Okay, well that wasn’t particularly helpful, was it? Here’s how I’d define a handkerchief:
The handkerchief is (typically) a square piece of hemmed cloth that is primarily used for personal hygiene, as a clothing accessory, or carried as a handy multi-functional “tool” that can help solve everyday challenges. It has a long history but tremendous staying power and, if anything, its value proposition today may be more important than ever.
In this resource I will provide links to everything you could wish to know about the handkerchief:
Types of handkerchiefs
Where to shop
Other Names for Handkerchiefs
I’m a big fan of the “hanky” or “hankie” but here are some other alternative names:
Snot rag (ewww)
The Benefits of Handkerchiefs
In the modern context, there are reasons why I think the handkerchief is more important than ever.
Handkerchiefs get a bad rap when it comes to personal hygiene. People think of blowing a nose into one, stuffing it into a bag or pocket and then germs are everywhere.
Yes, using a hanky in this way is definitely not hygienic but neither is having crumpled tissue papers everywhere. Ultimately, it comes down to how you use them. You can go into greater detail with the link below.
Of course, the HankyBook was created to make hanky’s more hygienic by default, thanks to its book-shaped form that stops germs and ick from spreading.
If environmentalism and zero waste mean anything to you then you’ll probably be aware of the problem with single-use tissues. The amount of energy and resources that go into an item that, when used properly, ends up in the trash moments later is just staggering.
The major benefit of handkerchiefs is that they are more environmentally friendly. They can be used for years – in fact, they tend to get softer with age, so they’ll be even kinder to your skin as time goes on.
And to clean then, just a quick toss in with your next wash and they’re ready to go again. If you get a hanky with 100% organic cotton, like the HankyBook, even better!
A handkerchief is just very handy to have in your back pocket or bag. View below for the Common Uses section as I discuss the plethora of use cases for handkerchiefs.
Style & Sentiment
Because a handkerchief can be part of your life for many years, or decades, it can become a part of your life. Whether it becomes your child’s comfort blanket, or was there to wipe away a loved one’s tears, or upgrade your style on a big date.
The primary purpose of the handkerchief is wiping one’s nose, blowing into it, catching sneezes – basically, it’s there to help your nose. I’d also put covering your mouth when coughing into the same personal hygiene category.
There is a distinct secondary use as a purely decorative accessory, such as a pocket square adding a bit of style to a suit pocket, or as part of a folk-dance in the Balkans and Middle East.
Finally, there is another bucket of uses that I’d just call: life. The hanky has a wide range of practical purposes from wiping away sweat, spills or makeup, to cover your face from dust. Stemming blood flow, creating an icepack, protecting your brow from the sun, filtering dirty liquid – honestly, there are so many uses of the handkerchief I’d be here all day listing them out.
Of course, I encourage you to do your own research. Etsy is a great resource and of course, you can’t beat local thrift and vintage shops.
You can also shop HankyBooks in our online store
Popular Handkerchief Fabrics
If you’re planning to use your hanky for personal hygiene, softness is going to be a big consideration as well as durability and absorbency. I recommend soft organic cotton that meets those three requirements. Always give it a wash first, which will help release the stiffness – and over time it will get even softer.
These days handkerchiefs are made from the following fabrics.
How to Fold a Pocket Square and Handkerchief
Whether it’s to keep germs trapped, or style for a pocket, handkerchief folding is something I get asked about a lot. HankyBook started with an intricate hanky folding method, so the art of folding is close to our hearts.
To help you familiarize yourself with different handkerchief folding techniques, I created the following guides:
It feels funny to talk about joining the handkerchief movement, given the centuries-long history of the handkerchief, but – screw it – that’s what I’m going to do!
I truly believe they are better than facial tissues in almost every way. Everyone should carry a handkerchief, because they’re kinder on the nose, on the planet, and are very handy when life throws spills your way.
Once you’re an owner and a convert, consider introducing them to family and friends. The right handkerchief will make a great gift.
People with runny noses know how many disposable tissues (and sleeves!) they go through. It’s even worse for people like me who suffer from a chronic runny nose.
I’m a big believer in the fact that the humble handkerchief is a much more sustainable alternative to facial tissues. Handkerchiefs are fun, fashionable, functional, and above all, friendly to the planet.
“Now hold on,” I hear you say. “Isn’t it gross and unsanitary to be walking around all day with a cloth of snot in your pocket?” Well, it CAN be, if you don’t know how to fold a handkerchief properly.
Here’s how to fold a handkerchief for back pocket ease of use and, more importantly, to prevent the “ick” factor and the spread of germs.
The ways to fold a hanky for your back pocket
The point of folding your handkerchief properly is for sanitary reasons and practical reasons. When you’re blowing your nose, you want to have a large enough and thick enough surface area to take care of even the most fearsome sneeze you can muster.
Here is a method for folding your handkerchief that will always keep two layers of fabric between your nose and your hands. This would make sure that your hanky traps almost all of the airborne particles in the fabric.
Place your handkerchief on a flat surface
Fold it in half
Fold the left side of the handkerchief in to the center point, and do the same for the right side
Holding the middle of the handkerchief at the center point of the left and the right-hand side, raise it and fold it in half horizontally, tucking the fold underneath
Finally, fold it in half vertically, creating a perfect square.
With this method, you’ll be creating a little book with sleeves that are thick enough to prevent contamination and provide a new sleeve for every sneeze or sniffle. It should fit perfectly into your back pocket with ease.
The problem with the back pocket fold
I used the above method for a long time and I can admit that it works under perfect conditions. But life is not a series of overlapping perfect conditions.
Sometimes you absentmindedly put your keys or wallet in the pocket that you’re keeping your perfectly folded handkerchief in. And you’ll find that it loses its shape and careful folds through the day.
Besides, you’re not always going to have a flat surface available to refold your hanky. And even if you did, refolding your hanky in this way when it’s half used presents its own set of icky problems when it comes to contamination, not to mention the spectacle of having to fold a soiled handkerchief in public. ‘Snot cool!
This is when inspiration struck and I came up with the pre-“folded” HankyBook.
