Blog,  Eco Beauty

The Ultimate Zero Waste Guide to Finding, Using, and Caring for Hankies

Welcome to the revitalization of #zerowastewednesday! Yes, when I first created this blog oh, two years ago, I was ready to post every Wednesday with a sustainability tip. And I think it’s time to get back to that. And now my followers can expect a post about zero waste on Wednesdays. So if you’re here about my writing and other creative pursuits, then you’ll know Wednesdays are now officially my day to talk about low waste.

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Why You Should Switch to Handkerchiefs

Okay, so I have to start with why the heck you should switch to reusable tissues. Besides making you look utterly dapper, they are a great way to reduce waste. They are easily washed and are easy to find.

Disposable tissues are often bleached and of course, they are single use. Plus, you can save money by using hankies instead. If you buy five hankies at a dollar a piece, you match the price of a box of tissues in about two to three months. Because fabric handkerchiefs can last a lifetime!

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How to Find Hankies
  • Antique and vintage shops always have baskets full of old and usually lovely hankies.
  • Thrift shops often have some mixed in with napkins or they may have them where you buy accessories.
  • Your older family and friends. It’s true! Put the call out there and you never know who might have a shoebox full of vintage hankies.
  • Online retailers.

Or make your own! It’s really easy to cut up some old t-shirts or use scraps of fabric. Just cut some 10 inches by 10 inches squares to recreate the perfect fabric handkerchief size.

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Ways to Use a Hanky
  1. To blow your nose! I know I’m a revolutionary here. But seriously, use it as you would a regular tissue when you have a cold.
  2. To dry your hands in the bathroom after washing them.
  3. As a cloth napkin! You can put it on your lap when you’re eating, to wrap food in, and buy pastries from the case.
  4. To remove makeup. This is especially helpful when you’re caught in the rain and your mascara is running down your face. You can now dab your eyes and wipe away makeup with super soft fabric.
  5. Wrap a gift in a vintage hanky.
  6. To clean up spills and other messes on the go.
  7. Drop them in front of a potential suitor to let them know you are interested in them.
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Caring for Vintage Handkerchiefs

Caring for hankies all comes down to the washing. I wash mine usually about once I week since I don’t use it too often. Obviously, when I’m sick or have allergies, I switch it out for a new one each day. I rotate between the five you see in all these pictures.

The first way I wash them is to simply put them in a delicates bag and throw them in with my regular wash. I always wash my clothes on cold. Then I hang them to dry.

If I’m under the weather, I will soak the handkerchiefs in HOT water with soap to kill any bacteria. Then rinse and hang to dry.

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It’s actually kind of funny to me that I wrote a blog post about this at all. Just seventy years ago, everyone used hankies. Now they are back in vogue. At least among the zero waste community.

I’ve even featured my plain white hanky in my post talking about my zero waste kit and what’s in my bag. I take a hanky with me everywhere! Whether it’s in my bag or in my pocket I’m almost never without one. I sometimes try to coordinate my hanky with my outfit. What about you? Do you use a fabric handkerchief instead of tissues?

Happy Day-

2 Comments

  • Anna

    My grandpa uses hankies. I bought him some a few years ago actually, but never really thought about using them myself. Something to think about, especially as you pointed out all the ways to use them it would make sense to have one, even if you only use it to clean up a mess on a table or to collect rubbish instead of using a kleenex.

    • Hayley Elizabeth

      I’m glad you connected with my post! I just want more people to consider using them. It can be seen as taboo and gross to but they really are just as effective and clean when you wash them. They are super convenient to have on hand. And your grandpa knows what’s up 😉 haha

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