If you are here you have surely opted for a greener lifestyle, either that or you are looking for a new DIY project to keep your hands busy.
As someone who is interested in sustainable solutions (which is where the idea for HankyBook came from), I am obsessed with eco-friendly products and projects. Right now I’m looking into the possibility of selling dryer balls, but I wanted to see for myself:
How hard is it to make a DIY dryer ball?
Turns out: a bit harder than I thought it would be. It took some trial and error but having gone through the steps myself, this video and article guide to DIY wool dryer balls will hopefully make your experience significantly easier 😊
What are Dryer Balls?
Dryer balls are fluffy-looking balls made of wool or spikey plastic (for those allergic to wool) that get into all the clumped up laundry to ensure that warm air can flow through items to reduce static and drying time. Basically, dryer balls help our clothes become soft and fluffy – without lint!
The ultimate adulting goal.
Did I mention they are also an excellent chemical softener replacement?
To understand the process myself, and to be able to offer you tips, I decided to make them myself to give you all the tricks on the go. (I call them tricks, but it is more like mistakes I made that you could avoid…)
Here is a short video that I made to show you the key steps. Give that a watch and then read on for more detail because the video makes it seem a bit easier than the actual experience.
Not being much of a knitter, I had absolutely no idea how much fluff I would need or how much fluff would be enough fluff to prevent fluff? You know what I mean?
Looking back, the easiest way to tackle these balls would be to get your hands on one ball of 100% wool felt. (If it looks like cotton candy, you found the gem.)
Unfortunately, I could not get my hands on this glorious fluff, so after some trial and error (again) I found that unravelling 100% wool yarn works perfectly for that fluffy ball look. If you don’t mind the strings, then the easy (peaceful) way out would be to use the yarn as it.
So before I get into any more detail, let me give you a rundown of what you will need:
Dryer Ball Item Checklist
You will need:
· 1 ball of 100% wool felt or yarn (unravel it, if you prefer the smooth felt look)
· 1 pair of stockings, feet cut off
· Some bits of leftover material such as knit or cotton
· Essential oils of your choice (optional), we used lemon for a fresh burst!
Overall the process is straightforward, it took me a few tries because some guides fail to mention small details, hopefully with some of my tips you can get perfect fluffy balls first time!
To start it off, you will need to cut off the foot of your stocking to a nice, long sock. Obviously the more balls you want to make, the more length you will need.
Next up you want to grab your leftover material bits and twist it into a nice, tight little ball. Stick a needle in it to keep it in place. Obviously you would like to get this as tight and round as possible as this will be the core of your fluffy mission.
Next up, as obvious as it is, start wrapping the wool around the ball of fabric. I started off going “Criss Cross” around the ball to hold the fabric in place, after that I went around with more “effort” to fill it up to a nice round ball shape.
Remember to keep it tight at all times, you don’t want it to unravel. Most times they tell you to use the unravelled felted wool, it is amazing and traditional (I guess), but I do feel that your entry-level ball can be made using spun wool yarn. It is much easier to get a good grip and tighten the ends.
Once you are happy with your size, you can cut the end and tuck it under one of the layers. I made sure mine were about the size of tennis balls so that if it doesn’t work; the dog has something to play with.
Just kidding, but if it happens, remember that dryer ball wool is baby and pet friendly.
Stuff your fluffy DIY dryer balls it the stocking, twist it tightly and tie a knot on the end to keep it snug. You can now repeat the process and make a string of balls if you would like. The more the merrier!
One of the key tips I can give you is keeping your dryer balls tight, as repetitive as it may sound. Everything from the material all the way to the stocking knot. My first two unravelled quite quickly, but my third one was about as uptight as the lady who sold me the wool and it has a perfect shape!
Now you can pop your wool dryer balls into the washing machine, I didn’t want to waste a cycle, so I just popped it in with some towels.
You can now carry on with your day because once the laundry wash is over, those wool dryer balls need to dry all the way to the core when they come out. Sure, you could pop them in a tumble dryer, but I found that doing so did not dry the centre.
How do I know the centre was not dry? Let me tell you a fun story, if it does not dry all the way, it smells and unravels!
So definitely err on the side of caution during the drying process. A good dryer ball is a dry dryer ball.
And there you have it! (almost)
Dryer Ball Success (at last)
My third and final dryer ball was tight, snug and hung to dry for a full 24 hours. When I cut it open, it was firm and glorious! We succeeded, ladies and gentlemen!
After admiring my fluffy balls for a minute or two, I added one finishing touch. I added a few drops of essential oils to give my laundry a nice fresh burst.
So there you have it, toss them in the dryer and let the magic begin. They won’t ever need to be washed and they should be good for 2-3 years. My clothes came out soft and fresh and I didn’t need to use any fabric softener.
Now that you know how to make wool dryer balls, give it a shot and let me know how you fare.
On this site, we talk a lot about hankies, but today we’re talking about balls – dryer balls!
If you have a passion for sustainability, you must have heard of them, they are the new “It Girl” when it comes to an eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets and fabric.
They are functional, fabulous, and oh-so fluffy.
What Are Dryer Balls?
Dryer balls are sets of balls made of wool or, every now and then, spikey plastic. When placed in the wash with your items, they will get into all of the knots and tangles of your clumped-up laundry.
This effect makes sure the warm air can flow through items to reduce static and drying time, saving your electricity bill from going through the roof. Now that is true love.
Why Wool Dryer Balls?
Time to answer the “not-so-age-old” question, why wool?