HankyBook: No folding required
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Having struggled with allergies and a runny nose for most of my life, I found that facial tissues weren’t the answer. Besides being unsustainable and expensive in the long run, the constant abrasion of the tissue paper on my sensitive skin caused redness, swelling, and inflamed my allergies.
Handkerchiefs are a more sustainable solution for me, but the folding solution is not perfect.
It was the right idea, but the wrong vessel.
So I got some cotton sleeves together, dusted off my sewing machine, and bound the sleeves together inside of a cover. New sneeze, new page.
The idea behind this is to prevent contamination and contain sniffles, wipe up spills, clean makeup, or replace any of the functions of facial tissues or handkerchiefs. The fact that it’s a “book” with sleeves means that it will free you from the fuss and hassle of folding it, or worrying about what to do when it unfolds through your day.
Best of all, it fits in my pocket ready to be easily pulled out and used at a moment’s notice. No fumbling around for a clean sleeve of a handkerchief, ruining the careful folding process that you can’t easily repeat when you’re on the go, in the office, or in your car. And when you get home, just pop it in the washer to clean it.
Then it caught on
People kept asking me where I bought my very first prototype Hankybook when I used it. I was very surprised at the level of interest among my friends and family, so I made a few more.
Eventually, I launched a successful crowdfunding campaign and we were off to the races. Before I knew it, enquiries were coming in from all corners of the country for HankyBooks.
If you have an issue with sniffles and you’re concerned with the spread of germs, and if you’re tired of facial tissues that are destructive to the planet, maybe you should try the Hankybook. It’s the evolution of the handkerchief, without the “ick” factor.
Now you know how to fold a handkerchief. And why a HankyBook means you may not have to worry about folding at all!
But before I leave you, if you’re interested in hankie folding, you may also be curious how to fold a pocket square for a suited breast pocket. That’s one thing HankyBook was definitely not made for.
As luck would have it, I have a pocket square guide for that right here – 7 folding methods (at different difficulty levels) with photos so you can add some style to your next event.
I hope you found this article useful. Feel free to share it with friends who you think may see the light – the more reusable hanky converts the better for the environment!
The answer will vary depending on whether you have allergies, the season of the year, or other factors. But the answer is probably “A LOT” and the box of disposable facial tissues in your home right now is evidence of it.
It wasn’t always like this. Facial tissues became all the rage as an alternative to handkerchiefs in the early 20th century when the novelty and convenience of a disposable handkerchief had no consideration for the environment. Since then the disposable facial tissue industry has boomed to the moon.
There’s nothing wrong with big companies who produce tissue paper making profits from their products. They have fulfilled a need and that’s why a company like Kleenex has been successful since the year it introduced its disposable facial tissues nearly 100 years ago in 1924.
But as we enter a time of more responsible and eco-friendly practices, we have to ask the important questions in the age of sustainability:
Is tissue paper eco-friendly?
Is tissue paper biodegradable?
Is the process of manufacturing tissue paper sustainable?
Are there alternatives to tissue paper?
Let’s find out.
How facial tissues are made
The majority of facial tissue paper is made from virgin wood pulp. The trees are logged, cut into chips, and then ground into flakes.
These flakes are mixed into pulp by combining them with a large amount of water. Chemical additives such as bleach are then used to soften, strengthen, and color the paper. This pulp is then poured onto massive steam-heated drums to dry the paper, before the tissue is placed on a heated roller to dry the fabric.
This fabric is cut to shape, portioned, packaged in wrapping machines, and finally, packed for distribution.
From seed to store, the manufacturing process of tissue paper is an energy-intensive, water-wasting, and chemically infused operation.
In short: entire plantations are grown for the purpose of being cut down so that we can blow our noses and then throw the tissue in the trash.
Is tissue paper biodegradable?
The short answer to a complicated question is yes, most tissues are biodegradable and compostable. The raw component of facial tissues is wood fibers or recycled material, natural raw materials that will eventually decompose.
However, the additives used to reinforce the paper mean that it can take anywhere from weeks to many months to fully decompose. Environmental factors like exposure to light, air, and humidity also play a key role.
It’s worth noting that most tissue paper is wrapped in plastic. This plastic will take a much longer time to decompose when disposed of. The plastic wrap of the tissue box can resist breaking down into its chemical components for many decades, clogging up landfills and littering landscapes long after the paper products themselves have biodegraded.
Can tissue paper make my allergies worse?
Facial tissues can worsen acne if you have sensitive skin. This is particularly bad if your tissues are scented. Of course, when you have a runny nose, the constant abrasion of tissue paper on the delicate skin of your mouth and nose area can cause swelling, redness, and irritation.
Is tissue paper toxic?
Next time you’re in the store, or if you have a box of Kleenex handy, take a look at the ingredients. Go on.
You’ll find that it contains ingredients such as Parafinum (a petroleum product), isopropyl palmitate (a notorious pore clogger), and dioxins that are released into the environment as facial tissues decompose. Some brands continue to manufacture tissues containing formaldehyde, classified as a “probable human carcinogen” by the EPA.
Is tissue paper recyclable?
Unfortunately, most tissue paper is not recyclable. Once they come into contact with body fluids, grease and food waste they cannot be easily “cleaned” in the recycling process. This is the same story for napkins, toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, etc.
What is the safest way to dispose of tissue paper?
Facial tissues should not be flushed away. They do not degrade safely in septic systems and can cause clogging and blockages.
If you want to get rid of your tissue paper without throwing it in the trash, a home compost in your garden is your best bet.
The facial tissue alternative
There is no “Planet B”, so we have to make a Plan B for our wasteful habits. Using something once and throwing it away is not sustainable. Making better buying decisions in the store definitely helps, for example choosing facial tissues that are tree-free – although this type of tissue paper can be really rough on the nose. They certainly don’t work for my sensitive nose.
In my view, the ultimate facial tissue paper alternative is the cotton handkerchief. That’s right, we’re going full circle – a throwback to the OG.
Handkerchiefs can be used, washed, and reused hundreds of times. In fact, the longer you have them the softer they get. Just toss them in with your wash and they are good to go – again and again.
