Headed towards back to the basics living.

How to Make Reusable Toss’n Wash Handkerchiefs


***A friendly warning: Don’t read this while eating!***

Sneezing? Runny nose? Itchy eyes? Sore scratchy throat? Yeah, me too. Apparently 2/3 of the country is in high allergy alert today. My neighborhood is one of them. And my nose knows it! In my quest seeking less dependence on disposable paper products, I am so glad that I finished up my reusable handkerchiefs yesterday. I have used them several times already and each time I do I feel a little more self-sufficient. I know-it’s a small thing, but just think of how much tissue or toilet paper would be saved if everyone went to reusable hankies.

Are you imagining those embroidered hankies that your grandmother carried or those hankies folded just so in your grandfathers back pocket? Well, I’m not talking about those-not exactly. At the risk of providing TMI here, let me just say I have absolutely no interest in carrying around a virtual booger rag. No offense to anyone who does, but that’s just not my style. I prefer to go with a more in-the-middle sort of approach.

The hankies I’m going to use are reusable and washable but they are much smaller than a traditional handkerchief. My plan is to use them while at home, storing them in a pretty basket until I need one, then tossing it directly into a wash pile after ONE use. This way I avoid all things crusty as much as possible while still satisfying my earth-friendly conscience.

You could definitely make these from scratch using really cute scrap fabric. I don’t really have a lot since I haven’t sewn all that much (yet). The material I do have is home decor-not exactly the kind you want rubbing up against your delicate skin 20 times a day! So, I started with some inexpensive men’s handkerchiefs. I would have preferred all cotton but these are a cotton/polyester blend. I figured I could compromise a bit here since I am going to be reusing them and saving trash from the landfill. Here’s a simple tutorial but I’m sure you can easily come up with a method that works for you.

Step 1. Start with a clean, pre-sewn handkerchief. A little wrinkling won't hurt but doesn't make for as pretty a picture-too late I already cut them all before I reviewed my pics!


Step 2. Fold into fourths. Or if you prefer fold fabric into six even pieces. Using either your hand or an iron make creases for each fold to use as cutting guides.


Step 3. Cut the material using pinking shears to make for no sew hankies. You can always use regular scissors and sew around the new raw edges. Pinking shears just make for less work and quicker finished results.


I originally started with a package of 12. I cut some into 4 pieces, others into 6, so I’ve got approximately 50-60 hankies now. I figure at this rate that should last me about a week and I plan on washing them with my other whites so there’s no extra laundry to do. IMO not bad for a one time investment of about five bucks! Would love to hear if you try this!


3 thoughts on “How to Make Reusable Toss’n Wash Handkerchiefs

  1. Love this idea. I’m totally squimish about “snot rags” but I could certainly deal with “use once and toss in the laundry. Thanks for a super great idea! I especially like this idea for allergy sniffles. I’ll be linking on Facebook!

  2. I have some white men’s t-shirts that recently got washed with a blue pen. I put them aside waiting to figure out what to do with them and now I know!!! I am going to make them into hankies! Thanks for the idea!

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