Historically, the handkerchief (hanky) was the charming companion for anyone urgently needing to wrangle a sneeze or blow a nose. In the mid-20th-century, disposable tissue paper became an alternative. Initially created to remove cold cream from women’s faces, the broader application of the tissue became evident when men started using their wives’ tissues to blow their noses.
Today there is no denying that the tissue has become the sneeze saver of choice for the masses. For many, the handkerchief is viewed as being old-fashioned. However, in recent years there has been a resurgence in retro trends. Beards are back, as are skinny ties, and the hanky business is experiencing a major uptick.
That’s trends for you. What was old-fashioned yesterday is now hip today.
Let’s talk about germs, baby.
Aside from being viewed as old-fashioned, the other big knock on the hanky is that it is unhygienic. At least when compared to a disposable tissue. But is there any truth to this widely held belief? Yes, and no.
To explain, let’s look at the examples that people think of.
The tissue is considered more hygienic because someone can blow their nose, contain the potentially germy parts inside the tissue and then throw it away. If they also wash their hands afterwards, then their risk of spreading germs to someone else is very remote.
Then there’s the hanky. People imagine reusing wet areas, touching wet parts with their hands, and then tossing it into their pocket or bag where the germs can easily spread to other items. That’s gross, right?
If the debate were just those two examples pitted against each other, the winner would easily be the tissue. But is that a fair comparison? Let’s look at another two examples.
Let’s get real
Disposing of tissues immediately is a nice thought but how often does that happen? People are busy. And trashcans are not always available. A more common example would be someone typing away at the keyboard, so enthralled with their work that they don’t want to get up to dispose of their tissues. So the tissue gets wadded up and put on the table.
It’s not hard to think of other real world examples. Someone is driving, or walking outside, or cycling, or taking an elevator. In many cases, a used tissue is going to end up in someone’s bag or pocket. Oh, and if you think hand cleaning is common in these instances, think again.
Now let’s return to the handkerchief. This time let’s imagine a hanky user that carries more than one at a time. Not only that but they fold it after use, presenting a new dry area each time. The hanky is also folded inwards before going into their pocket, so the germs remain trapped inside. When one hanky is used up, they pull out another one.
And when they get home their used hankies are added to the next wash, after which they are completely clean and hygienic once again. Just like a towel, or clothing, or underwear.
Now, which use case sounds more hygienic to you?
We’ve been asking the wrong question
It becomes clear that when talking about hygiene, it’s not so much the tool as it is how we use it. If you use tissues or a hanky properly, you’re going to be fine. Use them incorrectly, and it’s going to get a bit gross and potentially unhygienic.
The question is not “which product is more hygienic?” it is more like, “which habits are more hygienic?”
So the hanky’s unhygienic reputation is definitely overstated. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. The hanky has had a good run, but maybe it was time for an upgrade. Evolution. A page-turn. A HankyBook.
It’s a book. It’s a hanky. It’s a HankyBook.
The HankyBook is exactly what it sounds like. A hanky-sized book shape with a soft outer cover, inside of which are sewn individual “pages” made of ultra-soft, organic cotton. The HankyBook is more versatile and eye-catching than a normal hanky, making it handy for everything from sunglass cleaning to wiping up spilt drinks. It’s also much friendlier on the environment, especially compared to tissues.
But today we’re talking about hygiene, and that’s where the HandyBook really comes into its own. The multiple pages increase the dry real-estate for nose blowing while turning the page gives you a new dry surface to use.
You never have to worry again about touching germs because you only hold the outside cover, not the hanky pages inside. When the HankyBook is closed and slipped into your back pocket, the germs are completely locked in. Unable to spread to other surfaces. Not only that, when blowing your nose the thickness of the HankyBook prevents germs from spreading, something that happens quite often with a thin tissue.
The final verdict
When it comes to how to deal with your germs, the most important thing is not whether you use a hanky or tissues. It’s all about using good, hygienic habits to minimize the spread of germs. If you’ve never tried a hanky before, give it a chance. I bet you’ll be surprised.
Or better yet, if you really want to embrace cleanliness, try the versatile HankyBook. There is no better companion for sneezing fits and running noses.
Actually, there’s no better companion, period, as these 23 uses for the HankyBook clearly attest.
In this age of shameless marketing, people are more scrupulous as to claims of “greenness” or “eco-friendliness” on product packaging. As they should be! Transparency should be a quality all manufacturers should strive for. So why are HankyBooks good for the earth, you ask.
HankyBook is a reusable product, acting as a modern alternative to paper tissues. Those tissues of course come from trees, using up a large amount of water and chemicals in the process of making them. Most of the tissue paper used in this country is from virgin fiber, meaning it is not recycled but comes directly from trees cut down specifically to make them. Americans on average, go through about 50 pounds of tissue paper per person per year. About ten percent of that is made up of facial tissue.
Trees are a precious resource, not least because they act as nature’s own carbon storage. Transforming them to paper also uses a great deal of energy – all for something that is used once and then discarded. In fact, 80% of all products sold in the United States are used just one time and then thrown away.
The HankyBook seeks to counter this wastefulness at the core of our society by providing a reusable option you can keep using over and over again without creating waste.
HankyBooks are crafted from 100% certified organic cotton. This means no pesticides or insecticides are used in the growing of the cotton. Traditional cotton growing uses massive amounts of pesticide and insecticide – they are some of the most chemically treated crops in the world. Organic cotton production utilizes none of these harmful chemicals, for the well-being of the earth as well as the farmers growing it.
You can just feel the softness, can’t you?
