Pew Research/Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

Ten reuses for Covid masks

Not intended for hoarders

Jeffrey Denny
4 min readMar 11, 2022


Jeffrey Denny

Covid masks are here, there, and everywhere.

Masks on the coatrack. Masks in the car. Masks in the pockets of our jeans, jackets, pajamas and horrifying cargo pants.

Masks are in the bed but not for “Fifty Shades of Grey” purposes. They just fell out of our pajama pockets.

We have masks in our backpacks, bike and tennis bags, gym duffels, purses, handbags, and men’s European carryalls, i.e., purses. We have masks in a house with a mouse, a box with a fox, and a boat with a goat. Like on a yacht with Tom Brady.

I saw a squirrel parachute from a tree using a Covid mask and others using masks to build trampolines for their kids.

Some masks are still on people!

Masks are now the worst form of litter since Chick-fil-A garbage.

My internet research also revealed that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch floating landfill is no longer merely miles of bobbing plastic bottles. It’s now mostly Covid masks.

Bob Dylan has revised his classic protest song:

How many masks must a man have in hand/Before you call him a man?/How many seas must a Covid mask sail/Before they’re spit on the sand?/Yes, and how freakin’ long must face diapers be worn/Before they’re forever banned?/The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind/ The masks are blowin’ in the wind.

It’s long overdue to let the Covid masking go.

Covid is almost nearly somewhat pretty much maybe over. We laughed at Real American freedom-loving patriots who said all along Covid was a liberal science hoax, masks were suffocating our children, and vaccines were a needlessly deadly risk. Turns out, they were right. As President Donald Trump predicted two years ago, “It’s going to disappear. It’s disappearing.”

Now we can go back to preening our ugly mugs, neglecting facial skin care and oral hygiene, and worrying about spinach in our teeth. We’ll no longer have the wonderful benefits of the face-coverings that Afghan women must wear to avoid Taliban death.

Also, no more avoiding talkative acquaintances or ghoulish dates we ghosted because they didn’t recognize us with our masks.

Now we need to tell people we don’t like with full straight face, “Please, with all due respect, I don’t want to talk to you. Please go away and let me squeeze my costly Whole Foods avocados in peace.”

But what to do with our leftover Covid masks?

Ten suggestions:

1. Bring your pile of Covid masks to your next quilting bee.

Challenge your quilting besties to make a comforter that out-of-town visitors who will now descend will refuse to sleep under and get an AirBNB instead.

2. Use your pile of Covid masks to celebrate Covid ending.

Many Covid masks are made from petroleum products. Use them to fuel a giant backyard bonfire for friends and neighbors and try out the amazing barbeque recipes you perfected while alone during Covid.

The plastic taste of your brisket only means you care about putting Covid behind us.

3. Take your pile of Covid masks to a homeless shelter.

Shelters would be more than delighted to sew your discarded masks into urban tents rather than accept your money to help the homeless in the complicated ways they need.

4. Put your pile of Covid masks outside for nature to take its course.

Birds, squirrels, fox and other beloved wildlife endangered by greedy developers building unaffordable luxury housing can shred and use the masks as nesting material. Except for in your attic or by rats. In which case, you need to call a gentle exterminator notwithstanding the oxymoron.

5. Sell your pile of Covid masks.

You can make amazing money by selling whatever ridiculous crap you don’t want on your neighborhood listserv, Nextdoor, Craigslist, eBay, Etsy, etc.

Someone somewhere might even buy your broken Ikea bookshelves or 500-lb. Sony Trinitron TV that doesn’t get Hulu or Netflix.

6. Cook your pile of Covid masks.

The internet offers unlimited choices of quick and easy recipes for whatever you have.

Covid masks are 200% animal-free. While that’s mathematically impossible, it’s true and sounds great from a marketing perspective.

I recommend fricasseeing, sous vide, sautéing and air frying, and always plenty of salt and butter. And cheese.

Your kids will surely hieroglyphically text you even in your presence not using grammar, punctuation or syntax but translates as, “Mother, we must declare, this is quite toothsome; hearty accolades and encomium!”

7. Recycle your pile of Covid masks.

Someday they could become planet-friendly water bottles!

8. Contribute your pile of Covid masks to Build Back Better.

Target your contribution to rebuilding America’s infrastructure for the realities of climate change, for instance, rising seas.

With enough Covid masks the Army Corps of Engineers could construct the levees to protect coastal Florida millionaire condo owners!

9. Donate your pile of Covid masks to Covid-denying friends and family.

Just for the triggering fun to make next Thanksgiving more interesting.

10. Ignore your pile of Covid masks.

You’re not a hoarder! No shame! You just don’t know what to do with everything you acquired during Covid. Stuff your masks in the closet with the clothes you bought online and now don’t fit.

Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.



Jeffrey Denny

A Pullet Surprise-winning writer who always appreciates free chicken.