They are a timeless way to take care of sniffles, coughs, colds, runny noses and any spills in a way that doesn’t harm the planet. Handkerchiefs are easily the more sustainable option than facial tissues.
OK, but isn’t walking around with a pocket of snot all day unsanitary?
There’s using a handkerchief, and then there’s using a handkerchief properly – I created a video hanky folding guide and there are plenty others online.
The basic principle is to fold the handkerchief in such a way that you have a new, fresh compartment to blow your nose into with every use. Proper folding of the handkerchief prevents the “ick” factor that you’re thinking of.
In fact, it was this folding method that inspired me to create HankyBook – a little book where each soft cotton page is a fresh sleeve to blow your nose or take care of any number of little spills that life can throw at you. It’s bound between a protective cover, so it easily slips into your pocket or bag.
Hankybook is much more sustainable and environmentally friendly than facial tissues. It’s a practical and eco-friendly alternative to facial tissues.
If you’re of an eco-friendly mindset, it makes sense to either compost your used tissues or start switching to reusable handkerchiefs. We live in a world full of waste – particularly when it comes to plastic and paper products.
Every small step helps to change habits and reduce the impact on our planet. Are you ready to take that step?
Not only is the constant sniffling a pain, but all the wiping and blowing can lead to your already delicate nose being rubbed raw. Ugh.
At least we have the softness and absorbency of organic cotton handkerchiefs to see us through these troubling times!
Hankies? You mean tissues, right?
Nope. Where have you been? Paper tissues are old news!
Let’s look at the facts. Tissues are:
Terrible for the environment
A single-use tissue takes so many resources to end up in your hand. And then a quick honk on your nose-horn and they go straight in the bin. Or the landfill because recycling tissue paper is actually not easy.
And tissues are made of paper, you know. You’re basically wiping your nose on thousands and thousands of trees!
Hankies, however, are clearly the more sustainable option, mostly because they are reusable. Made out of soft, organic cotton, just toss your handkerchief in the wash to be used over and over again – making the impact lighter on your wallet and on the planet!
People tend to think of tissues as more hygienic than hankies – you simply blow your nose and toss them safely in the bin along with the germs, right?
In theory, yes. But think about it this way: you’re at the supermarket, out at the park, or busy typing away on that new report when you have to blow your nose… are you getting up to find a bin? Or are you quickly tossing it wherever is handy – your bag, your desk, etc?
A bunch of snotty rags stashed in your handbag? Uh… no thanks.
At least handkerchiefs can be folded to keep germs trapped – or just use a HankyBook.
And very unstylish
These days, it’s all about individuality. You can customize everything from your nails to your phone cover to your face mask… so why stick with boring old tissues?
Handkerchiefs, on the other hand, offer an endless range of styles and variations. From a crisp, simple option, to the bright and funky ones, hankies are the perfect way to express your unique sense of style.
Is organic cotton better than cotton?
Is there really that much of a difference? You say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to etc.
Okay, seriously – who actually says po-tah-to? Probably the same kind of person who thinks organic and non-organic cotton is the same! Let’s look at the reality of non-organic cotton:
The main difference between organic and non-organic cotton is how it’s grown. As the world’s most popular material, it can be difficult for farmers to keep up with demand, leading quite a few to resort to artificial ways of speeding up the process.
While organic cotton is grown naturally, non-organic often makes use of… synthetic chemicals.
It may not seem like that big of a deal, but the use of certain chemicals and pesticides can irritate skin and potentially disturb the earth’s soil and water balance.
Less than pure
Non-organic cotton is usually machine-picked, meaning the purity and integrity of the fibers can become lost or damaged.
Hand-picked organic cotton, on the other hand, retains the purity and softness of the cotton, which leads us to our next point…
And just plain itchy
If you want softness and durability in your cotton products, organic is the way to go. Free from irritating chemicals, environmentally damaging herbicides, and hand=picked for strength and purity, this is the only material you want near your nose!
The best organic cotton handkerchiefs
Well, first of all, you definitely want a handkerchief that is made from organic, breathable cotton. Not only are organically sourced hankies better for the environment, but the soft cotton material is also gentle on the skin and ultra-absorbent.
Second of all: why stop at just one? Get a bunch and mix and match your stylish accessories!
So, with that in mind, let’s look at some of the best organic cotton handkerchiefs for all types of people:
Did you know that back in Roman times, hankies were considered luxury items? It makes sense: dainty, elegant and ever so chic, a hanky is the ultimate fashion accessory.
Whether you’re discreetly dabbing away a tear, touching up your makeup, or just love cute swathes of cotton, today’s hankies can be just as elegant and feminine as when our ancestors used them. Just take a look at these pretty pastels or these floral stunners. Throw in this vintage handkerchief and you’ll truly have a stylish hanky for every occasion.
The problem solver
One doesn’t exactly think of organic handkerchiefs in terms of innovation – but they never met me.
An engineer background
A passion for creating sustainable products
A runny nose that never says quit
Those three things were the impetus behind my creating HankyBook’s soft, sustainably sourced, super soft organic cotton “pages” in the form of a book shape that is easy to use AND keeps germs from spreading.
Hankies aren’t just for sneezes, you know. They can also be used to mop up grease spills from your motorbike, the sweat from your brow after a long day of work, or even a tear or two…
Hey, it’s 2021, there’s nothing wrong with shedding a few manly tears!
Especially not when you’re wiping them away with a stylish, masculine option like this one or this one. While bold, darker colors and classic square shapes are timeless, don’t be afraid to let loose and play around with a few polka dots!
The green queen (or king!)
As mentioned above, cotton hankies are great for the environment, especially when certified organic and made out of 100% cotton.
It stands to reason then that any eco-friendly warrior worth their salt would naturally be a fan of these clean and green anti-germ machines. And, with a large variety of plain, patterned or downright unique options to choose from, caring about the planet has never looked this good!
Some people just radiate individuality and charm. They never follow trends – they set them! So, if you are someone who marches to the beat of their own drum – why not blow your nose to your very own personalized handkerchief?
