Ode to a Handkerchief

2014-10-010As fall allergies threaten to morph into a head cold sooner or later, I’m striving to keep a handkerchief in my pocket at all times. I know I’ve mentioned (more than once) my love of these earth-friendly accessories, but lately I feel like turning my praise up a notch, for anyone still on the fence about adding these to their dresser drawer.

Reason #1: Most allergy sufferers will tell you that a teary eye (for some reason one eye more than the other and sometimes only one eye) can be the most annoying symptom during allergy season. It always felt like a ridiculous waste of a tissue to dab at one eye. What’s worse, a tissue actually makes it tear even more! Paper tissues can’t help but have tiny particles (tissue dust?) on them, which, in turn, can’t help but irritate the eye. A clean, cotton handkerchief, however, dries my tears without causing any new ones.

Reason #2: We stopped using paper napkins and paper towels more than a year ago, and I just can’t bring myself to replace my toilet paper with reusable cloth toilet paper , so giving up tissues, when and where I can, seemed reasonable. I’ll admit, my family still uses disposable tissues when one of us has a serious head cold (no one wants to risk spreading those germs), but a handkerchief can get us through probably 75% of our tissue use each year. That’s nothing to sneeze at!

Reason #3: I rarely use a handkerchief or tissue in front of someone else, but occasionally  a sneeze catches me by surprise and I have no choice. No matter how neat you try to keep the package of tissues in your purse, there’s something so much classier about pulling out a clean cotton handkerchief, instead of a wadded up tissue. Even better, a handkerchief doesn’t leave my nose red and raw, doesn’t tear in two while I’m using it and doesn’t leave any more residue on my hands than a regular tissue (likely much less, considering how much larger and more absorbent it is).

Reason #4: Yesterday, I was taking clean clothes out of the drier and discovered I’d left my handkerchief in my pocket. If you’ve ever left a paper tissue in your pocket when tossing your clothes into the washer, you know the havoc that thing can wreak on an entire load of laundry. Now, it’s actually nice to find my hanky got clean along with the pocket it was in. Plus, no fancy folding is necessary – I just tuck it right back in my pocket.

My collection of handkerchiefs isn’t very exciting – mostly plain white ones, bandanas, and a few I’ve made from scrap material. But I do have one lovely, embroidered “lady hanky” and one that my father left at my house (with his monogrammed “E” on it). I’m watching yard sales and second hand stores, thinking it will be fun to collect vintage hankies, so be sure to let me know if you see any!

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