I bought my first handkerchief last year as an investment into a more sustainable lifestyle. I honestly didn’t expect much from a small swatch of fabric, so I kept it concealed in my backpack. However, a year later, I now have a growing stack of vibrant patterned squares rotating through my weekly laundry. There are the most obvious uses: to blow your nose, wipe off sweat, tie as a headband, or tuck stylishly in a pocket. But more advanced handkerchief owners will tell you the uses are absolutely endless.
A handkerchief can be used as a dust mask in a pinch, used as a sack to gather fruit from the farmer’s market, or used as a towel after a spontaneous dip in the lake. A handkerchief doesn’t just catch the sweat from your forehead, it collects memories through your adventures, revealing new uses each trip. Here’s a list of ways to use your trusty handkerchief, many of which couldn’t be done with a regular tissue:
- Cleaning cloth. Your reading glasses, sunglasses, phone screen, laptop screen, camera lens, car mirror… all everyday things that will require a soft cloth for cleaning.
- Dust mask. Whether it’s to avoid germs or urban air pollution, a dust mask is an important tool to have in your daily kit. Luckily, a handkerchief can be made into a dust mask in under 90 seconds.
- Towel. Perhaps you catch some rain on your commute to work. A handkerchief is light enough to dry off your hands and face. Tie it to your bag to dry it off in the sun!
- Sun shade. Wrap a handkerchief around your neck to protect from sun exposure and harmful UV rays. If you need to cool down even further, dip your handkerchief in cold water and wrap around your neck to regulate body temperature.
- Washcloth. A handkerchief will save the day in the event of a wardrobe spill or emergency clean up!
- Napkin. If you’re already bringing your lunch in a reusable container, why not try a reusable napkin too? Your napkin can even double as a to-go container!
- Carrying case. A handkerchief can be tied and used as a bag or wrap to hold small items such as fresh picked fruit. The art of wrapping with fabric is known as Furoshiki in Japan.
- Sleep mask. Tied like a bandanna, pull a handkerchief over your eyes for some easy rest during a flight.
- Emergency bandage. Technically any fabric will suffice as an emergency bandage, but having something routinely accessible can make the difference when you’re in an emergency situation.
- Fabric patch. A wardrobe emergency can be challenging too. Using your travel sewing kit, some spare fabric can act as a gusset for quick garment repairs on the go. Even without a sewing kit, a handkerchief can be tied or wrapped to create a makeshift garment.
Why not give it a try? Owning a handkerchief can change the way you view the world around you. A handkerchief over time will reveal its endless uses and priceless qualities, appearing as a solution to problems you’d least expect. Every purposeful use engraves a memory of a time when you were truly prepared for life on-the-go. Get Yours Now.
Written by: Nick Marchese (Visual Merchandiser at Topdrawer)