‘Zero Waste Handkerchiefs’ Questions Answered

“They can be easily made out of an old sheet or t-shirt or fabric scraps.”


What’s one of the easiest ways to cut down on unnecessary waste? Swap out your tissues and serviettes for handkerchiefs!

Handkerchiefs are a timeless yet almost forgotten tradition. They represent an old way of thinking where items were purchased with the intention to reuse over and over. These days, they have been replaced by single use tissues that are extremely and unnecessarily wasteful.




How do you store your handkerchiefs?


Handkerchiefs can be easily stored in your day bag, car, bedroom, office, kitchen, anywhere you would normally keep a box of tissues. When I’m travelling, I always keep a few in my day bag so I can use them to blow my nose or to wipe my hands after eating food as just a couple of examples.

One easy way of storing your handkerchiefs in your home is to set up two large or tall mason jars. One full of new, clean handkerchiefs and one empty for the dirty handkerchiefs to go into. These can easily be kept in each place you would normally keep a box of tissues.


Contents of my day bag


mason jars


But aren’t handkechiefs dirty?


No, of course not. You’re handkerchiefs can be laundered. So as soon as you have finished using one, just chuck it in the wash (or your ‘dirty’ mason jar). It’s that simple.

Remember to clean your ‘dirty’ mason jar regularly so germs don’t build up in there.

I personally, am happy to use the same handkerchief a couple of times before laundering it, provided I’m not sick. This benchmark is definitely up to the individual though.

And since they have to be laundered, you may find that you will use them less. Instead of just mindlessly reaching for a tissue every time you have a sniffle or make a mess. You may find other tissue-less ways to deal with whatever needs cleaning up.


Where can you buy handkerchiefs?


Handkerchiefs can be be purchased online or generally at a department type store (they are usually stocked in the men’s section). Or, if you enjoy sewing or DIYing, you can even make some yourself. They can be easily made out of an old sheet or t-shirt or fabric scraps.

I purchased mine at Target but when I’m home next, I’d love to have a go at making my own!


Won’t it be expensive to buy a lot of handkerchiefs?


It really depends on your personal situation as to how many handkerchiefs you will need to buy and keep stocked in your various life areas. But keep in mind, that this will probably be a one time investment.

Everyone is different, some have allergies, some are prone to getting sick and others have medical conditions, while some people are lucky and don’t have too many nasal problems. It’s also fair to say that people use tissues for many other reasons than to just blow their noses.

In 2016, 68.5 million Americans used 2 boxes of tissues in a 30 day period (1). If this is based on a regular box of tissues that costs about $3.00 for 100 tissues over a lifetime of approx 70 years (not including the first 18 years). $6.00 x 12 = $72. $72 x 70 = $5040.

In that same year, 8.1 million Americans used 8 or more boxes in a 30 day period. With the same equations, it comes out to approximately $20,160. Woah!!!

After seeing these numbers, I’m completely convinced that not only are handkerchiefs much better for the environment but they are great for the wallet too.


Can the same principle be applied to other products also?


Yes! This same principal can be applied to replace many other types of disposable products. You can buy or make your own cloths to use instead of disposable sponges and dusting cloths, paper products, anything! Wash cloths for the face and to clean make-up off. Dish cleaning cloths. House cleaning cloths and rags. They can be used instead of paper towels. They can be used to remove nail polish. The list goes on. There really is no need to use disposable tissue or sponge products in your life.


Me and my handkerchief


Spread the word! Let’s bring the handkerchief back into vogue again and help eliminate a huge area of waste!

Love Kat xx


One Comments

  • Jared dirksen

    May 29, 2018

    I like hankies too


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