Does anybody still use cotton handkerchiefs?

So it has happened again this week: I forgot a paper handkerchief in some pocket before stuffing it in the washing mashine and the whole laundry is now peppered with tiny paper scraps and they are a pain to remove. I guess this could be avoided if I used cotton handkerchiefs, but then I would have to wash them and perhaps even iron them too. As an added bonus, I believe that cotton is better for cleaning glasses than paper, which can be scratchy on glass. Then again, I would need many, there is no fun in hoarding the things you might wipe up for days in your pocket.
And what about the ecological footprint of paper vs. cloth?
What do you think? I can’t make up my mind, so the default option is to leave things as they are, i.e. keep using kleenex. But on the other hand…

  • I gave up cloth handkerchiefs a long time ago and I am never coming back
  • I still use cloth handkerchiefs

0 voters

I started collected ladies cotton- linen- embroidered handkerchiefs in the eighties. I frequented flea markets, antique/garage sales. Usually I’d pay $2.00 a piece. I had so many that I had a small youth size quilt made for my daughter.
Often I gave them to friends for a funereal/ wedding. I still have a few and keep one in my purse.

Our household has a stash of cotton bandanas that mostly serve as kitchen napkins, but also get used as handkerchiefs, face masks, and for light cleaning/dusting.

They’re patterned and there are a dozen different colors. Fun, reusable, and they don’t disintegrate in the laundry.

I do not own any cloth handkerchiefs, an iron, nor an ironing board.

You’d seriously iron a handkerchief?!

They were hardly ever cotton. They were marketed as a fashion accessory, and were a linen or silk blend, and later synthetics, to retain their neat appearance after many washings. So they were not very absorbent, and not worth a shit for wiping up snot or other messes. You could buy cotton ones, but you got so many as gifts, you never bought utilitarian ones.

I have a couple of cotton ones, decades old, I carry one in my jeans pocket as a general utility tool. But I also carry a litte TP for some needs.

The only made-to-throw-away paper product in regular use in our house is toilet paper.

We do have paper towels but they are only used for truly nasty clean ups (dog vomit for example) and we go through less than a roll a year.

What we do have are cotton bandannas, cotton flannel rags, cotton dish cloths, and a category called “dog towels” which are retired bath towels, some ancient, which are used for anything the previous items are too small for.

I don’t hold with the idea of cutting down forests, turning them into pulp, then making them into one-use conveniences that turn instantly into trash. It’s a shitty way to treat the earth.

I probably shouldn’t admit this but generally if I am outdoors I use what is called a “cowboy handkerchief” aka ‘bushman’s blow’ to blow my nose. Not in public though. Ain’t genteel.

Got some as a gift when I was a kid. The only use they got was parachutes for GI Joes.

To be frank: no. I would have them ironed.

By a significant other or a commercial establishment?

My gf doesn’t own an iron either, but she takes some clothing to a dry cleaner who irons(?) things. I never knew this.

LOL. Me too. Or actually, the opposite. I have to actively tell the cleaning lady NOT to iron them, as they aren’t worth the effort.

I voted yes. Better for the earth and avoids the mess in the dryer.

But my problem is finding the right size. Seems like most of the hankies I see in the stores are 45 cm square. When I fold them into pocket size, the result is a big wad of cloth, which is uncomfortable to sit on. And it makes my ass hot too…

Either my wife would do it or mostly the cleaning lady, that is how we divide the house work: I am responsible for cooking, which includes shopping, car maintenance (including filling it up), keeping an eye on finances and at least once a year cleaning the windows, she for the cleaning the cleaning lady (she comes twice a week) does not do and administrative paperwork. I believe both iron too many things, but my wife likes it that way. Our tacit agreement is: each does his part and does not comment on what or how the other does.
I believe dry cleaners do not iron, but mangle. At least were I live.

Sounds good!

And now I know way more about ironing/mangling than I ever thought there was to know.

Yes, I still use cotton handkerchiefs.

As for laundering, if it has been used it goes in the laundry basket at the end of the day, and a fresh one is brought out the next day. Otherwise, it may reside in my hip pocket, unused, for any length of time.

As for inventory, I have three, that were given as a gift set some decades ago. That seems to have worked as a sufficient number for me since Reagan was in office.

As for ironing, duh huh? The handkerchief gets pressed in my hip pocket, yah?

I remember how in the late 80’s, a friend of mine pulled out a cloth handkerchief to sneeze and I was silently stunned at the display of ancient customs. It was the last time I saw anyone do it.

Indeed: I see that many have answered that they do use them, but I put the “still” in my question because I have so seldom seen them in use since a long time ago. Yes, perhaps the 80’s.

I keep a microfiber cloth in my pocket for my glasses.

As far as walking around with a packet of snot in my pocket, I’ll pass.

My brother uses cloth handkerchiefs. I tried using one briefly, but it wasn’t for me. But I wouldn’t carry around tissue either (unless I had a cold).

Actually, if I have a bad runny nose, sometimes I use an old tube sock as a snot rag. Not in public, of course. (Sorry if that grosses anyone out.)

I don’t use them and never have, but my father-in-law still does, and my dad did till his dying day. Those nasty things were the worst part of laundry day…

My dad always used cloth hankies. And yes, we ironed them! As kids, my sisters and I thought ironing was fun (hahahahahahaha) so my mom would give us our dad’s hankies to iron. They were nice flat squares, so they were easy to iron. I remember discovering the can of spray starch my mom would use on certain things when she ironed. I starched the crap out of my dad’s hankies. They were like cardboard squares.