put in the oven.
Use of this mask is intended to be an addition to and not in substitution of all other measures recommended for the prevention of communicable diseases.
If unsure, consult your personal physician before wearing.
When washed and dried, secure the clean mask to your face to cover both your nose and mouth.
WARNING: Gaps between the mask and your face, or a loose fitting mask, will reduce the effectiveness of the mask. Once secured, refrain from touching the mask and your face in order to adjust its fit. Any hand contact with your face, or the mask itself once donned, can increase your risk of contracting or communicating an infectious disease.
Our mask is not the least expensive option out there. It’s up to you to determine if it’s worth the price. Some of you will ask why it’s more expensive. Our business model is unusual: we are designer, manufacturer, and direct retailer and our entire company shares the same 16,000 square feet in Seattle. Our starting wage is 15-20% above what is required by the city of Seattle (the highest in the U.S.), and it’s been that way for some years. We’re not trying to say we’re great and we don’t think we’re special or anything; we’re just explaining why our mask costs more.
Some of you may also wonder why our mask is so inexpensive; since the CDC updated their guidelines to advise that anyone who chooses to wear a cloth face mask can and that it could slow the spread of COVID-19, our mission has been to get as many cloth face masks out into the world as we can. Our goal has been a price that’s low enough to be accessible by many while still ensuring our business can pay its wages, benefits, rent, and other expenses.
We’ve built a small amount of padding into the price of our mask to cover contingency expenses such as increases in the cost of materials, slowdowns in efficiency due to key personnel unable to work, expenses related to increasing safety long-term such as installing permanent new hand-washing stations, and possible unforeseen issues. Any surplus at the end of our efforts to manufacture face masks will be used to donate more masks and divided amongst the TOM BIHN employees who worked onsite as essential workers while we have been manufacturing masks and not making bags.
Shipping Options and Costs
We will pride ourselves on fast shipping. However, many carriers including USPS and UPS are experiencing high volumes of packages and some shipments may be delayed in transit due to circumstances outside of our control.
We are only shipping Reusable Cloth Face Masks at this time; if you'd like to order bags, please place a separate order. Your order for bags will be held for you and shipped when businesses in Seattle re-open.
USPS First Class Mail $4 (for up to 20 masks)
USPS Priority Mail $8 (for up to 30 masks)
USPS Priority Mail to Hawaii & Alaska $10 (for up to 30 masks)
UPS Ground $10
UPS 3 Day Select, 2nd Day Air, and Next Day Air shipping options are available at checkout.
USPS First Class International is $14 (for up to 20 masks)
Things We’ve Learned
In the two weeks we’ve been making masks, we’ve learned a lot. Our very first estimate (as mentioned in this news article) was based on a mask design quite different from the mask we now offer. We costed that mask based on making samples out of cotton fabric, not realizing that the specified material would be different, and as it turned out, quite difficult and time-consuming for us to cut, sew, and package due to the particular way that our factory is optimized for efficiency making backpacks and other bags. That was a painful experience because a standard we hold ourselves to is to make every effort to underpromise and overdeliver; our first estimate was the other way around.
Painful experiences are often the best learning experiences, as we’ve found in the decades we’ve been in business. We used what we learned to develop and master the design of our Reusable Cloth Face Mask — the past two weeks have been about brainstorming ways to increase efficiency, all while ensuring our commitments to our crew’s safety and the time devoted to those efforts also increases.
All of this is, in part, why it’s taken us so long to offer this mask to you guys, our customers: we needed to increase efficiency so we could make masks for you in addition to our bulk orders and the masks we’re giving away at no charge and we needed to be sure about our costing.
Here’s our pattern + instructions
Tom is currently self-isolating at home. He continues to design masks and bags in his garage workshop. Here's a quick video he made that shares some tips you may or may not already know on making masks faster:
Free DIY Sew or No-Sew Mask Options
We want you to buy our Reusable Cloth Face Mask because you want to, not because you think you need this particular mask. It’s our ethical duty to share various sources for making your own DIY mask at home; a few sources are listed below, but please note that we have not vetted, researched, or attempted to make these masks ourselves and cannot vouch for these options or guarantee or predict any results or outcomes.
If you have a neighbor or family member who will sew a mask just for you, that could also be a good option. We believe making sure everyone who wants to wear a cloth face mask has a cloth face mask will be a joint effort between companies like ours and the many talented and generous home sewers across the country.
CDC: Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 (includes DIY mask methods, sew and no-sew)
T-Shirt Ninja Method (note: fold the remaining t-shirt material hanging below your face into the part covering your mouth and it becomes two plys.)
Bags in the Wild!
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