Why my Bandana was Saved from the Donation Pile

62 Reasons Why my Bandana was Saved from the Donation Pile--by Guest Contributor Emily S


Multiple Colored Bandanas Over the years I have accumulated a collection of bandanas which I have received from various events, activities and as gifts.  After their immediate use had passed I would wash, fold, and tuck them away in my sock drawer.  About a year ago while I was doing some spring cleaning, I came across my collection of bandanas and decided that since I had never used any of them, and they were just taking up room in my drawer it was time to get rid of them.  So I did what any good spring cleaner would do and tossed them into the donation pile.


I always have second thoughts about parting with things, thinking that I may have a use for the item at some later point in time, and it’s in those moments that the words of my grandma would come to mind “waste not, want not.”  So, as guilt and separation anxiety set in, I started thinking of all the ways I might be able use these colorful gems. 


My first thought was to just stuff them in my 72 hour kits and forget about them.  But as my mind started reeling, I began jotting down other uses for my bandanas.   Then I wondered what other uses people had for their bandanas, so I did a little research and came up with a total of 62 uses for the bandana.  Do you have bandanas in your preparedness kits?  How do you use your bandanas and what other ideas do you have?

1. Hair Tie – Pull it up, Pull it back, Tie it up or Tie it back Bandana Hairstyle
2. Head Covering – Protect your head from sunburn or from insects
3. Handkerchief – Wipe/dry nose or brow
4. Neckerchief or scarf – Wrap around neck for warmth or sun protection
5. Neck Protection – Tuck under hat and drape nape of neck
6. Head/Sweat Band
7. Hat Band
8. Belt
9. Halter top – for the littler ones
10. Ear Muffs
11. Clothes patch
12. Face Mask – Protect your mouth/nose from dust, smoke, bad odor
13. Diaper (in a pinch)
14. Neckband – wet with cold water
15. Napkin - Wipe mouth or hands        Bandana Napkin
16. Wash cloth – dry or wash hands, face, feet, and body
17. Hand Towel
18. Apron – tie one corner to each your front belt loop
19. Dry dishes
20. Toilet Paper
21. Feminine Hygiene
22. Dry tears
23. Clean scrapes
24. Tourniquet
25. Sling
26. Wrap – Sprained ankle, wrist, elbow
27. Compress
28. Bandage
29. Nap sack
30. Pre-Filter water
31. Filter coffee, or tea
32. Cover or wrap food
33. Bib
34. Placemat
35. Pot Holder
36. Wipe fruit
37. Fan – Shoo away pesky flies/insects or cool yourself
38. Insulate an Ice pack
39. Ice Pack – Wrap around snow or ice
40. Check oil – Remove radiator cap and clean dip stick
41. Blindfold
42. Trail Marker
43. Boundary Marker
44. Cover face while sleeping to protect from sun or insects
45. Tie on a guy line, laundry line, tethered rope or cord for better visibility
46. Make a rope – tie several bandanas together
47. Emergency tie-down
48. Repair broken strap
49. Net to catch minnows
50. Clean eye glasses or other lenses
51. Dog Collar
52. Fire Starter
53. Padding – shoulder, bum, knee
54. Signal – Wave in air
55. Wick for Oil Lamp
56. Torch – soak in oil, tie onto branch that has also been soaked in oil at the top
57. Kindling
58. Clean windows or windshield
59. Doll Blanket – comfort for the wee ones
60. Magic tricks – when you get bored
61. Mark the middle of rope for tug of war – just for the fun of it
62. John Wayne Look-alike (Ok, this one is all time favorite!)

Bandana John Wayne


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Good start PPro; Years ago I

Good start PPro; Years ago I scribbled down a list of 101 uses, handed it to my son, and he informed me I left off "blowing your nose".
Most store bought bandannas are a little small for many uses. I follow my wife into fabric stores and while she is shopping, I go find the cheap section and buy cotton and sometimes other fabric that would be good bandanna material. We cut it into squares 36"x36", 30"x30",and 28"x28" and do a simple hem.
John Wayne would need at least a 30".
On outings you have one in each hip pocket and one loose around the neck, and a few more in the bag.

This article was written by a

Preparedness Pro's picture
This article was written by a guest contributor and I think she did an AMAZING job on it. In fact, I think I would have been disappointed if she had written "blow your nose". hee hee Thanks for your other ideas! I'm sure our readers will find them to be helpful as well.

I use them to identify our

I use them to identify our luggage when taking trips. Just tie them in the metal ring on the handle. We've had a number of people tell us how smart that was, because they are immediately identifiable, especially when nearly everyone has the same red or black color suitcases. I get a different color for each person, two or three of each color, to match carryons and suitcases.

I use them to dust the house,

I use them to dust the house, wipe spills in a pinch and to carry small items around. I just tie the bandana around whatever small toys or loose items I have and it works like a baggie. The kids used to tie them to the end of a stick and use them to carry things too (like the old "hobo" images). They would pack a sandwich and baggie of carrots or fruit into the bandana for a picnic lunch with their friends.

Danelle, I love that your

Danelle, I love that your children would use them for picnics!

I didn't see repairing

I didn't see repairing clothing on the list... having blown out the fronts and backs of multiple pairs of pants outdoors over the years, I have found a bandanna to be useful for preserving one's modesty. Having bandannas close to the color of your pants avoids the circus clown look....

Hi John,  #11 - Clothes patch

Hi John,  #11 - Clothes patch.  Although I like your thought on keeping it the same color as your own clothes!  Thx for the comment.

I went on an outdoor

I went on an outdoor adventure class (30 days in length) when I was in my 20's and we were told to bring a couple bandanas. Over the month we all agreed that they were the MOST necessary item we had, and the most versatile. The pre-filtering water was a big one! They were used out there almost every way you mentioned.We wished we had a dozen of them!!

Hi Paula,  Thank you for

Hi Paula,  Thank you for sharing your first hand knowledge and experience of actually having, using and benefiting from bandanas.  It sounds like everyone put them to good use!

Many of these are the same

Many of these are the same reasons I didn't throw out or donate my girls' burp cloths once they were old enough to not need them anymore! :)

Perfect uses for burp cloths

Perfect uses for burp cloths too!  Thank you for sharing your idea.



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