Ways to Use a Bandana pt. 1

Posted by Elise Antonio on

Here at the Preserve, we LOVE bandanas (or handkerchiefs as we call them when they’re 12” or tinier). We carry them everywhere, wear them around our neck, tie our hair up with them, blow our nose with them... they are seriously so useful and should be carried everywhere you go! We’ve listed 12 out of a bajillion ways you can use a bandana below. 

To shop our handmade bandanas, click here 


  1.  1. As an accessory
    Wearing bandanas in your hair or around your neck is not a new trend – it’s pretty timeless. Especially if you have different patterns, it’s a really easy way to dress up an outfit. (shown – 18” bandana)

Our newest baby hanks are the perfect size to wear around your wrist or ponytail ! They aren’t bulky, and can be easily untied in case of an accidental coffee spill. (shown - 9.5" baby hank) 

2. As a napkin 
Having a variety of bandanas in different patterns/colors and using them as napkins for a dinner party is a fun and colorful way to dress up a table. (shown – 18” bandana) 


  1. 3. To cover your face from dust/snow 

    Bandanas are great for keeping your face warm and dry while skiing or snowboarding. You can also wear them while doing work that potentially involves inhaling fine particles. (shown - 20" bandana)


    1. 4. Sweatband/ camping buddy 
      Bandanas are the perfect tool to take with you while hiking because of their versatility. They make great sweatbands as you are traversing mountainsides and need something to keep the sweat off your face. They also make excellent camp pot holders (below), can cover your face from bugs, can be used for trail markers, and in injury scenarios, can be used for bandages and splints. Make sure to always have a hankie while you're out camping and backpacking! (shown - 20" bandana)



  1. 5. Potholder/kitchen aid 
    Like the above post mentioned, bandanas are great for holding pots and using them for serving. It's almost summertime which means a lot more outdoor dinners! I always have bandanas in my kitchen drawer in case I need to handle a hot pot, clean up a spill, or need something to cover food from bugs outside while we wait to eat. (shown - 18" bandana) 


  1. 6. Neck cooler/warmer

    When it is chilly out, I love to iron my bandana and wrap it around my neck right before I leave the house. It keeps me warm all the way to the bus! You can also throw these in the freezer on a hot day and use them to cool off while working in the garden or working on your mimosa during brunch! (shown - 18" bandana)


  1. 7. Wrapping paper
    Using a bandana to wrap presents is really a gift within a gift. Not only are you cutting down from disposable wrapping paper, but you're also giving the great gift of a bandana that your loved one can use over and over again. There are many great tutorials on how to wrap gifts in cloth as well as wrapping everyday items for carry (this technique is common in Japan and is called furoshiki). I love the look of gifts wrapped in cloth. I also love how practical it is to wrap everyday items furoshiki-style.  Click here to see some tutorials of furoshiki wrapping. We hope to incorporate larger wraps (32" x 32") in our inventory  later this year! (shown - 18" bandana)

bandana, handkerchief, the preserve
give the gift of your favorite book wrapped in a bandana

furoshiki-style wrapped bottles - 32" wrap shown 


  1. 8. Bib
    Bandanas have long been used by mommas as baby bibs with good reason - they are soft, versatile and washable! I even use my bandana as a bib on occasion like when eating BBQ or when I'm particularly hangry :) (shown - 18" bandana)  


  1. 9. Dog style
    My parents' dog Bea and me often share our handkerchiefs while I'm up visiting them. I can't resist putting a colorful bandana around her neck to 1. to accentuate her beautiful caramel fur 2. to gain some free advertising when I'm out walking her. Dogs and bandanas go together like peanut butter and Kongs. (shown - 18" bandana) 

my parents' baby Bea

bandana, handkerchief, dog, puppy,
Wester, my boyfriend's parents new pup who was just getting used to the idea of bandana as an accessory and not a chew-toy


  1. 10. To-go pastry wrapper
    Nothing is better then taking your favorite pastry to go in your own beautiful bandana! Wrapping the treats up furoshiki-style just feels so old-school cool to me. I love that it also doubles as a napkin and a makeshift plate. Triple score! (shown - 19" bandana)


  1. 11. Sunglasses case and cleaner 
    I've lost many a sunglasses case, but I don't worry because wrapping my glasses up in a bandana works well and keeps them from getting scratched up in my purse. It won't protect them from crushing pressure, but it will keep your sunnies clean and safe while traveling. Plus the bandana doubles as a lens cleaner. (shown - 17" bandana) 


  1. 12. Hankie 
    the classic way to use a handkerchief, keeping it in your back pocket and using it to blow your nose! It is a rare day when my partner, Mark, doesn’t have a hankie on him for this very purpose. He’s been using a sustainable hankie for many years and inspired me to make my own! (shown - 20" bandana) 

Candid shot of Mark in his element 


This list is far from comprehensive and gives only a sampling of the uses for a bandana. What have you used bandanas for? Share in the comments below! 

Thank you for reading pt 1 of our bandana series. Look for pt 2: Ways to style a bandana soon! 



  • I love the ideas! All of them! I really like the sunglasses wrap idea! And of course I’m partial to the dog bandana – your models are adorable!

    Maryellen on

  • Love it, Elise! I was unaware of how much I could use bandanas before being inspired by your Instagram. Now I keep thinking about them and I am all for the comeback of the bandana! Will be ordering some soon :) Thanks for sharing <3

    Sophi on

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