You can customize your hanky with anything from your name to an important date to a favorite quote or saying. Not only will you be blowing your nose or wiping up spills in style, but you’ll also be able to express your personality in a truly unique way. One thing’s for certain: there’s only one of you in the world and only one of your hanky!
The humble hankie has many uses – from blowing your nose to cleaning your hands, to mopping up life’s many little spills and mishaps. Not only are they soft, absorbent and stylish – they’re cost-effective and eco-friendly too. Not bad for a little piece of fabric!
Remember, when choosing a hanky, try to pick out one that is 100% certified organic cotton. Your nose, wallet, and planet will thank you!
If you’ve been wondering how to fold a handkerchief for an oh-so-elegant suit pocket look, you’ve come to the right place.
Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try out a fancy handkerchief fold. Or maybe you tried, and the result was something that looks more like you’ve stuffed a sock in your suit pocket.
Or maybe you used your hanky for…function, and now you are worried about getting your pocket dirty if you don’t wrap up the ick.
Whatever the reason, we are here to help!
Handkerchiefs + Suits = Peanut Butter + Jelly
Styling your suit with a hanky or a pocket square is a must for many reasons:
First, it adds that pop of color you might be missing!
Second, it can complement your tie or bow.
Third, it looks pretty posh! Someone might even call you sir…
Fourth, just to change your look up a bit. The same suit can be given a fresh look with a different fold and pop of color.
A pocket square is truly timeless if you do it right. And now – let me show you how to do it right!
7 different handkerchief folds to cover all occasions.
The Presidential Fold
This is an effortless fold, no origami required! All you need to do is fold your hanky in half (or as many times as you need to fit the width of your shirt pocket. (Side-to-side)
Once you have the width folded nicely, fold it over again at the height (top to bottom), but don’t take it all the way, allow a centimeter or so to show off both edges.
Now you can easily pop it into your shirt with both edges facing outwards and upwards!
Single Corner Fold
This is also quite an easy fold, similar to the first one. We are going to fold our hanky in half, but this time, diagonally.
From there on, we will take the two corners on the outer side and fold them in halfway, one at a time.
You should have a shape with a single corner/triangle pointing upwards and two folds over the middle. This will be the side facing up and out of your shirt pocket.
Double Corner Fold
This one is exactly like the Presidential Fold, but with an interesting and easy twist.
Again, fold your hanky over diagonally, but here is the twist. Have the corners that would touch miss each other slightly so that you have two points next to each other. Now we just repeat the process and fold in the side corners halfway on both sides to allow it to fit in your pocket.
Allow the folds to point outwards and the two tips upward.
It looks intricate, but it took just a few seconds.
Three Corner Fold
By now you should get the hang of these. This time we are going to try three corners/tips. A little more intricate but still something anyone can do.
Firstly fold your handkerchief diagonally as in the Double Corner Fold, allowing the corners to just miss each other at the top. Now you take the left long corner on the fold and fold it upwards, allowing its corner to run parallel to the two tips you just folded. Take the right side and wrap it across and around to hold it all together.
You now have a crown in your pocket!
The Puff Fold
This is as easy as it gets.
Lay your hanky flat down, pinch the centre and pull it up. You should now be holding it in a way that allows all the corners to hang evenly. Now you can take these ends and fold them up if they are too long for your pocket and leave the closed “puff” facing upwards in your pocket.
And you thought creating stylish folds for your suit would be hard!
Upside Down Pinch
Similar to the Puff Fold, we are going to pinch the centre of the hanky and pick it up. Slide your hands over the hanging fabric to reduce the “puff”. Now, taking the pinched centre, we are going to start rolling it into a fold towards the open end.
When the hanky is a pocket worthy size, you can flip it upside down and pop the folded side into your pocket, leaving the ends exposed like an open flower.
So far, so easy – right?
Well, that’s about to end.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for some origami!
We know you can do this, but if you get lost, you can just follow the images!
First, fold your hanky in half, diagonally. Then take one corner and fold it back towards the long folded side. Allow the corner to go just past the folded line. It should now look like a diamond on a square shape.
Take this same corner and bring it back, again just past the folded line. Repeat this process until you have a completed zig-zag pattern.
From there on you will turn your creation over and fold in the sides to fit into your pocket, as with the previous styles.
Pop it in with the zigzags facing outwards and adjust if necessary.
You have truly become the James Bond of hanky origami. You will quickly notice that these folds come quite naturally once you have some practice. Also keep in mind that while these are some of our favorite folds, there are no right or wrong styles!
Give it an extra corner, give it an extra twist, do it upside down or inside out. The only thing that matters is that you feel amazing and dashing!
Handkerchiefs are a great solution. But there’s a new kind of handkerchief that improves and modernizes the trusted hanky: it’s called a HankyBook!
I created HankyBook to offer the most sustainable, hygienic, and stylish product to tackle sniffles, sneezes, sweat and more!
A true, tissue replacement if I do say so myself.
HankyBook is a stylish and multi-purpose set of handkerchiefs, presented in a uniquely charming book form. The lightweight “book” is the perfect travel companion and tissue paper replacement. Store one in your back pocket, bag, or purse and you’re ready to clean up any mess in no time at all. A quick wash and your HankyBook is ready for another day’s work.
To try a HankyBook is to adopt one. Every day you’ll discover new ways for your hanky friend to make your life so much easier (and cleaner!)
Here are a few of the most common uses of the HankyBook.
1. FOR YOGA ENTHUSIASTS
Before you hit the mat, make sure you’ve got your lightweight HankyBook tucked into the waist of your stretch pants. You could even place it right next to your mat for easy access. A runny nose? Sweaty brow? No problem! HankyBook’s absorbent and ultra-soft cotton will wipe away distractions and keep you in a focused state of mind.
2. FOR NURSING NEEDS
Bringing a precious bundle of cuteness into the world is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. But it will also require an incredible amount of work. Babies haven’t quite mastered the art of managing their bodily fluids. So welcome to drool-city, spit-up town, and messy eating village. It is a non-stop cleanup job. With HankyBook you don’t need to accumulate an army of tissues or always looking for a trashcan. You can make your life easier and save money in the long run.