Well, chemical softeners are not the friendliest characters when it comes to caring for the environment, and some people even find that the chemicals make their skin dry and itchy.
But fabric softeners are not the only culprits, oh no no no… Dryer sheets contain fragrances made from chemicals, shocker!
These fragrances combined with the acetone in the sheets have actually made people lightheaded and dizzy. In some cases, these two softening villains have even triggered cases of asthma.
Back to the question, why wool? Well, since the yarn it knitted so tightly, these white tennis balls are quite difficult to unravel, which means they are durable (in case you haven’t figured that one out) and, as you’ve probably guessed, they don’t have any of those nasty chemicals knitted inside them.
Yup, they are sweet and innocent inside and out. (Can you hear the choir sing?)
Do Dryer Balls Work?
The question is, do they work? Well, obviously, why else make a fuss about dryer balls on a hanky site? Besides for the fact that these balls do not contain any chemicals, the tightly knit structure means no batteries, refills, subscriptions, terms and conditions or repairs required.
It’s that simple? Yes, but they also reduce static, which means you can wear that interesting Christmas sweater all year round.
How Do Dryer Balls Work?
If you put your laundry in the dryer and pressed start, the wet clothes will just bunch together like wet hair and flop around in a solid pile. If you could get your hands in there and separate them after each turn, they should dry nicely and evenly.
This is exactly what dryer balls do, they roll in between the folds and layers of your clothes to make sure the hot air moves into all the bits so that everything dries evenly. With this being said, you could also expect your drying time to decrease.
Popping about 3-4 balls in your dryer will give you the best results, but hey, go wild!
Tell Me More!
Since these balls move their way through the whole pile, even the sleeves of your shirt, the wool from the balls cause friction in the fibres of your clothes so they come out of the dryer soft, fluffy and without that annoying static cling.
I mean, who doesn’t love a fluffy towel?
For those who don’t understand the static problem, the longer you dry your clothes for the more static they become. Overheated clothes are like heated people, ready to zap anyone.
By decreasing the drying time and creating an even heat flow, you can prevent your clothes from becoming static. So no, the balls don’t have magic power, but they do a kind thing.
If you do miss that fresh fragrant smell, all you need to do is add a few drops of your favourite essential oils to the ball.
The balls need room to move
I know we all tend to leave our laundry until it becomes a cute little mountain, but it is important to note that you can’t cram your dryer with clothes. The balls need some room to move and carry the hot air through. No one likes a crowded room.
How long do wool dryer balls last?
By now you must be completely in love with the idea, but the flirting isn’t over. These balls last up to 1000 drying loads, for those who need the math done for them, here we go; if you do 2 loads of drying in a week, that is 104 loads of drying in a year.
You still have 896 loads to go. To make sure it lasts that long, do not keep them stored in a plastic container, let them breathe freely. To hell with it, you can even just leave them in the dryer.
And if your cat attacks your precious balls…
Or your dog decides to run away with your dryer balls, don’t worry, it is perfectly safe for the pup and if they decide to bury them in the ground; it is not the end of the world; they are biodegradable.
If you haven’t tried dryer balls yet, now is the time. Have fun with laundry day and brag about your next electric bill, because hey, we are adults but we’re still allowed to get excited about fluffy things.
I created HankyBook to help sniffle sufferers and the planet.
Sustainable, eco-friendly products are a passion of mine – you can see this in my annually updated sustainable gift guide.
This year, I’m chasing my passion and will be raising awareness of other awesome eco-friendly products, that I hope the HankyBook community will enjoy.
For now, these will fall under the HankyBook umbrella but in the future, I may create a new site, so it’s a bit less confusing.
Forget about diamonds! A hanky is a woman’s best friend. Historically known as a handkercher or kerchief, it helps to wipe those unavoidable wedding tears, blow a persistent runny nose or even save the planet (think landfills).
Every woman can rely on a good handkerchief during times of love and sorrow. Now, that’s what friends are for!
A lady’s handkerchief defines who she is, no matter how you look at it. It’s no wonder Kathleen Kelly from the film, “You’ve Got Mail” gets so passionate about hankies when she offers one to Annabel to blow her runny nose.
“A handkerchief is a Kleenex you don’t throw away” (thanks Kathleen – you know how I like my hankies).
I know hankies and below I’ve picked out my 6 favorites for your consideration.
You can jump to that list now, or you can continue on to read a bit more about the history and characteristics of handkerchiefs for women.
Where does the ladies hanky come from?
We won’t bore you with all the facts, but basically, handkerchiefs come from the Roman Poet Catullus in the first century B.C. and were used to shield or veil the face and mouth to wipe off sweat.
It was a luxury item reserved for the rich and famous, due to linen being extremely expensive at the time. By the first century A.D, however, the middle and lower classes gained more access to handkerchiefs when they were more easily and cheaply imported.
Up until the 18th century, the handkerchief was made in many shapes and sizes including rectangle, square and round.
PS: Don’t take my word for it, but Marie Antoinette believes the square hanky works the best. Truly a tastemaker ahead of her time!
Nowadays, hankies are used for many things – from cleaning hands, dabbing away tears and fixing runny makeup. This small piece of fabric comes in very handy to mop up life’s spills. It takes up limited space and is super easy to clean and store.
A man’s hanky is typically 12 x 12 inches square, but typical ladies’ hankies vary from 8 x 8 to 10 x 10 inches. But really, if you prefer the extract landscape to catch your sneezes and spills I say there’s nothing wrong with grabbing a guy-sized handkerchief.
