So, you’ve decided to go all out and trade your paper tissues for cotton hankies? Congrats!
I know that it’s a big decision, that’s why I’m here with tips and tricks to ensure it’s a smooth transition for you. So first things first: how many handkerchiefs do you actually need? Well, it depends. Here’s the gist, so you can adopt as many as you need to maintain a great hygiene and be proud to flaunt your new eco-friendly habit.
Hankies for everyday use!
Sooooo, hygiene standards are different for everyone. But to me, hankies are a little bit like underwear: you should have one for every day of the week. That being said, if you go commando and your hanky stays untouched, no need to change it the next morning! So unless I’m sick (read on below for that use case!), I rarely use more than one a day. But to each their own. For my hubby Thomas, it’s a different story. He likes to carry his thick handkerchief around for a few days at a time (he prefers a double-ply hanky, for more absorbency!). You see, it’s a question of comfort—if you’re okay with blowing your nose in a 2 or 3 day hanky (provided you’re virus free!), by all means, it’s that much more eco-friendly.
If you’re more like me, you’ll want to have between 5 and 7 handkerchiefs in your collection. And if you’re more like my husband, 2 or 3 hankies should suffice.
Hankies for different uses?
Another way of looking at it is to have one hanky per use. Not sure where I’m going with this? It’s actually quite simple. Are you planning a good workout? Bring your sports hanky with you to wipe the sweat off your brow. Are you planning a picnic outdoors? Bring your extra-large handkerchief with you as a cloth napkin. Are you suffering from allergies? Carry a fresh TSHU around to catch your sniffles. Are you attending a wedding? Pull out your nicest hanky and wipe your tears with it as the bride says, “I do.” The advantage of this method is that you can use your handkerchiefs in different ways, without risking having snot on your food and smell sweat as you blow your nose! Of course, you’ll need to wash the lot regularly to keep the experience pleasant.
So, how many hankies would you need if you use this method? I’d go for 5 to 7 handkerchiefs – that should cover your needs!
What if I’m sick?
That’s a good question. If you’re sick: quarantine yourself! (no, seriously!) It’s sort of a myth that cotton handkerchiefs are less hygienic than paper tissues. In truth, it all depends on how you manage your hankies (or your paper tissues, seriously!). So here’s my quick and dirty guide to hygienic hanky using when infected with a virus:
- WASH YOUR HANDS ALL THE TIME. Before you blow your nose, and after. ALWAYS.
- Store your handkerchief in a Handkerchief holder or a little cloth pouch between uses (AKA don’t leave them lying around with your germs!)
- When your hanky is packed with mucus, throw it in the dirty laundry bin—or if you’re on the road, keep a cloth bag handy for soiled handkerchiefs.
- You guessed it—keep another bag filled with extra hankies—clean and pristine to renew the lot and keep blowing your nose in clean, dry, soft cotton (your nose will thank you!).
So, of course, this takes a little more organization, but there is a lot to be said for opting for cotton handkerchiefs in times of snotty despair:
- No more shredded paper tissues everywhere in the wash (you’re welcome)
- No garbage overflowing with snotty Kleenex
- No reusing balled up disintegrating tissues
- No more getting your fingers wet after a big blow
Tell me the truth: you’re convinced already, right? I thought so.
Back to how many handkerchiefs you need when you’re sick – I recommend having 8 to 10 hankies in your collection.
What if I’m a gentleman?
So you’re a gentleman? I heart you. And there is a specific etiquette to follow for gents handkerchiefs. Elementary, but I’m happy to explain: you need one for show, one for blow. Your handkerchief, you can blow in—and reuse. The one you keep for a damsel in distress—NO TOUCH! That one’s for show. Psssssssst—and if you’re a strategic gentleman—we encourage you to pick a bold pattern you love to blow, and keep clean pure white handkerchiefs close to offer when needed.
In this case, you could have 3-4 handkerchiefs for yourself – and 2 or 3 to hand out.
What if I have kids?
That one’s a bit tricky. Maybe you share everything with your kids. Maybe you’re more of the disdainful kind. In any case, to avoid catching all the lovely viruses your little munchkins bring home from daycare-parties-school-hobbies, you might want to keep your hankies separate. A smart and easy way to convince them to adopt their own is to pick a mini-hanky meets washcloth such as the mini-TSHU with a pattern they are nuts about (their fave animal for instance: giraffes, elephants or deer!). Plus, if they get all sticky after a snack or scorch their knee, you can moisten the bamboo washcloth face and wipe your sweetie clean.
To recap, you’d want to get a set of hankies for yourself (5 to 7 is what I’m comfortable with on a weekly basis) – and 3 to 4 bamboo washcloths for your child.