• 17 Ways to Use the Handy Dandy Hanky

    October 25, 2017 • ECO HOME, GUIDES

    How to use an organic cotton handkerchief or hankyMany of us remember the good ol’ hanky uses from our youth – mum giving us (a hopefully clean) one from her bag when our small noses were running, our grandmas or embarrassing aunties licking their (hopefully clean) hankies and rubbing it on a smudge on our face (probably making us dirtier than we were).

    But as we grew up, we realised how fantastic the dandy hanky really is.

    Not only can you cram a few in your bag, never having to worry about a tissue shortage again, but they’re a great zero-waste alternative to keep your shnoz dry.

    Little did you know though, there are a lot of handy handkerchief uses than just dealing with your sniffle.

    The Many Uses of a Hanky!

    Face Blotter

    Mop your brow, the back of your neck, or dab the sweat off your makeup with a soft cloth that won’t ruin your foundation. Because we all know we need this when the inevitable Australian summer comes.

    Make-Up Remover

    Alternatively, put water or some gentle lotion or coconut oil on the hanky and wipe off your make up, MacGyver style!

    If you don’t need to remove your makeup like MacGyver, we have these beauties to help.

    Wet Wipe

    One of the many handkerchief uses is that of a general wet wipe – just wet with water and use on your face, hands, someone else’s face (hopefully someone you know), under your underarms on a hot day – the possibilities are endless! Just make sure you have a wet bag to put the hanky in or let it dry by tying it to the outside of your bag.

    Neck Cooler

    If it’s a particularly hot day, wetting your handy-dandy hanky and putting it around your head or neck will mean it’s much easier to cool off. Although wearing a necktie is a fashion statement you may or may not aim for.

    Headband or Bandana

    Going from wet to dry handkerchief uses, you can style your hanky as a bandana or headband! This may be because it’s hot and you want to keep the sweat out of your eyes, or you realised your outfit needs an extra something. But if you decide to accessorise, for Pete’s sake, please check it’s clean – boogers on headwear aren’t in style.


    You can use your hanky in a pinch if there’s no paper towels – looking at you, public restroom! This also saves you wiping your wet hands on your jeans and is a zero-waste alternative (not that your jeans aren’t a zero-waste alternative, but damp jeans aren’t fun).

    If it rains while you’re outside, you can also use it to dry your hair and face, provided your bag didn’t get wet inside. If it did, maybe you can wrap your hanky with a hanky (hanky-ception)?


    There’s no need to reach for a single use napkin – you can use your hanky to wipe your mouth and hands after eating. Although make sure you wash your hanky as soon as you get home. You don’t want your bag smelling like falafel.

    Takeaway Container

    Speaking of takeaway, your hanky can be a container too! If you’re buying a dry item on the go, you can ask for them to pop it in your hanky, so you can enjoy those protein balls or cookies zero-waste style. Although you may want to say you’re handing over your ‘clean cloth’ or ‘deconstructed bag’ to the person serving – if you say, “I want my protein balls in my hanky, please”, it might get weird.

    If you don’t want it to get weird, you can also carry a container with you! You can see all our awesome food containers here.

    ‘Furoshiki’ It

    Furoshiki is a Japanese method where you get a big piece of cloth and tie it in different ways to make a bag. While you may be limited to how big your hanky is, you can still tie a makeshift baggie to hold small things. It’s like the container idea above, but let’s be real, we’re eating those cookies right away.

    First, lay your hanky on a flat surface, put the item in the middle of it. Take the two diagonally-opposite corners of the hanky. Tie them together over the item, and do the same for the other two corners. Then just pick up the bundle from the knots and you good to go!


    Because a hanky is essentially just a large piece of square cloth, you can do almost anything with it, including just wrapping stuff! If you have a clean (and particularly nice) hanky, you can wrap a present in it. You can also wrap up food (preferably dry) if you’re without containers or are wanting to ditch plastic wrap. Then, after you eat the food, it doubles as a napkin! That’s ingenuity.

    For other food wrap solutions that will free your hanky for different tasks, see here.

    Tea Bag

    Speaking of food, you know when you have loose tea leaves and want to make tea, but don’t have a strainer? Me neither, but it probably happens – if you have a plain, natural hanky, pop the leaves in there, tie it in a bundle, and seep it in hot water like normal! This will most likely work for camping, general travel, or when you’ve accidentally sold all your tea infusers.

    (Psst, all our delicious teas can be browsed here.)

    Drink Coaster

    If you’re craving a cold drink, you can fold up your (non-manky) hanky and pop it under your drink as a coaster. It will absorb the condensation and save the drink slipping everywhere, and again, napkin!


    If you manage to hurt yourself and don’t have access to a Band-Aid, a hanky will do the trick. Just wrap it around the affected area to stop bleeding or soothe the wound, leaving you more time to seek actual medical assistance. Just don’t pop the red-stained hanky back in your bag – blowing your nose later may give you a fright.

    Glasses Cleaner

    Everyone that has glasses knows a hanky is an invaluable resource. Glasses (and even sunglasses) get dirty, and provided your hanky isn’t either, it makes for a great cleaning cloth.

    Dust Mask

    If it’s hot and dusty, or cold and windy, you may not want to breathe in that air; putting your hanky up to your mouth and nose is a quick solution.

    Impromptu Repair Fabric

    Even if you don’t have a sewing kit with you 24/7, a hanky is good for small clothing repairs. If your shoe breaks, you can wrap your exposed foot to protect it; you can tear your hanky into strips and make a belt; you can even pin the hanky to your clothes with a few safety pins to hide a bigger tear!

    Offering it to others

    At last, revenge is yours! Lick your own hanky and rub someone’s face with it. Hopefully just your children’s faces.

    But honestly, the difference between giving someone a hanky and a tissue is enormous – a tissue is thrown away after use, but a handkerchief is personal: it’s softer, gentler, and a very kind gesture to offer.

    Shop Organic Cotton Handkerchiefs at Biome

    But where can I get a lovely, natural, organic hanky for all my newly-discovered handkerchief uses?

    Well, Biome has an awesome range to choose from!

    Shop organic cotton handkerchiefs at Biome here >