Use a hanky? Seriously?
This is exactly how I reacted when Matt suggested I purchase some “pretty lady hankies” a few years ago. My 91-year-old grandpa and my own husband were the only two men I knew who carried handkerchiefs. I thought Matt’s hanky use was disgusting, and there were several parts about hankies I was totally uncomfortable with. (My grandpa is allowed to do whatever he wants, but Matt’s hanky use was very personal since it was happening in my house!)
I inundated Matt with questions (and disapproval) about hankies for a long time. “What about a REALLY runny nose?” “What happens when it gets all filled up?” “Do you stick it back in your pocket all wet?” It didn’t matter what his answers were… I was totally grossed out.
Then one day I had the mother of all colds. Matt brought a handkerchief to my bedside and I finally had to admit to him… it wasn’t that bad! However, I did NOT let people know about my hanky use right away – I was a closeted hanky user for a while.
At first I would borrow one from Matt ONLY when I had a cold. (It didn’t leave my nose raw and red like tissue did from repeated wiping.) The next step was leaving some in my bathroom at home where nobody would see them, and using it ONLY in the privacy of my own home. (Avoiding all possible awkward conversations about hankies.) When I got a little braver I started carrying one in my purse, but ducking behind things when I needed to use it. I’m still not to the point where I will fling it out of my back pocket, shake it open, and confidently empty the contents of my nose into it while in public – although I’m pretty certain that’s socially unacceptable no matter what. I now carry a hanky in my pocket or purse, leave one on my dresser, and a stack in the bathroom. I have fully replaced facial tissues with pretty lady hankies! (A shout out to my mother-in-law here for gifting me several very cool family heirloom hankies that she encouraged me to put to use!)
I have found that switching over to hankies, and completely ditching disposable facial tissue, is really just a matter of mentally overcoming the “ewww” factor. Now that I’m over it, I can clearly see the benefits of handkerchiefs over regular tissues.
Five reasons to use a handkerchief
It saves money. I used to love coordinating all the cute tissue boxes with my bathrooms (wow, that’s marketing at its finest), but I estimate we probably spent $20-$40 per year just on facial tissue. Not a huge savings, but I can certainly think of other things I could use that money for. We have not purchased a box of tissue in almost a year, and the tissues we purchased before that were to keep available for guests.
It produces less waste/saves resources. I have been so thankful for handkerchiefs as we strive to go paperless in our house. They take up very little space in the laundry and prevent our trash from filling up so quickly. Keep a stack of hankies in an easily accessible drawer in the house so family members aren’t tempted to use the paper alternative.
Hankies are more comfortable to use. Tissues used to make my nose raw after prolonged use. My 100% cotton hankies feel very nice on my face. As far as the moisture in the hanky goes… without going into graphic detail, I’ll just say that it all works out somehow and hasn’t been an issue for me. After using a hanky, it can be folded up, tucked away, and it’s usually dry the next time you pull it out. (And if this grosses you out, you can always grab a fresh hanky!)
Hankies create less of a mess. Hankies don’t leave any particles behind, and never rip as I’m using them. The white fuzz left on Matt’s face after using facial tissues is a thing of the past. (I kind of miss being able to laugh at this.) Hankies won’t create trouble in a load of laundry if accidentally left in a pocket–and we’ve all had this laundry mis-hap with tissues. Picking a gazillion of those little white tissue remnants off clothes coming out of the washer? Ugh! Never again! In fact, you’ll just end up with a clean hanky if one is left in a pocket.
Hankies are more sustainable. Handkerchiefs are a much more sustainable replacement for facial tissues AND many other things. Think about replacing other things in your home with hankies…paper napkins, paper towel, toilet paper, tissue paper, or other things around the house that might currently be disposable. We no longer have to worry about running out of tissues. In the past, when the last tissue had been used, we would grab for toilet paper and frantically run to add tissues to the grocery list. With hankies, you can grab a fresh one whenever your current one is getting icky, and you can forget about a trip to the store.
Although hankies have changed things for the better in my house, I’m not suggesting you have to become a full-on handkerchief-wielding fanatic all at once. Test it out at home to see if you like it… take baby steps into the world of handkerchiefs. Make your own hankies with scrap material or dig out an old bandana to use. Check Etsy, Amazon, or your local dollar store if you want to buy a package of cheap hankies. You might just find yourself hooked!