Should You Use A Washcloth To Cleanse Your Face?

by Gio
should you cleanse your skin with a washcloth

Do you use a washcloth to cleanse your face?

I know a lot of you swear by it, and there are definitely some good reasons to use one, but, I can’t be bothered to. I mean, once in a while, I will. And I do love the results. But, everyday? I’m way too lazy for that.

The last time I used one was only a couple of days ago, and it inspired me to write this post about the pros and cons of washcloths. So, let’s get started:

Why Should You Use A Washcloth?

As I said, there are a couple of good reasons to cleanse and remove your makeup with a washcloth:

  • It helps cleanse skin: A washcloth gives your cleanser a helping hand, so it can remove makeup and other impurities faster. That way, they don’t end up in your pores, causing breakouts.
  • It exfoliates skin: A washcloth provides a gentle exfoliating action even sensitive skin can usually tolerate well. And, when skin is exfoliated, it looks smoother and brighter.

Related: What The Best Type Of Exfoliator For Your Skin Type?

Why Should You NOT Use A Washcloth?

If you’re looking for an excuse not to use a washcloth, here are a couple:

  • Laziness: You need to wash yours after every use, and not everyone can be bothered with that (I so can’t, sorry!).
  • They’re a playground for bacteria: Bacteria thrive in moist environments, and a just-used or just-washed washcloth is the perfect place for them to live in and multiply. And, if that happens, you could get an infection or irritation. Scary, huh?

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How Do You Use A Washcloth Safely?

Ok, now that I’ve scared you, let me reassure you.

It’s possible to use waschloths safely, without the risk of getting an infection or something. After all, so many folks are using one daily without problems.

How do they do it? Good habits, my friend:

  • Wash your washcloth after every use. I know it’s boring, but it’s essential for good hygiene.
  • Never use a washcloth when it’s wet or even just damp. That’s when bacteria develop, so give your washcloth time to dry before using it.
  • Never share your washcloth with someone else. If they have an infection or something, they’ll pass it on to you, and vice versa.
  • If you’re really worried about bacteria, boil the washcloth in hot water after every use. That’ll kill them all, trust me.

Related: Is It Safe To Share Your Skincare Products?

What If You Have Eczema?

A washcloth is great for everyone. Everyone bar those with eczema. The friction of the washcloth against the skin can cause a flare-up and make your eczema worse. Avoid!

The Bottom Line

Using a washcloth is a great way to cleanse and exfoliate your skin at the same time. But, because they could potentially be playgrounds for bacteria, they require more maintenance than some ladies (ahem) can put up with. It’s up to you to decide if the results are worth the hassle.

Do you use a washcloth to cleanse your skin? Let me know in the comments below.

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19 comments

janis August 18, 2010 - 8:51 am

I thought washcloth is just regular cotton cloth! As the facial wash im using act like a cleanser and exfoliator, i don’t use one.

However, when I wipe clean my face, I would use a small cotton cloth and i change that everytime I wash my face or bath. I will never use my body towel to wipe my face.

So you can imagine the number of face cloth i bring when I travel.

beautifulwithbrains August 18, 2010 - 11:36 am

Jan, you definitely don’t need washcloths if your cleanser acts as an exfolaitors. When I use products like that, I never use washcloths either.

And I like to change cotton cloths and towels too that I use on my face and body often too.

Pinch August 18, 2010 - 9:09 am

I don’t think the pros outnumber the cons when it comes to wash cloths, so I just don’t bother with them either. The only time I would use it is in a situation where there’s no shower and I have to clean my whole body with one – then I’d start with my face ๐Ÿ™‚ I do like the feeling of them though ๐Ÿ™‚

beautifulwithbrains August 18, 2010 - 11:28 am

Pinch, I agree. They work but not better than my just my hands on cotton pads, so I don’t bother with them either. But they do feel nice, donรฌt they? That’s why I like using them once in a while, but for everyday use I just can’t be bothered with them.