Why not get up to 6 HankyBooks and then two of these stylish, reusable travel pouches. If you get them in different colors, then you can have one for used HankyBooks and another for clean. No more digging around in your bag, trying to find the least used tissue. Just an organized HankyBook strategy for moms to cope with their disorganization-causing bundles of joy. A HankyBook 3-pack will make the perfect baby shower gift for expecting moms.
3. FOR COLDS THAT LEAVE YOU RAW
There’s nothing worse than a cold that will not go away. It’s not just the runny nose; it’s the rawness caused by constantly blowing your nose on paper tissues. Tissues that are so easily left around will invariably spread germs to surfaces where the cold virus can remain for hours or even days. Nobody wants to spread their awful cold to loved ones, but that’s what often happens. Thanks to the HankyBook’s shape, with its protective outer cover, you can now keep the germs away from other surfaces. Not only that but its soft organic cotton is a welcome relief for the raw skin around your nose. Blow with confidence. Blow with comfort. Blow with HankyBook.
4. FOR WORKOUTS AND SPORTS
You’re on the treadmill. Your heart is pounding. Your blood is racing. But your forehead is perspiring, and it’s dripping into your eyes. Oh, and now your nose has also started running. Your workout is about to be interrupted.
That is unless you can reach into your waistband or pocket and pull out a HankyBook. A forehead wipe with one hanky, a nose blow with another, and now you’re back in full stride. HankyBook’s versatility really comes in handy with sportsmen and women of all ages. From wiping away blood after a collision on the courts to drying hands before a deadlift, to even wiping down sweat on gym equipment – HankyBook is what you need.
5. FOR A CLEARER VIEW
The best part of getting a new pair of glasses is that for one brief moment they are completely clear. Every day after that is a constant battle to keep your lenses free of dust and finger smudges. Keeping a cleaning cloth handy, specifically for sunglasses or prescription glasses, is less than ideal. You can try. Chances are you will lose it or always forget it behind. That’s why HankyBook, being a multi-purpose solution that you won’t lose, is the perfect solution. Its soft cotton material is ideal for giving lenses that pristine, first-day look.
7. FOR MOMENTS OF EMOTION
It could be a story that pulls on the heart strings, or a stubborn table greeting a stubbed toe. You might have sensitive eyes, or you might just have a sensitive soul. But one thing is for certain; emotion will bubble up when it’s least expected. With a HankyBook by your side, you always have help to wipe away those tears.
8. FOR MEALS THAT MAKE A MARK
It’s a hot summer’s day, and your ice-cream is melting all over your hand. It’s a lunch break at work and sauce has dripped onto your shoe. Food is messy, and there are times where you don’t have a napkin ready to clean up the mess. That’s why you should always have a HankyBook in your back pocket. It’s so useful for so many things we could have called it the HandyBook. Next time you have an unfortunate spill, a quick wipe with your favorite tissue paper alternative and you can get back to enjoying your delicious treat.
9. FOR CLEANER SCREENS
Laptops. Televisions. Computer screens. We love them so. But, apparently, not as much as dust loves them. Next time the light hits your screen in a way that reveals the true dusty horror, just whip out your HankyBook and thanks to its ultra-soft cotton, you can wipe away the dust without any concern about scratching delicate surfaces.
10. FOR MAKEUP ON THE RUN
Hit the town with confidence knowing that your HankyBook will keep your makeup smearing in check. Lipstick and mascara like to spread into unwanted territory, especially when out dancing or when eating greasy foods. With a HankyBook conveniently tucked away in your small purse you can sharpen up the borders of your lipstick and clean up mascara that’s heading south (under eye). The HankyBook’s soft organic cotton and compact travel convenience are perfect for the job!
11. FOR BITTERLY COLD WEATHER
When the winter months arrive, it brings with it a chorus of sniffles. Sometimes it feels like your nose is running and it’s not. Normally it feels like it’s running and it is. That’s when you need to pull a HankyBook out of your pocket to blow and wipe away those winter blues.
12. FOR CYCLING ENTHUSIASTS
For cyclists, it’s about being as streamlined as possible. Taking an extra bag with a towel, tissues, and all sorts of another paraphernalia is just not an option. The HankyBook’s versatility and lightweight form mean you can simply tuck it under your cycling shorts and hop on your bike. If the wind has your nose running or sweat is getting in your eye, simply slide out your trusty HankyBook, and in no time you’re ready to hit the open road again.
13. FOR TIME OUT IN NATURE
When going on a hike up the mountain or to the forest, you only want to take what is absolutely necessary. HankyBook is the lightweight solution that will save space in your backpack. Use it to blow your nose, hold a piping hot cup, or wipe sweat from your brow. If you respect nature, you don’t want to leave behind a trail of scrunched up tissue paper. Heck, if you respect nature you wouldn’t want to use throw-away tissues made from trees in the first place. HankyBook isn’t just normal friendly. It’s eco-friendly!
14. FOR GREEN THUMBS
If you’re used to working in the garden, then you’re probably used to getting your hands dirty. Whether you want to clear off dirt so you can pull on gardening gloves, or merely want to avoid using your pants to clean your hands because there’s no other option. HankyBook is the perfect gardening companion. And it’s eco-friendly for extra green-thumb credentials!
15. FOR GETTING COOZY
A beverage coozy helps to insulate a cold bottle or can of your favorite drink. On a hot summer day, with no coozy in sight, your versatile HankyBook will comfortable wrap around your beverage. Now you can enjoy refreshing cool sips while others have to slurp warm liquid instead.
16. FOR ALLERGY SEASON
Only those with sensitive noses can truly know how annoying allergy season is. While others deeply breathe in the pollen floating with the breeze, those with an allergy are more like to sneeze. When it sets in it can be solid months of a runny nose and sneezing fits that come at the most inopportune moments. Instead of carrying around a shopping bag full of tissues, just have a fresh HankyBook with you wherever you go. At a moments notice you can have your HankyBook out and ready to save the day. Best of all, you don’t have to chop down a whole forest to cover all the tissue paper that you’d need to make it through allergy season.
If you know someone that suffers from allergies, why not surprise them with a HankyBook? In their sneeziest moments, there is nothing they’d appreciate more.