What’s the best fabric for women’s handkerchiefs?
There are many different materials and types of handkerchiefs available online – it just depends on your taste and what you’ll use it for.
Cotton or linen is your best bet if you’re a girl who loves luxurious items. If you like to keep things a bit more personal, get a monogrammed cotton hanky to make your special day memorable. Is vintage more your thing? Choose silk, lace or a cotton-synthetic blend with a beautiful design or pattern.
Is tissue really that bad?
Unfortunately, they kinda are.
Tissue is made from timber pulps and additives which are not easily recyclable. Although tissue has become very popular since the 20th century and dominates modern culture, it’s bad for the environment and your beloved washing machine.
So, next time you reach for a Kleenex, think zero-waste and sustainability first.
Where to buy ladies’ handkerchiefs online? Our top 6 list.
For the sophisticated woman
If you’re looking for a beautifully designed vintage hanky, Orange Soda Panda is your one-stop-shop.
This company produces beautiful hankies fit for a queen. The Mario Valentino vintage hanky (18” x 17.5”) is my personal favorite as it’s in great condition and the perfect accessory for any day out.
The hankies, made of quality cotton, are super soft and gorgeous. Choose from a variety of styles and patterns and be the star of the show at your next event. Marie Antoinette will approve…
For the eco-friendly lady
If you follow a zero-waste lifestyle, you’ll be happy to know that Juniper Seed Merc caters for all your hanky needs.
Their handkerchiefs are organic, unbleached, sustainably grown and made of soft bamboo fabric, blended with 10% cotton. “Buttery decadence” indeed!
They work wonderfully to clean your home and can also be used for napkins, cloths, towels and baby wipes. Say goodbye to tissue and welcome this highly absorbent hanky into your home – your family will love you for it.
For a girl who just wants it all
Want the sustainable benefits but with a hygienic (and super cute) package? I designed the HankyBook (with it’s “book” shape containing outer covers sealing germs inside and absorbent soft cotton “pages”) to keep germs and ick from spreading.
A successful Kickstarter campaign later and the world was introduced to HankyBooks.
HankyBooks are made here in the US with luxuriously soft, 100% organic cotton. They also come in a range of cute designs to cater for everyone’s taste.
You’ve never seen a woman’s handkerchief like this before, and it offers even more benefits than a typical hanky. In fact, here are at least 23 distinct uses of the HankyBook.
Pop one in your pocket or bag when you head out and trust me, you’ll be glad to have your hanky handy.
For the lady with personal taste
Every girl loves showing off her personality and Simply Sweet Hankies makes this possible with their adorable monogrammed handkerchiefs. Customize your message or initials with gold or silver thread and always keep your hanky by your side.
To wash: Fill your sink with hot water and add a tablespoon of laundry detergent. Put your hanky in the water and make sure it absorbs the water for 30 minutes. Rinse it, and voila – as good as new!
For the quirky lady
If you love color, nature or cats, these reusable handkerchiefs with mixed prints from Sea and Sand Home Design are right up your alley!
The soft cotton flannels measure approximately 10 x 10 inches and, although great as a gift, I like to keep them for myself. Pop them into your purse and use them over and over again.
For the vintage hunter
Finally, not a hanky – more of a tip.
Wondering where to buy ladies handkerchiefs?
Before I became a HankyBook convert, my favorite method of finding handkerchiefs was to seek out thrift stores – particularly those that specialized in vintage items.
It’s a bit more work but you can find some beautiful designs and styles. And when you do, it feels all the more special having made the discovery yourself.
Get out those handkerchiefs, ladies
To some, the handkerchief may seem old-fashioned, but trust me, it’s an essential accessory for every purse, pocket or handbag. Whether it’s for the allergy season, accidents or makeup on the run, a handkerchief is your best and most trustworthy companion.
Take my word for it, once you switch from single-use tissues to reusable handkerchiefs, you’ll never go back.
A handkerchief is an accessory that
sets some men apart from others.
If you aren’t struggling with a cold
or hayfever, you may not need a handkerchief most days. But on that day that
you do pull out your trusty hanky to tend to a wounded child. Or improvise a
temporary fix on a car or plumbing that will hold until you make it to the next
That’s when you realize – every man
should carry a handkerchief.
There aren’t many things that you can’t do with a piece of material. With enough knowledge of how to fold it, you can be a 21st-century MacGuyver (ask a boomer) that will inspire those around you. Perhaps even leave your crush weak at the knees for your ingenuity — unless of course it’s your crushes weak knee that you’re looking to remedy with a splint or bandage of some description.
Or maybe you’re a stylish fella,
rocking a dapper, white pocket square to elevate your look.
Before we get to our selection of
the best men’s handkerchiefs around, let’s cover a few frequently asked
Rapid-fire Handkerchief Questions
What is the typical size of a man’s handkerchief?
The typical men’s hanky size is
12×12 inches or 30 cm, which is around 33% bigger than the standard female
handkerchief. Upwards of 17 inches is also not uncommon for both handkerchiefs
and men’s pocket squares.
But hey, don’t let anyone tell you
that size matters. If it does the job, that’s what counts!
How to wear a handkerchief
However you want!
Bandanna, back pocket, around the
neck – you do you.
And if you’re looking for a stylish
accessory, a pocket square always looks hella-charming.
There are many fabric options and
ultimately personal taste will play a big factor.
Cotton is probably the most common
hanky fabric – it is absorbent, light and durable. But the softness depends on
the quality of the cotton used.
