Facts on Handkerchiefs

by Tammy Dray ; Updated September 28, 2017

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.

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About the Author

Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.