17. FOR EMERGENCY DUSTING
You have visitors coming over any minute, and you can’t find the duster. Have no fear, HankyBook is here. The versatile little helper is so soft that it will make a perfect impromptu dust remover for any surface. It will wipe off flat surfaces in an instant, exactly what you need when leading friends to an outside table that you forgot to wipe down.
18. FOR THE ULTIMATE BLANKY BUDDY
There is nothing as precious as seeing your little one sucking his or her thumb while clutching their favorite blanky. We never thought of HankyBook as a blanky but apparently, there’s something that infants and younger children really love about it. Maybe it’s our patterns, or how smooth it is to the touch. Whatever the reason, we’ve been delighted to hear about this unexpected use of the HankyBook.
19. FOR BLOODY ACCIDENTS
It is inevitable that in life we fall. When we get up, it’s a relief to have a HankyBook to use as a makeshift bandage, or to dab away blood from a knee scrape. It’s also perfect for bloody noses, which can occur from an accident or on their own. Whatever the cause, they can be embarrassing, awkward, and incredibly messy. If you’re in a (nose) pinch, let HankyBook absorb the damage and save the day.
20. FOR COASTER CONVENIENCE
You have some friends over for a get-together and there are more beverages than there are coasters. What are you going to do – hold onto your drink all day? No, just grab your HankyBook. Its flat shape will protect any surface, and the absorption of the HankyBook cotton is ideal for capturing any dripping condensation. The stylish designs and unique functionality may even make for a great conversation starter.
21. FOR DRY GRIPS
If your hands are perspiring or you’ve just washed them, and there’s no towel handy, reach for your companion HankyBook and get your palms dry in seconds. Next time nerves strike, and you have to shake hands, HankyBook could help you avoid a squishy handshake faux pas that you’ll never live down.
22. FOR SNOTTY SLOPES
Hitting the slopes for a skiing vacation is a luxury that all should appreciate. What you should not appreciate is the mess of fluids that skiing through cold wind will create. From a distance, skiing looks elegant, but up close most faces are anything but. Drool, tears, and running noses are a natural part of the experience. That’s why a HankyBook in your back pocket is the perfect fix to keep your face dry and your enjoyment up.
23. FOR CONNECTING WITH LOVED ONES
We’ve covered a lot of practical uses for HankyBook, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. But we wanted to end on a point that is not so much pragmatic as it is meaningful.
The elegant HankyBook was made for people to enjoy and share with the loved ones in their lives. Whether it’s a husband adopting the gentlemanly characteristics of handkerchiefs of old as he wipes away a happy tear from his wife’s cheek. Or a young woman who one day will look back at her old HankyBook as memories from childhood flood back. HankyBook is your dependable companion as the stories of life continue to unfold.
There are many ways to use the humble handkerchief – from a quick wipe of your brow to catching the, uh, “contents” of your cold.
The beauty of hankies is in large part due to how versatile they are – for men and women! How you use them will depend on the current spillage crisis you have to deal with.
In recent decades the hanky has been largely replaced by the facial tissue, but people are starting to realize that tissues are actually really bad for the environment.
Consequently, people are looking for more sustainable ways to catch colds and clean up spills.
Like it or not, the handkerchief is enjoying a comeback!
If you are already a handkerchief owner you know that a trusty hanky should always be kept close, whether in your pocket or purse. That way, when the moment strikes, you don’t have to panic or search – you simply mop up before things get messy.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the many ways you can use your handkerchief.
Use handkerchiefs to stay sanitary
Do we really need to explain how to use a handkerchief for blowing your nose?
Okay fine, you probably won’t need to take notes for this one:
Simply unfurl your little cotton square, lift to your nose, and blow.
Oh, and maybe duck out of sight if you’re in polite company!
What we found was that handkerchiefs can be just as sanitary if not more than tissues, as long as you fold them to keep the germs trapped.
When you get home, just pop it in the wash and it’s ready for another day of sneezes and sniffles.
Use handkerchiefs to wipe sweat, spills, anything!
Whether perspiring from a hot day or a hectic activity, handkerchiefs have always been a great tool to dab away forehead moisture, dry sweaty hands and generally soak up light spills of any description.
Use handkerchiefs for the environment
In case it isn’t obvious, using wads of single-use paper to blow your nose isn’t exactly good for the environment.
Unlike tissues, handkerchiefs are a sustainable way of wiping away spills and messes without wasting loads of paper.
A good cotton hanky will last years – maybe even decades!
Use handkerchiefs to save money
You wouldn’t blow your nose with a crisp 20-dollar bill. So why do you still spend oodles of cash on tissues?
As anyone who’s ever had a nasty cold will know, you can rack up quite a number of boxes before you’re healthy again. A single handkerchief, on the other hand, will aid you through many maladies before it has to be replaced.
How to get the most out of your hanky
So, now that you’re no doubt convinced of the many hanky benefits, let’s look at some ways to maximize your usage. We can even think of it as Hanky Hacks!
Give it a wash
Imagine being enveloped in soft, comforting cotton. That’s what your nose feels like when you use a handkerchief. If you want to crank it from just soft to ultra-soft, with every wash it will get softer.
Imagine that, a product that actually gets better with time.
Of course, if you want soothing smoothness from day 1, just get a 100% super-soft cotton handkerchief. That’s what I’ve done with HankyBook – my innovative new handkerchief design.
Pop it in your pocket
As you may or may not know, an economy box of tissues doesn’t quite fit into most people’s purses.
And, we’ve more or less scientifically established that nobody uses just one or two tissues.
Luckily, what is a hanky if not portable? Simply pop it in your bag, keep it in your pocket (although traditional hankies don’t make ideal pocket squares), or stash it in your wallet.
Keep it ick-free
If you really want to ascend to the level of hanky master, you must perfect a good folding strategy. A great fold to maximize use and minimize germs can be seen here:
Start with 6 folds on both sides. Once those are messy, flip your hanky inside out for another 2 folds – even 4 if you’re really gifted. The result is over 8 folds to soak up mess, without leaking it inside your pockets.