Silk is soft as, well, silk. It’s
also very light and more absorbent than you’d think.
Fine linen is also a great choice –
it will soften up with every wash and should stand the test of time.
Five Of The Best Men’s Handkerchiefs
For the Casual Man
These classic, colorful hankies from
Zenssia are perfect for any guy who wants a
handkerchief that is functional more than it is fashionable. Don’t get me
wrong, these colorful plaid hankies look great, but they’re not going to serve
as pocket square’s for a night out on the town.
The cotton is ultra-soft and the thread count offers enough thickness for the manliest nose blowing.
Perfect for the outdoors, these
hankies are great travel companions.
The only downside – assuming you
like the style – is that they are quite stiff when new. But keep using and
washing them and eventually they start to soften up.
For the Wanted Man
Not your ordinary men’s handkerchief
hanky is for men
who live a life of danger. The handkerchief, created by an Icelandic designer,
is made from Kevlar to make it literally bulletproof.
Simply place it in your breast
pocket, covering your heart, and I guess hope that the bad guy doesn’t go for a
Hmmm – maybe it can be used as a
bandanna as well…
I can’t say how effective the hanky
is at actually doing normal tasks – or for that matter whether it can really
stop a bullet – but if you’re constantly looking over your shoulder, this could
be the pocket square for you.
For the Outdoors Man
Speaking of Kevlar, here is another manly handkerchief that incorporates the super material. Only this time it’s not for stopping bullets, rather it’s the ultimate campsite rag. The main claim to fame seems to be that the material doesn’t catch fire and is incredibly durable and resistant to heat.
So if you need help picking up hot
coals, flaming sticks, simmering pots – the Camp
Rag Handkerchief is just for you.
The Camp Rag also claims to help filter water to purify it (fair enough), helps protect from knife attacks (uhhh), prevent credit card skimming (didn’t know that was a big camping problem), and protect against EMPs (we’re backing away slowly).
Forget the silly claims and focus on
the flexible functionality on offer and this robust hanky could be the ideal
choice for you.
For the Healthy Man
If germ spread from handkerchiefs
puts you off, the HankyBook is the next step of the handkerchief that you’ve
been waiting for.
HankyBooks are made from ultra-soft
cotton, shaped into pages with outer “covers” designed to keep the
germs locked inside.
Simply blow or sneeze and then turn
the page. The germs are unable to spread so you won’t infect loved ones – or
HankyBooks are also a great
companion for wiping away sweat, mopping up spills, and even filling in as a
makeshift coaster for your cool brew. They’re also unique, eco-friendly, and
great conversation starters.
And for our readers, they are 5% off when using the code MAN5 at checkout.
For the Gentleman
Finally, every man should have a couple of classic white handkerchiefs in the drawer. This pure white hanky set from Ricosky is not going to raise any eyebrows or stop any bullets. But if you looking for handkerchiefs that are solid and simple, these may be the right choice for you.
Just note, the size is 16″ x
16″ however there may be some shrinking after washing. And they do wrinkle
easily, so ironing is essential.
Wrapping It Up
Handkerchiefs are coming back in
fashion, particularly for men. These days there are so many choices online –
from the wild and wonderful to the classic and classy.
You never know what life is going to throw at you, so make sure you have handkerchiefs on hand to tackle any sweat, spills, and sneezes that may come your way.
If you’re eco-friendly like me, you probably want to share your passion with friends and family. Eco-consciousness is infectious!
I get asked for my opinion about environmentally friendly gifts all the time, so I thought that with the holidays on the way it would be a good idea to share my own sustainable gift guide.
I really do feel that people are becoming more aware of the need for more sustainable products. Everyone wants to be more active, but some people don’t know where to start.
Well, with this eco-friendly gift guide I’m going to share a few of my favorite sustainable products. Spread the love and the message that it’s time to say goodbye to one-use wastage.
NOTE: This article has been updated with new gift ideas for 2019 Holiday season and beyond!
7 Sustainable Gift Ideas
#1 – Strawsome
A half a billion plastic straws are used once, and then discarded every year in the United States alone. That’s where Strawsome comes in.
First, can I just say – that name deserves a round of applause.
Secondly, if you’re thinking “I can’t give a straw as a gift” – think again.
Strawsome is no ordinary straw. It is made of durable glass and comes in a range of fun designs – from clear glass to flashy and funky. Or if you’re one of a kind, you can create your very own design. Just use the drop-down menu on their website to choose length, decoration, color, and function.
Of course, these straws are toxic-free and reusable – just like our HankyBooks!
Even better, your purchase of Strawsome products can directly impact the world:
If there’s an issue that’s close to your heart, Strawsome has a range of Straws for a Cause. Strawsome donates 33% of these sales to organizations that support conservation, fight human trafficking, conserve marine and coastal life and many other good causes.
There are 25 causes and counting for you to support!
If that’s not Strawsome, I don’t know what is.
#2 – Brush with Bamboo
Bamboo toothbrushes are all the rage at the moment but I believe Brush with Bamboo was first onto the scene.
They are all about simple living, zero waste, and their toothbrush, featuring a bamboo handle and castor bean oil bristles, is the perfect gift to bring a gleaming smile to the face of a loved one.
Proudly boasting as the first and only plant-based toothbrush, this is the perfect excuse to skip plastic toothbrushes, which never break down!
Even the packaging is sustainable!
If you need to brush up on your green credentials, this is a good place to start!
#3 – To-Go Ware
Speaking of bamboo: single-use utensils and food containers cause an enormous strain on the environment.
