Condo Blues: Using Cloth Handkerchiefs – a Good Thing or Just Gross?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Using Cloth Handkerchiefs – a Good Thing or Just Gross?

Ah-ah-ah-choo! Even though the weather is cold and the ground is still frozen, my seasonal allergies have kicked in lately. I’m sneezing and my face is leaking like it’s the middle of July or something – but it’s still only March!

After two weeks of sniffling and blowing my nose, it should be red and tender. Not this time – I switched to using reusable cloth handkerchiefs and boy does my nose thank me. So does my wallet. And maybe the planet does too.

To be honest, I grew up using disposable tissues. As a kid the only hankies in my possession were from my Grandmother and they became elaborately draped dresses for my Barbie dolls (a skill that came in handy when I went to an actual toga party in college) or worn on my head because they were bandanas.

As I was going through my old renaissance festival performer prop boxes I came across some of those old handkerchiefs. I used to carry them with me because obviously they were a lot more period to use then a 21st century paper tissue. Since those performance days are long gone, I figured why not try using those hankies now? If I didn’t like them or found it kinda gross, I always have the backup box of disposable tissues in the bathroom.

Turns out I actually like using the hankies better. They are softer on my nose. Using a handkerchief once and putting it in my pocket or purse for another future use was just like doing the same with a paper tissue so didn’t find it disgusting. And if I did, I just tossed the handkerchief into the laundry hamper and grabbed a fresh one.

Since I already had a few handkercheifs the price couldn’t be beat – free. But you could easily and cheaply stock up on handkerchiefs by checking out a thrift store or eBay for vintage handkerchiefs, or buy a bunch of bandanas or a box of men’s handkerchiefs at a department or dollar store. Just make sure you wash them in washing machine first to soften them up before using them the first time.

Etsy has several sellers who make and sell flannel handkerchiefs. I’m told that using a flannel hankie feels even better on your nose when you’re in the throws of nasty cold than a soft cotton hankie. Flannel hankies are something that I’ve put on my eco To Do List.

Blitzkrieg’s gotten into the spirit too. But instead of using his own reusable cloth handkerchief he likes to cuddle up next to me and wipe his runny nose on my pant leg. Pekinese Snot Love? Doubt it. I think it has more to do with promixty than anything else. Well, at least it’s better than his habit of shredding the disposable tissues I’ve accidentally dropped on the floor.

What do you think? Have you tried using handkerchiefs? Would you try it? Did you like them or not?

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