Thursday, March 14, 2013

Handkerchiefs: A Stylish, Green Alternative to Facial Tissue

Vintage handkerchiefs from Cobblestones.

Since I love all things grandma, I'd always thought handkerchiefs were cool. But when I saw my glamorously eccentric friend Regina pull a brilliantly patterned square of cotton from her purse and actually use it to blow her nose, I knew I had to have one. Pretty and practical? Sign me up!

We went to her source for "the best handkerchiefs": Cobblestones, a vintage store in the East Village that's been around for over 30 years. There, owner Delanie handed me a basket of dozens of gorgeous used- and cleaned- ladies' handkerchiefs to choose from. I ended up buying two floral patterned ones for a total of $10. I thought that'd be enough, but now I wish I had more.

Brett and Kate at The Art of Manliness write, "The handkerchief is to the tissue as the reusable diaper is to Pampers." According to, North Americans use 50 lbs. per person of tissue papers per year. This includes all facial tissues, toilet paper, and paper towels. I'm not sure how much of that can be reduced by using handkerchiefs, but every little bit helps.

Pre-soaking handkerchiefs.

Tips for success with switching over to handkerchiefs:
  • Keep a back up hanky in your purse, along with a little pouch to put hankies into once they're too soiled to reuse. Remember to empty this at night.
  • Handkerchiefs can be tucked into your sleeve or decolletage, according to Miss Manners. (I rarely wear clothes with pockets so I appreciate this idea.)
  • Tuck a handkerchief under your pillow at night.
  • Handwash hankies with gentle (ideally fragrance-free) detergent. Pre-soak them in water with a splash of vinegar or table salt to kill any germs.
  • Keep track of clean and dirty hankies with stylish, labeled bins.
  • Have plenty! This way you'll have a fresh hanky every day, can wash a bunch at once, and be ready in case you get a cold. You can find vintage ones online at Etsy and Ebay. There are new, organic cotton ones on Amazon. You can also make your own: rolled hem or standard
  • If you don't feel comfortable using a handkerchief? Check out The Hankie Book. It's a "book" handmade of organic cotton "pages", so you easily get a fresh wipe every time!

Do you already carry a handkerchief? If so, can you share strategies for making the switch from Kleenex to handkerchiefs? If not, would you consider using them?

Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was helpful. Let's stay connected: Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin' // YouTube
Follow on Bloglovin
Consider supporting this blog by shopping via my Amazon shop or buying my green cleaning eBook. Thanks. 

Subscribe to my mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format


  1. Great idea! Thank you for sharing and for visiting us at pret-a-vivre :)

  2. Those are beautiful handkerchief! I will have to look for them while I'm out thrifting. I'd consider carrying them.

    1. I bet you'd find great handkerchiefs. You have the best thrifting luck.

  3. my grandmother would have a stash in her purse every sunday for church...but i don't carry them. i decided to use vintage ones as a favor for my wedding and gave them to our moms and grandmothers. my grandfather used them too, but i guess people are turned off by them since they cannot be disposed of after being used and don't want to carry a dirty one around. but i will admit, they are more cost effective for sure!

    1. I love the idea of vintage handkerchiefs as a wedding favor!

    2. stop by today if you would like the chance to win a collection of handmade jewelry;)

    3. i would so i will. thanks for making sure i didn't miss this!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...