To-Go Ware excels in this department with a range of handy kitchen items that look great and make for beautiful and practical eco-friendly gifts.
For example – they have attractive bamboo utensils that you can use again and again. The benefit of bamboo is that it does not need to be replanted when harvested. These fast-growing and hardy plants will grow a new shoot from its root system, making it a more sustainable option.
Bamboo doesn’t stain, or absorb flavors into its grain. It’s a long-lasting non-petroleum based material that is lightweight, strong and beautiful to look at.
We love bamboo but To-Go Ware has a few other tricks up its sleeve including stainless steel food carriers that retain heat, are easy to clean, and will last you for years.
Unlike plastic, it won’t warp in the sun or the dishwasher. It works really well to retain heat, especially when it’s used in conjunction with one of their cotton carrier bags, crafted to fit the containers.
To-Go Ware is a go-to favorite for me, and I have a feeling you’ll agree.
#4 – Coffee Joulies
A new entry for this 2019 version of my gift guide – and this one is a bit of a zig.
That’s right, while other brands on this list wear their eco-friendly credentials on their sleeve, Coffee Joulies is a bit more subtle.
In essence, when placed in your cup of coffee they absorb the heat to reduce tongue-burn, but they also hold warmth so your coffee will stay warm for longer.
This means less waste, less microwaving, and more kudos from people like me who love coffee almost as much as sustainability.
I got these for my dad years ago and they’re still going strong!
If you’ve got any coffee-lovers in your life, this will make a great eco-friendly gift for the holidays.
“I can’t give a plastic wrap alternative as a gift… maybe I can use it to WRAP the gift, but that’s about it.”
I hear you, but you’re wrong.
Bee’s Wrap is more than functional – it is innovative and, importantly for a gift, it is SO CUTE.
Look at these designs.
To. Die. For.
If you need to wrap your food in a fridge, or your lunch to take away to work or a picnic, then Bee’s Wrap is the bee’s knees (sorry!).
Bee’s Wrap is made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, sustainably sourced beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. Together, this combination of ingredients creates a malleable food wrap that can be used again and again.
All you need to do is use the warmth of your hands to shape the seal that you want. Fold some Bee’s Wrap over the top of a bowl, or whatever food you wish to preserve. Bee’s Wrap will seal and hold its shape when it cools.
That half lemon standing in your fridge. The piece of cheese that you want to keep for later. Anything and everything.
Toss them in the dryer, and you’ll find your clothes can dry in half the time (a great energy saver), they’ll come out with fewer wrinkles, and you may even be able to stop buying fabric softener.
Each ball is handmade from cruelty-free and ethically sourced Canadian wool. They are non-toxic and are free from harmful chemicals to make your clothes smell “baby fresh”.
Dryer balls work by keeping clothes separated in the dryer. This allows the hot air from your dryer to circulate more effectively, reducing the time and energy needed to dry your clothes by between 30% – 50%.
If your clothes come out fluffy and full of static, it means you’re over-drying them. Remember that with these dryer balls, you’ll need to set your dryer to a much shorter cycle than you’re used to.
The wool of the dryer balls absorbs moisture. As an added bonus, static is less likely to survive in this environment, so more delicate clothes don’t come out of the dryer with a fluffy halo.
Dryer balls last around 1000 loads. Assuming your cats don’t get them…
#7 – HankyBook
Last, but certainly not least – I think HankyBooks (my attempt to improve upon the traditional handkerchief) make excellent eco-friendly gifts for Christmas and the holidays.
Sustainability is nothing to sneeze at. But, if you have to sneeze, you’re going to want a soft, organic cotton HankyBook on hand.
I created Hankybooks to address my raw, irritable nose but to also tackle the problem of disposable tissues. It takes half a gallon of water to produce a single tissue paper. Then consider the loss of trees. All for what is ultimately a single nose blow away from ending up in a landfill.
HankyBooks are reusable, machine washable and hella cute.
In short: the perfect gift to give to a loved one and give back to the planet.
Have a fabulous eco-friendly holidays
I hope that you enjoyed my gift guide and please let me know what great items I missed out on. I’ll be sure to add more items to the list around this time next year.
As someone who has
struggled with a runny nose and sneezing most of my adult life, I know
all-too-well how debilitating it can be.
Whether it’s from
allergies, hayfever, or a nasty cold – the effect on your productivity,
enjoyment, comfort, and even your relationships make it worth doing whatever it
takes to return your nose to normality.
Here are some tips that have worked wonders for me. I hope they offer you similar relief!
But first – a handy tool for nose blowing and sneeze stifling
While you’re seeking
the perfect remedy, you’re going to want something handy to keep that runny
nose in check.
Tissues are not just bad for the planet; they can also be very rough on sensitive nasal skin.
In my university days,
I switched to handkerchiefs, which were much softer and being reusable, a lot
kinder on the environment.
While trying to work
out the best way to fold them hygienically, I had the idea for HankyBook.
The super-soft cotton “pages” are ideal for nose blowing and out of control runny noses.
They fit perfectly in
any pocket or bag, and the outer covers prevent germs from spreading!
If you can’t (or don’t
want) to go to the doctor or the pharmacy, you’ll be pleased to know that many
remedies are actually water-based.
A hot shower
That’s right, a beautifully warm shower isn’t just great for the outside of your body, it can also help clear up the inside of a stuffy or runny nose.
The key is steam,
which is why a cold shower isn’t going to do much.
Steam will reduce inflammation and thin out mucus in your nasal passages. A short term fix to get some much-needed sinus relief.
