Facts on Handkerchiefs

Paul Goyette

Handkerchiefs have a variety of uses: from fashion accessories to health and beauty aids, these tiny pieces of cloth have had a valuable impact on many generations.


Handkerchiefs (also known as hankies) have been around since the fourteenth century, when Richard II of England is said to have been the first to use a small piece of linen to blow his nose.


There are 12 different ways to fold a handkerchief, including the Four-point fold, the Presidential and the Astaire.


Most handkerchiefs are made of linen and cotton cut in squares and folded in fours.


Only a few countries in the world still use handkerchiefs regularly for their original purpose (to blow a nose), as it is considered unsanitary in the United States and many European countries.

Fun Fact

Handkerchiefs are often waved to express celebration during soccer matches, especially in South America.