Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow
..Besides their intended use, they could be used for cleaning equipment, polishing shoes, cleaning hands and face, signalling for attention, as a sweat band, neckerchief, as protection from dust inhalation, to repair footwear, cut out pieces to patch clothes, cut up as emergency firearms cleaning patches, Molotov cocktail wick (fire-bomb), hot cooking utensil holder, a makeshift bandage, tourniquet, or arm sling...” – Wikipedia

Were you one of those ladies/gentlemen who used handkerchiefs? Do you still use them? Is your preferred handkerchief as fancy as the one in the picture (below)?

  1. sk says:

    This handkerchief looks like a tie & the colour so feminine. Usual shape is square but this one is elongated Have not been using for a long time. We used tissue now. In our young days, when we have a cold, we tie a knot at the end of the handkerchief & pour the inhalant liquid, – Vapex (cant find it now) . Have to be careful not to put too much or take a deep breath. It stings. As boys, we used to cover our face playing Cowboys & Red Indians. Well known brand is pyramid but dont know if it is still popular.

    • Ngai C O says:



      When Kleenex came along, it went out of fashion. And rightly so as it is a harbinger of bacteria, viruses and a main source of spreading infections.

      I still notice some older generations (not being ageist) blow their noses, followed by wiping their foreheads and then wiping their mouths.

      All these potentially infectious material then transfers to other people through shaking hands, transactions, door knobs, public transport handle bars etc.

      How much more unhygienic can it get.

  2. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear felicia

    In the paragraph you quoted above, it is said that one of the alternative uses of a handkerchief is “to repair footwear.” I’m still trying to figure out how!

    Anyway, you’re right that handkerchiefs used to be a commonplace. In the tropics they came in very handy to dab away sweat. I remember seeing Ipoh school-boys, who had to wear white shirts to school, sometimes folding and wrapping white handkerchiefs around their shirt collars, because it was easier (and less expensive) to wash (or replace) the kerchiefs than the shirts. In the old days, men wore detachable collars for much the same reason.

    • ika says:

      I still carry a handkerchief every day, but these days it is used primarily for polishing nu spectacles.

      My mum used to give me hell when I used my white handkerchief to dust off my black school shoes as, inevitably some polish would be left on the white material.

      As a young apprentice in the Royal Navy we would often use a white handkerchief on top of our collar to disguise the fact that we were still wearing a blue work shirt rather than change to a white shirt.

      Handkerchiefs were also good for wrapping up food taken from a buffet and smuggled out to eat later in the day!

      I can only imagine that repairing footwear refers to the white cotton sicks that, unlike the woolen ones that could be darned, but had to be patched. I doubt anyone darns or patches their socks these days.

      An anecdote, Naval officers used to wear black silk socks with their military evening dress. Should a poor young officer get a hole in the toe or heel perhaps he would use part of his black silk handkerchief to repair

    • felicia says:

      Hi there Ipoh Remembered. I was hoping someone out there could tell us more about “repairing footwear” using a handkerchief. 🙂

      • Ngai C O says:


        Google Handkerchief – Wikipedia to find out more what people used it for.

        Of course, it served many other purposes as users improvised.

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