Speaking of steam…
If you don’t want or
need to take a shower (kudos for not wasting water unnecessarily), then an
alternative option is to heat up a bowl of water.
You can get the water to a boil; however, it’s not necessary, and it’s actually better that the water and the steam aren’t too hot.
Lean your head over
the bowl with a towel draped over your head and breathe in the steam (through
your nose!) deeply.
If you can manage
10-20 minutes, you should start feeling much better.
A solid blow (on your
new HankyBook!) after you’re done will help to clear your nasal cavities.
Hydrate the snot away
Another use of water
is to simply drink lots of it. By hydrating, you help to think out mucus,
making it easier to manage – rather out than in, as they say.
Tea is another great
solution – you get the hydration, the steam, and a lovely taste. Personally, I
like honey, ginger, chamomile, and lemon.
Food can also help
It’s not just water that can be your nose’s savior – spicy food can have a similarly positive impact. Cook up a nice strong curry and, sure, your nose will be even runnier at first, but it should eventually help to clear your nasal cavity.
And if it doesn’t –
well you just had a lovely curry.
What is worse than a
runny or blocked nose keeping you up all night?
Nothing is worse.
So, while I would
suggest using some of the methods above before bedtime, I also recommend using
a second pillow. By raising your head, it will help your sinuses drain.
How to stop sneezing?
Are you in the grip of sneezing fits as well as a runny nose?
Well, the first thing
to check (sorry about this) is the color and consistency of your mucus. If it
is dark and thick, you’ve got a cold.
If it is clear and
watery, the culprit is likely allergies.
Pollen and dust are the significant drivers of sneezing and runny noses due to allergies, but food can also be to blame.
Sneezing is your body’s way of getting rid of germs and other irritants like pollen and dust. If you’re interested to learn more about sneezing, Huffpo’s Sneezing Facts articleis a good place to learn more.
But if you don’t care about the why and just want to know how to get relief – here are some tips to ease the suffering, particularly during the pollen season.
If the pollen count is
high, and the day is warm and windy – you could be in for a day of reaching for
your HankyBook every 30 seconds.
Sometimes it’s best
just to stay indoors and keep the doors and windows closed.
The mornings through
to lunchtime are the worst, so if you must head out into the world, the late
afternoon and evening should be a lot friendlier on your poor nose.
Spring clean often
Dust mites and mold
are also potentially bothersome to allergy sufferers.
So make sure you dust and clean often, and keep an eye out for moldy spots, particularly in winter.
I liked to get easy to clean furniture, which made the cleaning process that much easier. Whether you go that far, it all depends on how badly you’re suffering.
Let’s talk about drugs, baby
Actually, let’s not.
I think all I’ll say
is that there is certainly a range of options available if the natural methods
If you have congestion
and cold-like symptoms for like a solid week – please get your butt to the
There are shots,
pills, and nasal sprays that CAN help. Just make sure you follow the doctor’s
instructions on how to use it. I remember a nasal spray I used worked wonders –
almost immediate relief – but you couldn’t take it for more than a few days.
Otherwise, it would damage your nasal cavity and actually making it MORE likely
you’d suffer from a runny nose.
I hope that some of
the natural methods bring relief to your stubborn nose.
And of course, that
you bin the tissue and give HankyBooks (or even normal hankies) a try.
Historically, the handkerchief (“hanky”) was the charming companion for anyone that urgently needed to wrangle a sneeze or blow a nose. By the mid-20th-century, disposable tissue paper had become a popular alternative.
Initially created to remove cold cream from women’s faces, the broader application became clear when men started using their wives’ tissues to blow their noses.
Sorry, ladies. Today even hanky fans have to admit that the tissue has become the sneeze saver of choice for the masses. For many, the handkerchief is simply old-fashioned.
Are handkerchiefs sanitary?
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 the tissue actually more hygienic than the handkerchief?
Yes, and no.
If you’re confused, don’t worry, we’re going to break it down. Let’s look at the most common examples when people think of hygiene.
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?
We think not, and here’s why:
How to dispose of tissues
Getting rid of tissues immediately is a nice thought but how often does that actually happen? People are busy. And trash cans 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 the used hankies are added to the next wash.
After that they are completely clean and hygienic once again. Just like a towel, or clothing, or underwear.
Now, if we compare those two examples instead, 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,“what 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.
The HankyBook is exactly what it sounds like. A hanky in the form of a book with a soft outer cover and individual sewn “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 about touching germs because you only hold the outside cover, not the hanky pages inside.
And when the HankyBook is closed and slipped into your back pocket, the germs are completely locked in. Unable to spread to other surfaces.
Also, when blowing your nose, the thickness of the HankyBook prevents germs from spreading – something that happens quite often with a thin tissue.
Go ahead and try out a HankyBook to see for yourself. Browse the shop and use the special code HBSHOP for 15% off your order and free shipping.
The final verdict on germ control
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.
On my quest to discover the best handkerchief for blowing nose, I realized something important:
The handkerchief is back, baby!
Hankies say a lot about you. The fact that you carry one is a silent statement in itself. That you’re prepared for any spill or sneeze. That life won’t foil you when you can’t reach the kleenex in time.
Part of the hanky comeback lies in the old-world charm and class that carrying one conveys.
They recall a time when you had to be prepared for anything while always staying classy.
An even bigger part of the appeal is that they are so much better than facial tissues.
Like, it’s not even close.