In fact, I was attempting something similar when I came up for the idea for HankyBook!
So, if you haven’t quite perfected the fold yet, HankyBook is a great alternative. Not only is the folding done for you, but the covers and pages also trap germs to prevent the “ick” from getting anywhere near you or your possessions.
How to clean your handkerchief
Your handkerchief keeps you clean… but how do you keep your hanky clean? And, make no mistake, keeping it clean is essential- you don’t want to turn your lovely helper into a germ-rag.
Luckily, cleaning a hanky is not too complicated. We’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to make things a little simpler.
1. Pop it in the washing machine.
2. And enjoy!
And that’s it!
A quick wash along with your other items and your hanky will be delightfully clean and fresh. Just make sure you put it through a hot cycle from time to time.
You can also add a little fabric softener for extra smoothness.
Don’t have a washer? No worries!
Simply pop them in boiling water and then wash by hand as you would with your other clothes.
If you are a true handkerCHIEF (sorry), you can even give it a quick iron afterwards.
This will help your hanky feel even softer than usual.
How many handkerchiefs should you own?
This one is really down to you.
If you have a sensitive nose a good dozen should keep your nose dry even during the itchier months.
If your nose is as agitated as mine, even that might not be enough.
Check out my HankyBook stash:
When it comes to buying a handkerchief, remember, ladies handkerchiefs come in smaller sizes whereas guys tend to prefer hankies that can double as table cloths.
The importance of handkerchiefs
I hope by now you’re as impressed with the noble hanky as we are! If not, then maybe these extra benefits will do the trick!
Handkerchiefs can help you:
“Oh, honey, I don’t sweat! I glow.” – You, after you mopped off your sweaty brow with a hanky, leaving just a healthy, pleasing shine.
“Oh no! The red wine! All over the priceless end table that I had borrowed for the weekend from my frail grandmother!” – Not you, since you have a hanky handy to help mop up spills and messes before they stain.
You know what isn’t stylish?
Handkerchiefs, on the other hand, can feel like an extension of your personality and sense of style. Particularly a stylish men’s pocket square, like the image below.
“The suspect who liberated the bank of millions of cold, hard cash, could not be identified, due to a handkerchief covering their face and concealing their identity”
No one will ever know…
Need even more handkerchief uses?
Check out our 17 uses of handkerchiefs infographic.
So, in conclusion – hankies are awesome and you can use them however you want.
That’s the beauty: handkerchiefs are reliable, versatile and a throwback that is actually good for the future of our planet. They’re great for men, women, and children.
As for my passion project: the HankyBook – it might be even more versatile as we’ve documented in our “23 uses of the HankyBook” guide.
Whether you go for a traditional handkerchief or a cute HankyBook – it’s time to turn the page on tissues.
In this age of shameless marketing, people are more suspicious about claims stating “eco-friendly” on any product packaging. As they should be! Many so-called sustainable products are really not as eco-friendly as you’d hope. Less about the “green” of the earth than about the “green” in their wallets.
When selling eco-friendly products to consumers who care about the planet, transparency should be a quality all manufacturers strive for. To that end, let me make the case why I think HankyBooks are good for the earth and a genuinely eco-friendly tissue solution.
The Eco-Friendly Tissue Alternative
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.
Now, if that tissue had a long-life then that would certainly begin to offset some of the environmental cost.
Trees are a precious resource. Not least because they act as nature’s own carbon storage. Transforming them into 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.
But single-use tissues are, as the name implies, only good for one use. And because of the chemicals within the tissue, which help to bind the material together, they don’t degrade or recycle well.
If you are interested in sustainability and zero-waste, then no doubt you’re aware of recycled tissue paper and have likely even given it a try. And after a pack and a red, raw nose you probably realized – there must be a better solution.
The Evolution of the Handkerchief
With the HankyBook, I wanted to create a genuine eco-friendly to Kleenex and other tissues. A product created to admittedly solve a very human problem (read about my struggles with sniffles here) but that can also tackle wastefulness at the core of our society by providing a reusable tissue option that you can use 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 synthetic 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.
The tissue is as commonplace today as the handkerchief was a century ago.
But as we become more aware of our impact on the planet, it may be time to wonder: is tissue paper eco-friendly? Are handkerchiefs better for the environment?
Today we’re going to take a closer look at the hanky or tissue debate. Our planet is precious, and people who believe in sustainability want to know how to live an eco-friendly life. We may have a slight bias towards the HankyBook, but we’re going to stick to the facts.
The issue With tissues
Tissue paper is made from the timber pulp and while some of this timber is produced using renewable practices, with new trees replacing those that are cut down, much of it is not.
Kimberly-Clark, the producers of Kleenex, eventually buckled to a Greenpeace campaign (called “Kleercut”) to get the company to reduce the amount of virgin forests (old forests that have been untouched until now, and which are the home to many endangered species) being cut down to produce tissue paper.
However, on their website, they still note that they source 30% of their fiber from the Atlantic Forest – a UNESCO World Heritage site that has seen 85% of its forest removed. The plant and animal diversity in this forest are among the greatest in the world, but their home is being decimated.
Next time you blow your nose and immediately throw your tissue in the trash, spare a thought for the orangutangs, pumas, and the thousands of other species that are being pushed to the edge of extinction.
Are tissues biodegradable and recyclable?
The problem with the tissue paper goes far beyond that of production. Did you know that most tissues cannot be recycled?
The additives used to reinforce the tissues means they should probably not be composted. They will eventually break down, but it can take months or longer, depending on how the tissue was reinforced.
You feel an itch on your nose, grab a tissue and enjoy a satisfying sneeze. Then it’s in the trash. The years it took to make that tissue ends in just a few seconds. Scale that example to the world’s populations and we’re creating mountains of tissue papers.
There are a few tissue brands that use recycled paper. I know: I tried them all. The problem with recycled tissue paper, and why they haven’t caught on, is that they are very rough on the skin. Not exactly a fun experience at all!
Handkerchief Vs. Tissue – An Analysis
While the tissue dominates modern culture, the handkerchief is experiencing a resurgence. The question still lingers as to which option is better for the environment. A deep analysis and comparison of the problem was conducted by Greenlifestylemag, using data from Duke University research on paper and Cambridge University research on textiles.
