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What are Face Cloths?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 21, 2024
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Commonly referred to as a washcloth, the face cloth is an absorbent piece of material in the shape of a small square. Generally, face cloths are employed to wash the face along with soap and water, although they may also be used to wash other parts of the body. Several different types of fabric can be used in the manufacture of face cloths, including terrycloth, microfiber, and flannel.

The core purpose of face cloths is to quickly cleanse to the face. As a first step in the general usage process, the cloth is thoroughly moistened with water. Soap, either in liquid form or in the shape of a bar, is applied to the cloth, generating lather. Once the cloth is lathered properly, it is used to scrub the face, the neck, and the area behind the ears. The abrasive movement helps to loosen dirt and dead skin cells from the skin, leaving the facial skin clean and healthy looking. Once the face is clean, the excess soap is rinsed off the face, followed by rinsing and wringing out the face cloth before placing the material in a laundry bin for washing later.

It is also possible to use face cloths without soap. After wetting the material with water, the cloth is quickly rubbed over the face to loosen any buildup of dirt and grime. While not as thorough as using soap, this process is great for quick cleanups, such as wiping food from the chin of an infant, or washing a thin layer of grime off the face after working in the yard or a similar activity.

Many people will also employ face cloths to bring about relief from eyestrain or a headache. After moistening the cloth with cold water, the cloth is placed over the eyes or on the forehead for fifteen minutes to a half-hour. If desired, the cloth can be dipped in a cold herbal tea to provide additional relief. This simple but effective treatment can help soothe irritated eyes as well as ease the throbbing pain associated with many stress headaches.

In terms of maintenance, face cloths can be washed using the standard or regular cycle of a washing machine, and dried in a conventional dryer. Since the cloths are made from durable materials, they are likely to last for several years with regular maintenance. While the terrycloth face cloth was a favorite for many years, the microfiber face cloth has gained in popularity and is now one of the most popular options for washcloths.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including BeautyAnswered, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By Raynbow — On Nov 30, 2014

If you want to save money on a separate skin exfoliating product, a face cloth with a coarse texture will do the job. I use one several times a week, and it keeps my skin looking bright and polished.

All you have to do to exfoliate your skin with a coarse face cloth is use it when you wash your face with your favorite facial soap or facial cleanser. For extra exfoliating power, you can even use the cloth when it is dry, though you have to be careful not to rub in on your face too firmly. If you do, you could cause skin irritation.

By Heavanet — On Nov 29, 2014

I have a tip for choosing the best face cloth, especially if you are looking for one that is very soft.

Face or wash cloths that are made of organic materials have nice, plushy textures. Not only are they earth-friendly, but they are great for people who have sensitive skin. Organic face cloths are also durable, often holding up longer than traditional cotton face cloths.

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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