A good handkerchief can last for years. It’s environmentally friendly. Handkerchiefs are easier on the sneeze and even easier on the wallet.
We’re going to show you why handkerchiefs are so great and reveal what makes the best handkerchief for blowing your nose, stifling sneezes and so much more.
Why handkerchiefs are better than tissues
If you’re thinking about which hanky is best, well done! You’ve immediately eliminated tissues as an option. Facial tissues are not environmentally friendly.
Apart from the chemicals used to bleach, color, soften and strengthen the tissue, they take an enormous amount of water and wood to manufacture.
They’re bad for the environment and bad for your face!
Tissues are bad for sensitive skin
Next time you reach for your favorite box of tissues, take a look at the chemicals on the packaging. We’re not one to cause panic over chemicals, but it’s worth noting that some, like Isopropyl Palmitate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, are known to cause skin irritation, particularly for people with hypersensitive skin.
If you’re feeling raw or itchy from blowing your nose with tissues, this could be the problem.
Handkerchiefs are easier on the environment
Tissue paper is still paper. And like all paper, it comes from trees.
The softness of the tissue is because it’s pulped from the virgin wood of trees. Even if manufacturers manage plantations more effectively, a single facial tissue takes over half a gallon of water to produce!
All those trees. All that water, chemicals, packaging, distribution and storage.
All leading up to a few seconds of use before its disposed.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Into the landfills and the oceans.
Washing and reusing handkerchiefs is a much better option for your nose and for the environment.
What about recycled tissues?
Recycled facial tissues solve many of the environmental problems. But many types of tissue paper cannot be recycled and those that can end up much coarser and harder.
If you have to blow your already sensitive nose with it, it might as well be sandpaper.
Although this option is definitely more environmentally friendly, it’s certainly not nose-friendly!
A quality handkerchief is made from 100% cotton. Synthetic blends are not as absorbent, soft or hard-wearing while cotton fibers are more durable.
Whether you prefer heavy duty cotton handkerchiefs for the most epic of colds, or the soft cotton handkerchiefs to keep your nose comfy – the choice is all yours.
The best thing is that cotton handkerchiefs are made to last.
Not only are cotton fibers strong enough to survive hundreds of washes and thousands of sneezes, but a cotton handkerchief becomes softer and more comfortable with every wash.
Are cotton handkerchiefs all the same?
Not all 100% cotton fabrics are equal.
Organic cotton is grown and processed with sustainable practices in mind. Organic cotton uses less water and energy to produce.
There are no (or very little) synthetic pesticides. No chlorine bleach, synthetic dyes or fragrances.
Save the environment AND save your money
You’re going to need more than one handkerchief. Ideally, you should be using a fresh one each day and when battling a cold, you’ll want a few extra hankies on hand.
You can expect to pay between $20 to $30 dollars for a set of organic cotton handkerchiefs.
Now $25 to blow your nose sounds like a lot. After all, a box of facial tissues costs 10% of that. But when you consider that you’ll be using your handkerchiefs over and over again, you’ll end up saving a lot of money in the long run.
This is especially true if you have a persistent cold, during allergy season, or you lead an active lifestyle that includes jogging, yoga, gym or cycling.
If you’re using facial tissues, you’re throwing your money away. And even if you can afford it; the environment can’t.
The ‘ick’ factor – handkerchief vs kleenex
Over time, people used hankies less and less because of the ick factor. And let’s be honest – nobody wants to walk around with a pocket full of snot through the day. It’s unsanitary and unhygienic.
Vintage kleenex ads encouraged you to blow your nose and throw the tissue away. A typical example being “Handkerchiefs won’t keep your fingers germ free. Kleenex will.” from 1933. Or “Don’t put a cold in your pocket” from 1941.
And it’s true – contact contamination with a tissue or handkerchief can spread colds and illness. So the message stuck.
Fewer people bought handkerchiefs, and more people bought into the germ-free message of disposable products, like tissues.
But here’s the thing – how often have you blown your nose with a facial tissue without a bin in sight?
Those used tissues that aren’t immediately disposable end up in handbags, pockets, up sleeves… anywhere and everywhere but the bin immediately.
Some even make it all the way to the washing machine. Or you find them bunched up in your pockets a few days later.
The tissue itself isn’t more hygienic. It’s all about using hygienic practices.
How to ick-proof your hanky
When you have a handkerchief, you have to know how to fold it in order to stay sanitary.
Ideally, you want to fold it in a way that presents multiple clean surfaces of the hanky to blow your nose. Each use of the hanky should be on a new leaf.
If you want a clever folding method our how to fold your handkerchief guide takes a bit of practice but will allow you to keep your pockets and hands free of ick.
The best handkerchief for nose-blowing is NOT a pocket square
Rule number one – don’t confuse a pocket square with a handkerchief. A pocket square is folded to show out of your breast pocket. It’s a decorative feature of suits, and if you’re looking to impress at a formal occasion, then a pocket square is a must.
Of course, people will be less impressed by your debonair, dashing and dapper appearance if you remove the pocket square from your pocket to blow your nose. A pocket square is most definitely not the best handkerchief for blowing nose.
In fact, it’s a faux pas on par with using your fish knife to eat your dessert.
Pocket squares tend to be smaller than handkerchiefs. They’re also made of silk, a material that’s not ideal for blowing your nose. It may be soft, but it’s definitely not absorbent!
Blowing your nose with silk is like taking a bath in milk. Indulgent if you’re Cleopatra, impractical for everyone else!
Some men try to use handkerchiefs as pocket squares but they’re generally too big for the purpose.
