The Eco-Friendly Tissue Paper and Handkerchief Alternative

The Eco-Friendly Tissue Paper and Handkerchief Alternative

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.

HankyBook
Me and my Hanky!

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.

Soft to the touch. Soft to the earth.

If you want to learn more about the environmental impact of tissues, I wrote a longer guide focused on handkerchiefs vs tissues here.

Enjoy and if you try out some of our HankyBooks, please let me know what you think.

Hanky vs Tissue: Which is better for the environment?

Hanky vs Tissue: Which is better for the environment?

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.

Forest

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?

Toxic waste
Meanwhile, at Kleenex…

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.  

The Verdict

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.

Handkerchief blow

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 and free shipping when you use the code HBSHOP at checkout.

The Classy Guide to Vintage Handkerchiefs

The Classy Guide to Vintage Handkerchiefs

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.

Vintage handkerchiefs

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!

Handkerchief quilt
An epic work indeed. c/o onelittlepooh,net

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.”😉

Hankybook in back pocket

Take it from the Handkerchief Lady: one day your HankyBooks will also become treasured keepsakes!

Summary

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.

From vintage to eco-friendly and modern

Be sure to check out my 6 picks of hankies every lady should own.

How to Make Felted Wool Dryer Balls (With Video)

How to Make Felted Wool Dryer Balls (With Video)

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 😊

But first:

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?

If you want to learn more, I already wrote a Beginner’s Guide to Dryer Balls so check that out as well.

How to Make Dryer Balls

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

Wool yarn to make a dryer ball

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!

Step One

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.

Cutting an old stocking

Step Two

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.

Step Three

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.

Making a wool dryer ball

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.

Step Four

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.

Step Five

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!

Place dryer ball in stocking
The more balls 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!

Step Six

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.

Step Seven

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!

Homemade wool felt dryer ball
My baby!

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.

17 Handy Handkerchief Uses [Infographic]

17 Handy Handkerchief Uses [Infographic]

I’ve argued that the handkerchief is the most eco-friendly way to blow your nose, catch coughs, and snare sneezes.

I’ve also made the case that handkerchiefs are no more or less sanitary than paper tissues – and that HankyBooks offer the most protection of all.

And now, thanks our new infographic, I want to shed a light on just how handy the hanky can be.

I’ve collected 17 handkerchief uses but there are so many more. Having a hanky on hand can be a lifesaver in a multitude of ways.

Enough yabbering – enjoy the tips below and let me know what I missed.

17 handkerchief uses infographic

17 handkerchief uses infographic

17 Handkerchief Uses

#1 – As a Hanky (duh)

The primary purpose of a handkerchief is as the eco-friendly choice for catching sneezes, coughs and runny noses.

#2 – As a Sweatband

If it’s you running a marathon and not your nose, a 80s makeshift headband does the trick.

#3 – As a Snackbag

Grab a muffin or some biscuits and tie them up in a handy snackbag on the go!

#4 – As a Face Blotter

Mop your brow, the back of your neck, or dab the sweat off your makeup with a soft cloth that won’t ruin your foundation.

#5 – As a Flyswatter

Using the ‘rat tail’ method, roll a man-size hanky and use it to precisely hit any pesky flies.

#6 – As a Water Filter

A hanky can be used as step one in filtering water. It will remove large objects like rocks, sticks, leaves, and bugs.

#7 – As a Face Mask

Whether you are trying to prevent getting sick or robbing a bank, a handkerchief makes a quick and easy mask in a pinch.

#8 – As a Tourniquet

If the robbery didn’t go as planned it can be used to tie around an injured limb to slow down blood loss.

#9 – As a Glasses Cleaner

No explanation needed – wearers of glasses understand the never-ending struggle with fingerprints and smears.

#10 – As a Washcloth

Sometimes there’s no time for a full on shower. Get your handkerchief wet and viola – a makeshift washcloth awaits.

#11 – As an Eye Shade

Enjoying a day out in the sun but no sunglasses or hat in sight. A hanky over your eyes will provide enough relief while you enjoy a siesta.

#12 – As a Headband

Keep your hair out of your face by wearing it as a headband or wrap it around you pony to dress up a bad hair day.

#13 – As a Finger Splint

When you need to support your damaged finger after a nasty accident, whip out your hanky to create a temporary finger splint.

