What Is The Standard Handkerchief Size? Complete Guide

Have you ever reached for a handkerchief to dab away sweat on a hot summer day, only to realize that it’s too small to do the job? Or perhaps you’ve tried to blow your nose with a handkerchief that’s just too large and bulky? This may seem like a small issue, but the size of a handkerchief can make a big difference in its effectiveness and convenience. So what is the standard handkerchief size?

Typically, a handkerchief’s dimensions are around 12 inches by 12 inches, although historically, women have tended to use slightly smaller handkerchiefs that measure 8 inches by 8 inches. 

In this blog post, I will explore the importance of handkerchief size, how it can impact your daily life, and why you might want to reconsider the size of your go-to hanky.

Standard Handkerchief Sizes

Handkerchiefs have been used for centuries for a variety of purposes, from wiping away tears to covering one’s face from dust and pollen. As such, the size of a handkerchief can greatly affect its function and design.

The most common handkerchief sizes are around 12 inches by 12 inches, but they can range from as small as 6 inches by 6 inches to as large as 18 inches by 18 inches. The size of a handkerchief is typically measured by its length and width and is labeled as such (e.g. 12″ x 12″).

The size of a handkerchief can play a significant role in its design. Smaller handkerchiefs are often used for more formal occasions, while larger ones are more functional and practical for everyday use. Handkerchief sizes can also vary based on cultural and regional traditions. For example, in Europe, handkerchiefs tend to be smaller, while in Asia, they are often larger.

Additionally, there are both standard and non-standard handkerchief sizes. Standard sizes are more commonly found and widely used, while non-standard sizes may be more difficult to find and tend to be used for specific purposes or occasions. Some non-standard sizes include miniature handkerchiefs (less than 6 inches by 6 inches) and oversized handkerchiefs (larger than 18 inches by 18 inches).

How to Make a Handkerchief At Home?

How to Make a Handkerchief At Home

Making a handkerchief is a relatively simple sewing project that can be done by hand or with a sewing machine. Here are the basic steps for making a handkerchief:


  • Fabric (cotton, linen, or another breathable fabric works well)
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread


  1. Begin by selecting your fabric. Cut a square of fabric to your desired size, typically 12 inches by 12 inches.
  2. Fold the edges of the fabric over twice to create a hem. Pin the edges in place and sew the hem using a straight stitch, either by hand or with a sewing machine. Repeat for all four sides.
  3. Optional: You can add a decorative touch by adding embroidery or lace to the edges of the handkerchief.
  4. Once the hem is sewn on all four sides, trim any loose threads.
  5. Wash and iron the handkerchief before use.

That’s it! With these simple steps, you can create your own handkerchief. Handkerchiefs make great personal accessories or gifts for friends and family, and can be customized to match any style or occasion.

Choosing the Right Handkerchief Size

Personal Preference and Style:

When choosing the right handkerchief size, personal preference and style are important factors to consider. Some people prefer larger handkerchiefs that offer more coverage while others prefer smaller ones that are more discreet.


The occasion for which the handkerchief will be used is also an important consideration. If the handkerchief is intended to be worn as a pocket square with a suit or formal wear, a smaller size is typically more appropriate. However, for outdoor activities or as a bandana, a larger size may be more suitable for better protection and versatility.

Tips for Pocket Squares:

When choosing the right size of a handkerchief for pocket squares, it’s essential to match it to the size of a jacket pocket. If the handkerchief is too large, it will bunch up and look messy. On the other hand, if it is too small, it will look out of place and provide inadequate coverage. A relatively standard size for pocket squares is around 12 inches by 12 inches.

Tips for Nose-Blowing:

The size of a handkerchief for nose-blowing will vary based on personal preference and the intended use. However, a typical handkerchief size is around 8 to 10 inches square. Some people prefer thicker, absorbent fabrics such as cotton or linen for this purpose.

Tips for Bandanas:

Bandanas come in different sizes, but typical sizes range from 18 inches to 22 inches. The larger sizes provide more versatility and coverage for the head or neck, while smaller sizes can be tied around the wrist for a fashion statement.

When Should I Wash a Handkerchief?

Handkerchiefs are a personal hygiene item, so it is important to wash them regularly to avoid the spread of germs and bacteria. The frequency of washing will depend on how often you use your handkerchief and for what purposes.

As a general rule, it is recommended to wash handkerchiefs after each use. This is particularly important if you use them to blow your nose or wipe your mouth, as they will become soiled with mucus and saliva.

If you use your handkerchief for other purposes, such as as a fashion accessory or decorative item, you may be able to wash it less frequently. In these cases, you can use your own judgment as to when the handkerchief needs to be washed based on how soiled or dirty it appears.

What Are The Best Ways to Clean a Handkerchief?

What Are The Best Ways to Clean a Handkerchief

Handkerchiefs should be cleaned regularly to maintain hygiene and freshness. Here are some simple steps to follow when cleaning a handkerchief:

  1. Pre-treat any stains or soiled areas on the handkerchief. This can be done by applying a small amount of stain remover or laundry detergent directly to the affected area.
  2. Wash the handkerchief separately from other laundry items. Use hot water and a mild detergent to ensure that any germs and bacteria are effectively eliminated.
  3. Avoid using fabric softener, as this can make the fabric less absorbent and reduce the effectiveness of the handkerchief.
  4. If you prefer, you can hand wash your handkerchief using warm water and a mild soap. Gently agitate the fabric to loosen any dirt or debris, then rinse thoroughly.
  5. After washing, hang the handkerchief to dry. Avoid using a dryer, as this can damage the fabric and cause shrinkage.
  6. Once dry, iron the handkerchief on a low setting to smooth out any wrinkles or creases.


What is the size of a ladies handkerchief?

The size of a ladies handkerchief can vary, but it is typically around 10 to 12 inches square.

How much fabric do you need to make a handkerchief?

To make a handkerchief, you typically only need a small amount of fabric, often less than half a yard. The exact amount will depend on the size and style of the handkerchief.

What are the different types of handkerchiefs?

Some different types of handkerchiefs include cotton handkerchiefs, linen handkerchiefs, silk handkerchiefs, and monogrammed or embroidered handkerchiefs.

What’s the difference between a handkerchief and a hanky?

There is no real difference between a handkerchief and a hanky – they are just different names for the same item. Both terms refer to a small piece of fabric used for wiping or blowing one’s nose.

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