Things You'll Need
Color safe bleach (if colored hankies)
Shout or OxyClean
Washing handkerchiefs is relatively easy. The hard part lies in making sure the stains and nasal fluids have been completely removed from the fabric before sterilizing it for future use. Handkerchiefs come in many styles, including lace edged and monogrammed. Test any cleaning method on an inconspicuous spot before attempting to clean your handkerchiefs whether you are laundering basic cotton handkerchiefs in the clothes washer or by hand.
Washing Handkerchiefs in the Washing Machine
Address any stains or spots on the handkerchief fabric first. Spray spot remover on the handkerchief as soon as possible after the stain occurs to help prevent setting the stain. Allow the cleaner to work for some time before laundering. Don't let the stain remover completely dry or it might enhance the existing stain or create another one.
Fill the sink basin with hot water and 1/8 cup of bleach (or color safe bleach for colored fabric handkerchiefs). Immerse the handkerchiefs into the water and allow to soak for some time. This step helps sterilize the fabric to remove germs.
Place the handkerchiefs into the clothes washer and set the dial for a delicate cycle. Use hot water to help sterilize the fabric. Include the appropriate amount of laundry detergent for the load.
Either air dry or tumble-dry the fabric handkerchiefs, removing the items from the drier while still slightly damp to help release the wrinkles.
Washing Handkerchiefs by Hand
Soak the handkerchiefs in a sink basin filled with a small amount of chlorine bleach and water to remove germs and bacteria after testing to make sure to the fabric can handle the harsh affects of bleach.
Fill the sink basin with hot water and a tablespoon of laundry detergent.
Immerse the handkerchiefs completely into the water, squeezing the fabric to make sure it absorbs the water. Wring the fabric to make sure detergent gets into the fabric as well.
Allow the handkerchiefs to soak for 30 minutes.
Run clear, cool water over the fabric until all bubbles are removed. Be careful not to wring the fabric too much as this will create wrinkles. Hang the handkerchiefs up to dry.
S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with over three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various websites and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.