Keep Your Nose (and the Trees!) Happy

With Winter in full swing we're in the heart of the cold and flu season. The typical abundance of sniffles, coughs and runny noses means that lots and lots of tissues are consumed at this time of year.

Frustrated by escalating tissue use at home, and especially my kid's none-to-thrifty wish for a new square for each blow, last year I decided to try switching to a greener solution: handkerchiefs! Now all three of us have a stash of hankies, and we haven't looked back since.

Handkerchiefs are greener than tissues in two ways. Of course they're reusable -- just throw them in the wash when they need it. But since they're also larger and more absorbent than tissues, I can usually make one hankie last for a whole day. Just fold the hankie with the used portion on the inside, and you've got a neat and dry package that fits in your pocket or bag.

Not only are hankies better for the environment, it turns out that they're better for cold-ridden noses, too. We've each had several of those dreary, week-long colds this season. While even the softest paper tissues leave poor noses red and irritated within a few flu-filled days, with hankies our noses remained comfortable and soothed (well, as comfortable as a nose with a cold can be).

Men's handkerchiefs are readily available in department and discount clothing stores, in standard white as well as a variety of colors and patterns. Women's hankies, which tend to run a bit smaller than men's, can be more difficult to find. I was able to locate several online retailers by searching for women/ladies hankies/handkerchiefs. Vermont Country Store, in particular, has a set of very cute handkerchiefs with embroidered ladybugs.

Happy hankie hunting!

Image from dutch blue's Flickr pool.