All Your Google ‘DIY How To' Questions Answered, From Masks to Toilet Paper

How to make a mask out of fabric? How to make hand sanitizer? We've got you covered.

You're stuck at home and you've run out of toilet paper. At the local supermarket, the shelves are bare. The pharmacy has been out of hand sanitizer for weeks. The corner store stocked masks for a minute, but now they're gone. Or perhaps you want to help by making masks for essential workers.

Whatever it is, you've been turning to Google to find out how to make it yourself. Google Trends has shown us the top "how to" questions for the U.S. for the last months. And we have all the DIY answers to your questions -- scroll down for videos and tutorials for everything from fabric masks to disinfectant spray.


The CDC is reconsidering its initial guidance that people do not have to wear masks unless they are sick. New research shows high rates of transmission from people who are infected but show no symptoms, CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said Monday, as the center reviews its policy on masks.

There are countless videos online that can help you learn to make your own cloth face mask to protect against the coronavirus, but there’s a lot more to it than you might think. We’ll walk you through how to make an easy no-sew mask and what you need to know about using a mask to stay safe.

That being said, masks are in short supply. Here are a few options for making your own masks out of fabric at home -- ranging from the "no sew" option, to hand-sewing, and finally a tutorial for people who may have a sewing machine at home. Be aware that fabric masks can still allow in water droplets, but will still act as some protection when going out for groceries.

Note: many fabric face mask tutorials require elastic. This New Yorker has some elastic hacks (think Muay Thai shorts or old bras), or make yours out of fabric straps.

Five easy no-sew ideas (use household items like scarves, staplers):

Sewing a fabric face mask with no sewing machine:

How to sew a medical face mask using a sewing machine (link to tutorial with fabric straps here):


To make hand sanitizer, you’ll need just two ingredients: aloe vera gel and isopropyl alcohol.

The gel is designed to help thicken the homemade sanitizer, but the type of isopropyl alcohol you’ll need to buy is extremely specific. It has to have a 99 percent concentration, as lower concentrations of alcohol won’t be sufficient to reach the 60 percent threshold that the CDC recommends for hand sanitizer.

Once you’ve purchased the two ingredients, you’ll need to put them into separate containers, and then mix them together. For the mixture to work, you’ll need to put one part aloe vera into the mix for every two parts of isopropyl alcohol.

Once that’s done, you’ll need to thoroughly mix the ingredients together until the mixture thickens up. As with many homemade products, there are some caveats that users will need to remember. For one, the homemade mixture won’t contain any chemicals designed to help moisturize skin, so using the homemade sanitizer could quickly dry out the skin on your hands.

Hand sanitizer is flying off shelves because of concerns over the coronavirus, but if you can’t find the substance at your local store, you can still make your own to help keep your hands clean until you can find it again. NBC 5's Charlie Wojciechowski explains how.


You can easily make disinfectant wipes with bleach, paper towels and a spare container. YouTube channel "Do It on a Dime" made a video showing how to make these wipes step-by-step. The wipes follow CDC guidelines.

Can't watch? Follow the steps below:

  • Take a sturdy roll of paper towels and cut it in half
  • Mix two cups of water with a tablespoon of bleach
  • Put the paper towels in an airtight container and pour the solution over
  • Let the surface sit for five minutes after disinfecting to ensure it's clean


While at least one top toilet paper maker assures Americans it is working "around the clock" to get the product back on supermarket shelves, some of us don't have time to wait. Here's a video on how to make your own toilet paper at home.

Can't find toilet paper anywhere? Follow these steps to make your own using items you may already have at home.

In case that's more work than you bargained for, here's a list of ideas for things you can use around the house as a toilet paper substitute. But many people around the world don't use toilet paper -- we've also included a video from a zero-waste family who simply use fabric cloths, and wash them in the washing machine.

  • Readily available soft papers like tissues, crepe paper, paper towels or baby wipes
  • Any other paper, but scrunch it up to soften it -- newspapers, magazines, old books, phone books. Just be careful -- don't flush materials that aren't toilet paper. Throw them in the trash or even safely burn them.
  • Fabric options -- handkerchiefs, old t-shirts or washcloths. After using, rinse off and then put in the wash.
  • Water -- wishing you got that apartment with the bidet? You can also rinse off with water, or take a shower.

A video from website The List on YouTube on different options if you run out of toilet paper:

How to transition to using fabric swatches instead of toilet paper:


Here is a recipe for a disinfectant spray, created from WHO guidelines.

  • 12 fluid ounces (1.5 cups) Isopropyl alcohol 99.8%
  • 1 tablespoon Hydrogen peroxide 3%
  • 2 teaspoons Glycerol 98%
  • 3 fluid ounces (6 tablespoons) Sterile distilled or boiled cold water

Mix the alcohol with the glycerol. The glycerol is to stop the alcohol from drying out your hands. Mix in hydrogen peroxide, then the distilled or boiled (then cooled) water. Put the solution into spray bottles. Disinfect away!

If you prefer to watch online, here is a range of different recipes from YouTuber Something's Cooking With Alpa:

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