Look for a forthcoming post explaining our process of making HankyBooks and the care that goes into insuring it’s all good for the Earth!
Once you’ve got your HankyBook, you want to make sure you get the most out of it. To help with that goal, here are 7 places you can keep your HankyBook for the best use…shoot back with your suggestions in the comments!
1) In Your Pocket or Purse
The HankyBook is very handy when you’re on the go – so carry it around in your pocket or your purse! The protective cover keeps your pockets clean and makes sure everything is sanitary – and the cool cover patterns may attract admiration rather than the grossed out looks a traditional handkerchief might.
2) In the Kitchen
“The kitchen?”, I hear you ask. Well, as you may have discovered by now, the HankyBook has a lot of uses. The absorbent pages will help pick up little spills or take off that steaming hot lid off the delicious soup you’ve just made. And of course, peeling onions tends to cause tearing, which clouds your vision a bit, and I for one am more comfortable seeing what I am doing when I work with a giant knife – wipe your eyes with your HankyBook…problem solved!
3) In the Car
Reading a book by author Michael Pollan recently, I was shocked to read that we now eat a fifth of our daily meals in the car! As sad as that is on some level, it is perhaps understandable for today’s busy city dweller.
Where we eat (and drink) tends to be prone to spills and messes. HankyBooks are good to have around when you spill your morning coffee on the dashboard or drop a ketchup-bleeding french fry on the passenger seat – no need to waste those disposable paper tissues they hand out everywhere.
4) On Your Desk
Most people spend their working days at a desk these days. If you’re like me and suffer from allergies, being indoors may not help very much and wiping the nose in specific seasons is a constant need. Keep your HankyBook at your desk and you won’t fill up your trash can everyday with disposable tissues. The colorful patterns will liven up your desk too and brighten up the work day.
5) Next to the Bed
When I’m sick, I blow my nose a lot. I used to get very frustrated at all the paper I was using – and the nasty “rednose” (as my wife calls it, not sure if that’s an official medical term at this point) is certainly familiar. The HankyBook never causes that, and it’s an effective replacement for paper tissues.
6) In Your Gym Bag
Going to work out? Take your HankyBook! If you keep one in your gym bag you won’t forget it. Keeping it with you while working out will reduce your reliance on those towels they have to wash in the hundreds every day – or at least, will reduce your need to wipe your nose on your sleeves as you exercise.
7) Under the Christmas Tree
Give a HankyBook as a present and you’ll make a friend for life! Getting someone to reduce their use of disposables in favor of a washable and reusable alternative will win you major karma points too, and the Earth will thank you. Make sure to wrap your present in newspaper or some other reclaimed wrapping.
Have better ideas? Let us know below the line!
“It’s 2016, why should I use a handkerchief?”
I hear this comment a lot. Many people point out their grandparents or parents used one, even that they grew up having to iron their parents hankies. But they fell out of favor. And fair enough, not everyone likes the idea.
But there most certainly is a place for handkerchiefs in the 21st century. Even more strongly, I think the HankyBook is just the right form for it.
The second half of the 20th century was a golden age for disposable goods. Mounds of waste built up in landfills. Our oceans filled with plastic and paper goods that were used once and then thrown away. Today, 80% of everything we buy is used once and then discarded, abandoned to an eternity of waste, occupying space with no purpose, poisoning land and water.
It doesn’t need to be that way.
We can choose not to cut down millions of trees every year for facial tissues. We can choose not to use thousands of tissues for our allergies and colds, buying case after case of mostly virgin fiber paper and throwing it away.
We can choose to abandon these wasteful ways and find ourselves in a culture than values sustainability over disposability, reusing over repurchasing, long term health over quick fixes, real solutions over hi-tech gambles.
Handkerchiefs fit into the conscious, sustainable way of life as naturally as composting, growing vegetables, and any other principle of the modern eco-friendly life. Our grandparents used them because they were a part of the culture, the way it was done. We can reclaim that part of our pasts and help the next generation live the right way, without wasting, without polluting, consciously and conveniently.
That’s why the handkerchief does belong to life, in 2016 and beyond.
Welcome! We’re so pleased you’re here!
We see that your hunt for the best and most convenient reusable products has led you to the HankyBook, here are some basic tips for taking care of yours so that you can get as much out of it as we do and help it last a long time.
HankyBooks do not require any special care. You just throw them in the wash with your laundry and on to the dryer (or handwash and air-dry – however you like) just like you would with any piece of clothing. No special tricks needed but if you want to keep your HankyBook in tip top shape then here are 3 main Care Tips for a long lasting HankyBook.
1. Air It Out
BIG TIP! Help your HankyBook dry quickly, not get compacted, and stay tidy by shaking it out. To do this after each use hold it by the sewn edge and snap your wrist a few times to align the pages.
2. Wash It Regularly
It is a good idea to wash your HankyBooks regularly. When they’re used and then left out for a long period of time, dirt tends to settle in and get its own furniture – maybe even start inviting some of its friends over. You don’t want that.
Just keep it simple. If you don’t use your HankyBook that much, throw it in your laundry whenever your laundry cycle would call for you to wash your clothes anyway – it’ll keep it nice and clean, and the fabric actually gets softer as you wash it. If you do use it a lot – well, simple enough, wash it frequently (but try to wash it with full loads of laundry to conserve water and energy).
3. Pull Pages Apart Before Washing
For the best cleaning results, take a second or two to pull the pages apart just before washing – whatever works to keep the HankyBook pages from sticking together awkwardly. If you’re more of the sloppy and forgetful owner, like me, don’t worry. The wash will take care of most of this “naturally”.