Greener Every Week – Use a Handkerchief

Switch to fabric handkerchiefs instead of tissues to save money and the planet

“Greener Every Week” is my ongoing series in which I do one (cheap, easy) thing every week to make my home or lifestyle more healthy & eco-friendly.

I am slightly allergic to cats. I have three cats. This means I go through my fair share of tissues. Or I used to, until I switched to old fashioned cloth handkerchiefs.

I used to think fabric hankies were sort of gross (I mean, who wants to carry around a bunch of snot?) But after using them for a couple months now, I’m sold! I got six organic, bamboo handkerchiefs (who knew they made fabric out of bamboo? Not me. But it’s super soft and awesome.) from an Etsy vendor (the ones I bought are here but if you search “organic handkerchiefs” you’ll find plenty of options)

I also got myself a cute little bag that I can keep them in (who doesn’t want an excuse to buy cute little bags on Etsy?)

It’s got an organic plastic lining on the inside and it fits perfectly in my purse. (If you do a search for “small wet bag” you’ll find a lot of options for these, too.) I keep a few handkerchiefs in there at all times, and then when they are dirty I throw them into the wash along with my napkins and microfibers. Nothing to it. And it feels so much nicer on my nose to use a super soft, organic fabric instead of tissues. It’s positively luxurious, I tell you. Not to mention the money I save on tissues!

Does anyone else use fabric handkerchiefs or am I totally old-fashioned? I kind of want to get them monogrammed just to be extra fancy. Maybe I can also start wearing a monocle. Tut-tut, cheerio!

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7 Comments

  • I used to use handkerchiefs exclusively when I was an undergraduate. I had some gorgeous antique lace ones, some plain ones, and a bunch of beautiful Japanese hankies that my Japanese penpal gave me as a gift. I also got used to them very quickly and loved using them–not sure why I stopped! I think it may be time to revive the habit. 🙂

  • i love hankies too!
    the soft, organic bamboo ones are fantastic.
    i also have some soft, pretty, cotton ones found at thrift stores and antique stores. lovely!

  • We gave up kleenex a couple years ago. Didn’t go with organic or anything but bought 3 or 4 packs of men’s hankies at the big box store and keep them in a basket on the back of the toilet. It took a while to convince my hubby but now it’s super easy and he’s always got one in his pocket 🙂 We just toss them in the laundry basket and wash with the rest of our clothes. Glad others do this, too! Sometimes I get funny looks when guests use the bathroom. Once someone noted how nice it was that we have individual towels to dry hands. I didn’t have the heart to say it was a snot rag…. love going green!!

  • Hey, Jessica! I love your blog! When I was a kid, my father used to use nice white handkerchiefs. I started using handkerchiefs because my son had moved to Portland where he rode a bike all the time in the rain, all of which made his nose run. The problem was successfully using a tissue with one hand that wouldn’t fall apart or blow away. He got those big Army & Navy colorful bandanas, and I loved the idea so much that I started using them too.

  • My Mum had hankies stashed all over the house when I grew up. There was usually one stuffed in the corners of a chair or under pillows. I feel lost without one and it is annoying to have an outfit with no pockets … or Long sleeves … stuffed in bra.
    Bamboo is excellent for its anti bacterial properties so very appropriate for noses.
    I had a dish cloth in fairly sturdy bamboo that remained white and seemed cleaner for a whole lot longer than plain cotton, but it didn’t last as many washes and I haven’t found a replacement.

  • I tried my sons on organic cotton flannel hankies last year and it was a monumental failure. They hated them, I have lots for me now but there are times when we really hit hayfever time or cold season and there are never enough hankies in the house, or all their pockets. Heavens knows how I’d keep up if I had to keep buying endless packets of tissues.

  • I grew up with my aunt who was obsessed with handkerchiefs, she had hundreds and would iron to hem keeping them in near piles in her dresser. I love the soft feel of cotton on my nose and would never use anything but a cotton handkerchief. I prefer the large white ones that I buy by the dozen and always keep an ample supply on hand. They’re easy to wash and helps the environment as well!
    Linda

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