Are you considering making the switch from paper tissues to handkerchief? A cloth hanky has many advantages such as better absorbency, softer material, waste reduction and added style. Yes, this marvel of a snot rag is the quintessence of accessories to relieve your nose while doing good for our beloved mother Earth.
It’s all about the handkerchief
How to use a handkerchief
You may be wondering how to use a handkerchief? It’s quite similar to using paper tissues, but you’ll want to learn how to fold your handkerchief once it’s used and how to store it between uses. You might also enjoy learning the numerous benefits that come from using hankies.
In order for eco-friendly habits to stick, they have to be better than their disposable alternatives. You’ll want to adopt a handkerchief with characteristics that match your taste: one that you simply adore, a handkerchief with mad swag. You’ll also want to get a sense of what materials are available and the advantages they each carry. Thickness and absorbency should also be considered.
The origin of your handmade handkerchief
If you’re into reducing waste and making better choices when it comes to your eco-friendly lifestyle, chances are you’re not a fan of child labour. You might even be curious to learn the craftsmanship that makes your handmade handkerchief so special and why you should opt for a hanky that has been ethically made.
Buying a handkerchief
Once you’ve gathered all the facts, you might be ready to make a move and buy a handkerchief. Where to buy one that perfectly matches your criteria? How to stay on budget and determine if they’ll last for a long time? You might also be interested to learn how to shop for the perfect gift, if you’re looking to share the love.
Making the switch from paper to cloth
Perhaps you’ve been considering this zero waste swap for a while now, but you need an incentive to make the leap of faith. Here are a few things to consider:
- When selected carefully, handkerchiefs are much softer on the skin than paper tissues.
- If of good quality, hankies really absorb fluids, so your fingers won’t get wet when you blow your nose.
- Some people report that using cotton handkerchiefs helps reduce their allergy symptoms.
- A hanky can turn into an emergency accessory to wipe a child’s hands/mop up a spill/wipe a sweaty brow/attend to a booboo or even hail a cab—and it won’t disintegrate when it’s wet!
- Using a handkerchief has a strong environmental impact.
It’s more than a simple hanky
A handkerchief is much more than a piece of fabric intended to relieve your nostrils. It’s a conversation starter, it’s a statement, it’s a game changer. Sporting a cool handkerchief will no doubt stimulate debates on consumption, waste reduction and lifestyle.
It’s all you’ll ever need
Once you go soft, you’ll never go back. And the great news is: handkerchiefs are made to last. By choosing your handkerchiefs carefully, building a small collection and caring for them well, you can probably get a lifetime use out of your handkerchiefs. It may seem like a substantial investment at first, but consider how much you or your family spend on paper tissues each year … and do the math!
Introducing handkerchiefs to your lifestyle
Just like any change you integrate into your lifestyle, introducing hankies should be smooth. Why? Because drastic changes often don’t last and stepping out of your comfort zone and creating new habits should be something that you do gradually, one small step at a time until you’re ready for more. For instance:
Start carrying a handkerchief around with you at all times. Consider keeping one handy in your pocket or purse, neatly folded or tucked in a handkerchief holder for better hygiene.
When you are at home or on your own, try using your handkerchief. Experiment with the new sensation and don’t hesitate to toss your hanky in the wash when you’re unsure how to manage its contents.
Once you’ve grown to liking the sensation of using your cloth handkerchief and you’ve developed some skill when it comes to blowing/folding/storing/reusing—dare pull out your handkerchief in public.
Dealing with hygiene sensitive issues
Once you’ve gotten the hang of using handkerchiefs, you may be ready to deal with hygiene sensitive issues, like using a hanky when you’re sick. The real perk of using soft, cotton hankies when you have a cold is that they don’t irritate your nose as much as paper tissues. But you may be wondering how to manage the “mess” that comes with.
Using handkerchiefs when you are sick (and staying home)
If you have the luxury of staying at home while you recover, you won’t have too much trouble setting up a system:
- Keep a pile of clean handkerchiefs close to you.
- Place a little basket next to the pile.
- Blow your nose and toss your handkerchief into the basket, for the wash.
- Remember to wash your hands between uses.
By following simple hygiene rules (single use + handwashing here), using cotton handkerchiefs is just as hygienic as using paper tissues. And let’s be honest: how many people have you seen use paper tissues, tuck them back in their pockets and go about their day with dirty hands? Point made.
Using handkerchiefs when you are sick (and on the road)
Using hankies when you’re sick and away from home takes a little bit more planning to work, but it’s not rocket science.
- Keep a pile of clean handkerchiefs in a cloth bag, ready for use.
- Bring a second bag along with you, to store dirty handkerchiefs. Consider using a bag made from PUL, which is waterproof and will keep your germs neatly contained until you’re back home and ready to do laundry.
- Blow your nose and toss your handkerchief in the second bag.
- Remember to wash your hands between uses. If you don’t have access to water and soap, consider keeping a bottle of hydroalcoholic gel to disinfect your hands frequently.
Falling in love: a must
Like all zero waste alternatives, handkerchiefs will have a special place in your heart and your lifestyle provided you love them dearly:
the way they look
the way they feel
the way they make you feel.
Take the time to choose them carefully and experiment with different fabrics, styles and thicknesses… And you won’t regret it!