How to Wash Handkerchiefs With Mucus?

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handkerchiefs on a clothesline

Washing handkerchiefs is not rocket science, but if you are just starting off—or if you’ve run into a few hiccups—it can be useful to learn the tricks of the trade to make your experience more positive. Here’s our take on washing hankies filled with mucus! 

No Soaking Needed

Good news: no need to panic! Dealing with handkerchiefs is super simple. No soaking, no pre-washing, no bleaching, no separating the hankies from regular laundry, no chanting, even. 

hankies go in the regular wash

Two Simple Tricks

There are two main problems you can encounter as you attempt to wash your cotton handkerchief:

Primo: Mucus Stains

  • What does this mean? It means that the snot that was on your handkerchief did not dissolve in the water. You may notice small dark stains – perhaps even a few little bumps – on the lining of your two-ply handkerchiefThat’s it! If you are using a black handkerchief, it may not be as noticeable, but the surface of your hanky won’t feel nice and soft when it comes out of the wash.
  • How does it happen? If the water temperature is too cold, the snot simply won’t return to its liquid mucus state and won’t “melt” (and vanish, as by magic!) in the wash.
  • How to fix it: Make sure to set the temperature on your washing machine to 30 degrees to ensure the snot melts and gets cleaned off with other foods and stains.

Segundo: Sticky Snot

  • What does this mean?
  • It means that your handkerchief is loaded and has congealed. Opening it up may feel like pulling a Band-Aid off a hairy leg.
  • How does it happen? If you fold your handkerchief when it’s nice and moist… The sides stick together as the mucus dries! (this is perfectly normal people, no stress)
  • How to fix it: Pull the Band-Aid off before throwing your hanky in the wash! Yes, you’ll most likely cringe a little bit as you hear the “krrrrssssht”, but this will allow your handkerchief to be thoroughly cleaned.
pile of laundry: just add cloth handkerchiefs!

How to Wash Your Handkerchief?

Now that you know all this, let’s recap the steps you need to follow in order to wash your handkerchief with mucus:

  1. Lay your handkerchief flat (your hanky shouldn’t be bunched up in a ball or folded in two or four parts in order to wash properly).
  2. Throw your hanky in the wash along with other clothing items. If you wash your underwear or bed linens separately, you could throw in the handkerchiefs with these. Otherwise, any wash will do. Group alike colours, if you can (white with whites or pale colours, red with red, orange, black or pink, etc.). 
  3. Set your washing machine for a normal cycle, making sure the water is at least 30 degrees warm.

How to dry your handkerchiefs?

In order for your handkerchief to stay pristine, we strongly recommend drying your handkerchief out in open air. Why? Well, because it requires no energy at all (you’ll be saving money, too!)—and because if you place your hanky in the sun, you’ll even get a little antibacterial action in, too. Note that the sun may eventually lighten your colours though (the sun is a powerful little thing!), but on the bright side, your handkerchiefs will smell like summer. 🙂

If you’re in a rush or if you like the smell and feel of machine-dried cotton handkerchiefs, we won’t judge you – but know that a little bit of shrinkage is not uncommon – despite the fact that all fabric (here at TSHU)  is pre-washed and pre-dried in the machine. Make sure the handkerchief you are tossing in the dryer can handle it though – some materials such as knits or silk should never EVER meet your dryer!

hankies drying in the sun

Ta-Daa! Enjoy Your Clean Hanky!

Rinse and repeat, people. You’re all set!

What If?

What if we haven’t answered all your questions? Well, we’re just a phone call or an email away, so please feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to help! You can even leave a comment below with your questions and we’ll answer them ASAP. That way, fellow hanky users can benefit from the extra tips, too!

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Marion Poirier
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