They compared a 1 g tissue with a 15 g handkerchief. If you think that makes no sense because hankies are reusable, don’t worry, they also factored in an estimate of 520 uses for the full lifespan of a handkerchief — just marginally greater than the few seconds of life that a tissue has 😉
They studied the effects of water footprint, energy, and waste. In every category, they concluded that the hanky was easily the more sustainable option.
With the hanky being the obvious choice for those of us that want a more sustainable solution for sneezes and sniffles, we’re proud to say that the HankyBook is the best handkerchief around. It has practical functions to reduce the use of paper towels and is even more environmentally-friendly than the typical hanky.
If you think that switching from tissue to HankyBook is going to be too hard; think again. In our experience, once someone tries the HankyBook for a few weeks they can’t imagine going back to disposable tissues. See for yourself.
You’ll find that the 100% organic cotton is soft to the touch, that the stitched pages and cover keep germs at bay, and that the stylish design makes it the perfect companion for everything from spill cleaning to nose blowing. When you factor in the environmental footprint and how many forests are being lost to create tissues, paper towels, and toilet paper – it really becomes a choice of significance.
Try your first HankyBook today and enjoy 10% off when you use the code HBSHOP at checkout.
Not too long ago, everyone had a handy-dandy vintage handkerchief, but those old-time hankies don’t need to be antiques off a shelf, there are plenty of ways to give life to a stunning hanky without it having to feel like a fragile hand-me-down from grandma’s grandma…
Vintage handkerchiefs are dainty, pretty but also decorative and functional. They might have some stunning embroidery and patterns that could bring a DIY to life or bring a splash to your home décor.
Are old handkerchiefs worth anything?
Besides sentimental value… it depends.
Collectors and crafters will be the one’s willing to fork out on antique handkerchiefs but it very much depends on the hanky in question – age, condition, type all factor in.
For something special you can potentially sell from $10 all the way to $50 as this example attests:
An antique, white-on-white edged with hand-tatted medallions. A bridal heirloom once converted to a christening cap, it later was used by the original owner’s great-granddaughter as her bridal handkerchief, and has a value of $40 to $50.
What can I do with vintage handkerchiefs?
So what does one do with the frills and embroidery? Well, treat it like fabric!
The first goodie on this list is using it as a fabric square. You can use vintage hankies to make anything that would require some bits and bobs of fabric, a baby burp cloth, a small pouch or a decorative pillow or even a lovely quilt.
Speaking of which, look no further than this guide to turning your vintage hankies into a gorgeous quilt. I know what my next DIY project is!
Whatever you intend to craft, just think creatively. You can sew a hanky on the front of a pillow to give it some style or cut out the embroidery bits for smaller details on an existing cover. The same goes for anything in your house that might need some snazz, including the collar of your shirt. Feel free to use the same method on table clothes, curtain, towels and even kitchen cloths.
To make a small pouch, you can just look up a simple drawstring pattern and turn that vintage square into a retro jewellery bag. This is a straightforward beginner sewing project if you are looking to venturing into a hanky gift or even just a new hobby.
There is obviously a reason why handkerchiefs were such great hits; they are perfect for everyone in the family. It can be a pocket square for dad or even a baby burp cloth for the little one. Luckily, both of these require no changes to the original Hanky, but if you like you can stitch a small towel to the back of the hanky to give that burp cloth some extra thickness or as I like to call it, damage control.
For larger items such as the quilt, you might need a few vintage handkerchiefs. Luckily we are about to get into that. Surprisingly, it is not that hard to find vintage hankies…
Where can I find vintage handkerchiefs?
You can actually very easily find vintage ladies handkerchiefs or vintage fabrics on craft markets and online stores such as Etsy or eBay. This is often where people sell their own if they don’t know what to do with them or if they are just people that used to collect them, so you could put together quite a shopping basket.
If you want to turn this into a bit of an adventure, look up the closest thrift or charity store to find some hidden treasure in between all the boxes and rails, who knows, you might even walk out with a nice coat. Local markets are another great source so next time you’re spending a lazy Sunday at the market, keep an eye out for an eye-catching antique handkerchief that could be the star of your next craft project.
How do I wash and care for a vintage handkerchief?
If you did pick up your hanky from a stranger or a second-hand shop you might want to give it a bit of a clean first before you turn it into a doily. Vintage fabrics tend to fade over time, they might be a bit yellow, but don’t let that worry you! Even some good aging in a storage box can cause discolouration.
Luckily there are easy ways to clean it that don’t include dropping off a tiny hanky at a dry-cleaner.
First of all, don’t bleach your vintage hankies! Bleach will only weaken the fibres of your already antique fabric. Instead, you can mix together equal parts of baking soda, white vinegar and some peroxide and gently rub it into the fabric. If you need to get some tough spots out, gently brush then with a toothbrush. Once this is done, give it a good cold wash and let it dry in the sun.
If that doesn’t work many swear by using fresh lemon juice and salt on the stain and then once again waiting to dry, giving it a cold wash and (hopefully) your vintage hanky will now be strain-free.
What about ironing?
Once again, gentle is the word of the day. Wet the hanky a little, and a mild heat – just enough to press it properly should do the trick. For vintage embroidered handkerchiefs, always iron with the embroidery facing down – ideally with an ironing board that has some nice cushion to it.
Sometimes the best use is the most obvious
While we could spend all day talking about ways to upcycle this vintage token, there is no reason why you can’t use it for its original purpose? Keep it in your pocket to whip away those tears when the bachelor picks the wrong girl, or if one of the kids has a runny nose.
Just remember to also keep a HankyBook in your back pocket for more serious “spills.”😉
Take it from the Handkerchief Lady: one day your HankyBooks will also become treasured keepsakes!
With that being said, vintage handkerchiefs can be quite fun, whether you appreciate sentiment or just enjoy some simple DIY. So don’t be scared to jazz it up and use it around the house, this vintage fabric has clearly passed the test of time, so don’t be afraid to give it some modern, 21st-century love.