Olivia August 18, 2010 - 9:13 am

I always use a microfiber washcloth to cleanse my face because it the only way to be sure to remove all of the makeup from my skin. I always wash it after use with hot water and I throw it in the washing machine for an hot water program every 5 days ๐Ÿ™‚

beautifulwithbrains August 18, 2010 - 11:30 am

Olivia, washcloths really do an amazing job at removing all makeup, especially if you’re wearing a lot of it (like thick foundation). And that’s good that you take such good care of your washcloths. I guess I’m just too lazy to do that as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

Jeni August 18, 2010 - 10:24 am

I use washcloths every day on my face. I bought a huge stack of them, and just use a fresh one every other day or so. As long as you just scrub lightly, they work great to exfoliate skin!

beautifulwithbrains August 18, 2010 - 11:32 am

Jeni, I love washcloths to exfoliate skin, I just can’t be bothered to use them everyday. Maybe I should buy a huge stack of them too so I can’t just use one a day and not worry about washing them. I’m too lazy for that lol. ๐Ÿ™‚

Dao August 18, 2010 - 8:59 pm

I use microfiber washcloths on my face and change them every 3 days. They really exfoliate dead skin cells off my face and I love them!

beautifulwithbrains August 18, 2010 - 9:38 pm

Dao, they’re perfect for a gentle exfoliation, aren’t they? I prefer exfoliating cleansers as I’m lazy but when I don’t use them cos I’m testing something new, I like using washcloths every now and then too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Coconess April 19, 2012 - 1:51 am

I think wash cloths are more effective when it comes to cleaning your skin and getting rid of odor. However, I do find myself scrubbing too hard. That’s why I like to switch up my routine some times. Like using a loofah, sponge or hands. Depending on how much scum is on your body. remember,No matter matter method you decide to use, there’s nothing better than feeling so fresh and so clean.

beautifulwithbrains April 19, 2012 - 8:07 pm

Cocones, thanks for your comment. I like to use a washcloth every now and then because it also has an exfoliating action. You do have to be careful not too scrub too hard though. The other methods are effective as well so, in the end, whatever method you use, it depends on your personal preference. The important thing is to clean skin well. ๐Ÿ™‚

sexybrownpyt June 22, 2012 - 3:52 am

I gently wash my face with a washcloth nightly or every other day. I purchase the stacks of washcloths from Walmart. Its only $4 for a 12 stack. I use a new one each time, then rinse it and let it dry then throw it in the wash bin. When its wash day, I wash all my towels and washcloths in hot water and bleach. When my washcloths or towels get discolored/old I throw them out. All of my towels are white, which allows me to bleach and clean them in hot water effectively, to avoid mold, or any other germs.

beautifulwithbrains June 22, 2012 - 9:39 am

Sexybrownpyt, that’s a great deal. And I like you’re routine. You’re cleaning your skin without the risk of getting a bacteria infection. ๐Ÿ™‚

Erica August 27, 2012 - 9:06 pm

Was just watching The Doctors and they’re saying that using your hands puts MORE bacteria on your face than a washcloth! I use a clean washcloth everytime I wash my face. There’s no totally bacteria-free method to wash your face. Just stock up and get a bunch of washcloths to last. Not too hard to do.

beautifulwithbrains August 27, 2012 - 9:53 pm

Erica, thanks for your comment. I think that as long as you wash your hands before touching your face bacterias aren’t a problem. But a washcloth is a very good alternative indeed, and it provides some exfoliation action too, which will make skin softer and brighter. Just make sure you let it dry completely before using it as a wet washcloth could actually harbour more bacteria.

Sherry June 6, 2016 - 3:19 pm

I have a stack of washcloths, and use a clean one each night. I use PC’s 2% BHA, so don’t need it as an exfoliant. However, I don’t use a toner. I feel like the washcloth helps to remove all of the soap and makeup I might miss otherwise. I also wash my neck at night, and it’s hard to rinse without a washcloth. I get water everywhere! I agree that it’s important to prevent bacterial growth, and to make sure you use a clean one each night.

Gio June 10, 2016 - 1:07 pm

Sherry, they do help a lot at removing everything, don’t they? You make me wish I weren’t so lazy lol.

Claudia September 2, 2019 - 11:01 am

I use washable bamboo pads (a clean one every night, after Iโ€™ve taken mascara etc. off my eyes) and just water. Theyโ€™re very gentle to the skin and help reduce waist.

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