Handkerchiefs are not just for men to pass onto damsels in distress! No way, no how.
Decorative handkerchiefs that were of a specific style for women were all the rage in the past.
As a result, these handkerchiefs were more for show, rather than for blow. Because a real lady wouldn’t actually blow her nose, would she?
Women’s handkerchiefs were something more refined. Delicate. Frilly.
Designed by men.
Nowadays it’s possible for soft and delicate to also be durable and practical. You need the comfort of 100% organic cotton. Just like guys do. You need great absorption, value for money, and something that complements your style.
HankyBook – the best handkerchief for blowing noses
As someone who has suffered from a runny nose my whole life, I searched high and low to find the best product to stifle my sniffles. I tried every facial tissue product but they invariably irritated my skin.
So I learned to fold a handkerchief (my engineering background helped!) and found that my nose was less irritated after each blow. I didn’t have to apply all sorts of ointments and salves to soothe the skin that was so abraded by facial tissues.
Even though I became an expert in all sorts of handkerchief origami, sometimes I still couldn’t avoid the ick factor, especially on days when my nose was acting up.
That’s why I invented the HankyBook. It is made from sustainably sourced, 100% organic cotton with each ultra-soft page in a small book form.
Each page of the HankyBook offers a new surface to blow your nose on. The HankyBook helped me turn the page on the ick factor. And because the pages are bound between two covers, contact contamination is eliminated completely.
I could never have thought that my little improvisation would blossom into a new invention. People love the practicality of the HankyBook and also consider it a charming keepsake.
DAVID JAENISCH PROGRAMMER ___________________
As someone with chronic nose problems, this product has saved my nose. Stays clean and so easy to carry around. I can’t explain the convenience it has added to my life on a daily basis. I used to run back and forth from the trashcan all the time. Now I just rotate my stack of HankyBooks through the laundry and always have a clean one by my side. Thank you. A++++++”
DAVID JAENISCH – PROGRAMMER
People use their HankyBooks to clean up spills, or sweat from gym and yoga classes. It’s a great invention for moms and dads of young children as spills and drools are always around the corner.
The soft organic cotton sheets are even handy to clean sunglasses and camera lenses.
The HankyBook slides into any bag or pocket, and is always there when you need it.
It’s machine washable. Durable. Eco-friendly. And cute as a button.
If you’ve come here to learn how to fold a pocket square, an adornment for your jacket pocket, then this is not the article for you.
Luckily we cover folding in our pocket square guide so if that’s what you’re looking for, see you over there!
No – this article is focused on actual handkerchief folding.
Breast pocket squares are used for looking dapper. They are an accessory.
Handkerchiefs are more like a necessity. They are used to dab away sweat, stifle sneezes and aid runny noses.
Keep reading on for my hanky folding tutorial – undisputedly the best and most sanitary method of folding a hankie around.
Why Can’t I Fold Handkerchiefs However I want?
If you’re happy folding it into halves until it’s a handy size, great.
If you like to crumple it up into a ball, again, totally your prerogative.
The problem is that using a handkerchief (without the secret sanitary method!), it’s hard to avoid getting germs everywhere.
Most people will blow their nose and then stuff the hanky into their back pocket or a bag and when used that way, yes, the “ick” is very real.
In Search of the “ick-free” Handkerchief
I’ve always suffered with a runny nose.
Go for a walk – runny nose.
Drink something hot – runny nose.
Eat something cold – runny nose.
You get the idea.
My nose is always open for withdrawals and it has really hampered my life.
I was a big tissue user but learning how bad tissues are for the environment really put me off. Not to mention how they made my nose permanently red and raw.
Cotton hankies were the solution to both those problems.
Soft cotton was soothing for my raw nose and the fact that you can toss them in the wash and they’re good as new (in fact they even get softer and better with time) was the perfect solution to eco-unfriendly, single-use facial tissues.
But hygiene is very important to me, so I put my engineering brain to use and created:
The Secret Sanitary Hanky Folding Method
Okay, so you want to know how to fold a handkerchief. Let’s get right to it.
My handkerchief folding technique has a simple aim:
To use as much hanky real estate for nose blowing as possible but always ensuring that germs do not spread.
With this folding method, you will always keep two layers between nose-blowing spaces and germs will always be kept trapped inside, with outer book-like covers that don’t get used.
All you need is a flat surface and a hanky.
Lay your handkerchief out on a flat surface and then hit play below to check out my step-by-step tutorial.
Or for a quick-fire method, here is a gif from someone online who had the same idea. All it takes is five folds to achieve the perfect shape.
What About a No-Fold Sanitary Handkerchief?
If you’ve visited the site before you’ll know that my folding idea was just the start.
The folding became the idea behind HankyBook.
With HankyBook, you get all the benefits of a handkerchief but with soft covers and cotton fabric “pages” to blow your nose.
The unique “book” shape essentially mimics what the sanitary folding method does but with less effort – no folding required!
Simply open, blow, turn the page, blow again.
The absorbable and thick cotton layers prevent the ick from spreading, and the covers mean you can just close the HankyBook and pop it in a pocket without any worries about germ getting everywhere.
When you get home, toss it in the wash and later it will be fresh as a daisy and ready for another day of sneezes, sniffles and spills.
If you’re a handkerchief user, worried about spreading germs – then the sanitary folding method is the solution. It’s a bit of a puzzle at first but practice makes perfect.
If you’re impatient, why not try a HankyBook – it’s the evolution of the handkerchief and you don’t need to learn a thing!