#14 – As an Ice-pack

When life throws you a bump or sprain, wrap your hanky around a few handfuls of ice to reduce the swelling.

#15 – As a Teabag

Call it a hack if you will. Simply wrap and twist your tea leaves in a hanky and seep it in hot water like a tea bag! The queen would be proud.

#16 – As a Make-up Remover

If you want to remove your makeup, put water and some gentle lotion on your hanky and scrub your warpaint away.

#17 – Or Just Get a HankyBook

HankyBooks can do most of the above and so much more. In fact, here are 23 uses of the HankyBook – talk about versatile 😉

The Beginner’s Guide to Dryer Balls

The Beginner’s Guide to Dryer Balls

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.

Colorful dryer balls
c/o architecturaldigest.com

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. 

Head in dryer
I’ve felt better

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! 

Pile of dryer balls
c/o gearbest.com

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. 

Static electricity
c/o thoughtco.com

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.  

Laundry pile
c/o thirdspur.com

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. 

Dryer balls in laundry
c/o walmart.com

And if your cat attacks your precious balls…

Kitten plays with ball gif
Attack!

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.

How to make your own wool dryer balls?

I decided to make my own dryer balls and documented the process (with video!) – it was a really fun project with a surprisingly steep learning curve, so follow my lead and learn more my mistakes.

Summary

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.

Branching out?

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.

6 Ladies Handkerchiefs You Need In Your Drawer

6 Ladies Handkerchiefs You Need In Your Drawer

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!

Woman blowing nose

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).

Dance gif

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.

Marie Antoinette clapping

You’ve got ladies handkerchief questions? We’ve got answers!

How big should women’s hankies be?

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. 

So small gif

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. 

If you’re curious to learn more, I took a much closer look at the environmental impact of tissues versus handkerchiefs over here

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. 

Cotton handkerchief for women

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.

Cotton tissue replacement

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. 

HankyBook: one of the best ladies handkerchiefs

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.

Bridal hanky

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! 

Ladies handkerchiefs

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.

Guide to Best Men’s Handkerchiefs + Our Top 5 Picks

Guide to Best Men’s Handkerchiefs + Our Top 5 Picks

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 gas station.

That’s when you realize – every man should carry a handkerchief.

You da man gif
Via Giphy

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 questions.

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!

Size matters gif

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.

Be sure to check out our guide to pocket squares.

What is the best fabric for handkerchiefs

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.

Plaid handkerchief

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 – this 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.

James Bond gif

Simply place it in your breast pocket, covering your heart, and I guess hope that the bad guy doesn’t go for a head shot?

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.

Camp rag
Rugged

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.

Men's handkerchief

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 yourself again.

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.

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Gift Guide for 2020

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Gift Guide for 2020

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.

Wave goodbye gif
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.

Sustainable gift guide

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.

Brad Pitt dance gif

#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.

Brush with Bamboo

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.

Can I get an amen?

#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.

Coffee Joulies

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.

#5 – Bee’s Wrap

Goodbye plastic wrap. Hello, Bee’s Wrap!

Okay, I feel the pushback coming already.

“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.

#6 – NaturaPure Wool Dryer Balls

NaturaPure Wool Dryer Balls are genius.

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…

Kitten pounce gif

#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.

Eco-friendly gift
We even have holiday-themed HankyBooks!

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.

Have a wonderful holidays!

Happy holidays gif
How to Stop Sneezing and Runny Noses

How to Stop Sneezing and Runny Noses

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.

HankyBook for sneezing and runny noses
Relief!

They fit perfectly in any pocket or bag, and the outer covers prevent germs from spreading!

Try one out – you won’t be sorry.

How to stop a runny nose with home remedies

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.

Such as:

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.

Shower singing gif
The singing is optional

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.   

Spicey food gif
Spice is Nice

And if it doesn’t – well you just had a lovely curry.

Win-win!

Pillow fight

What is worse than a runny or blocked nose keeping you up all night?

Nothing.

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?

Simba sneeze gif
If only all sneezes looked this cute

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 article is 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.

Stay inside

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.

Mrs Doubtfire cleaning gif

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 aren’t helping.

If you have congestion and cold-like symptoms for like a solid week – please get your butt to the doctor.

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.

Wrapping up

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.

It was undoubtedly a life-saver for me.

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