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The type of washcloth you use may matter less than how often you change washcloths. Using a clean washcloth every time you bathe may help promote healthy skin. That's especially true if you have a skin infection or any other skin condition. For some people, skipping a washcloth altogether may make sense. For example, if you have acne, a dermatologist may recommend washing with a gentle soap using only your fingertips, since scrubbing with a washcloth may worsen the appearance of your skin. A dermatologist can help you to learn more about good skin care habits.
A nubby washcloth is one of your best skin care tools. It's a good way to slough off dead skin cells while you wash your face and much less abrasive and irritating than a facial scrub or a chemical exfoliant for someone with a tendency toward dry or sensitive skin. A clean washcloth should not harbor bacteria, in the same way that your toothbrush, if it's stored properly and allowed to dry out, won't become a breeding ground either. Granted, if you store a wet cloth in a damp place, you're going to have problems, but squeezing out the extra moisture and then hanging it to dry on your towel rack should be safe. Most bacteria can't live in a dry environment, so if you let your cloth air out in between uses, it will be absolutely fine for a few days. Rinse it with soap before you hang it to dry. If it smells mildewy after a few wet-to-dry uses, it's time to change it. A natural sponge or a loofah can also be an effective exfoliating tool. (Since these tend to be a little large, you can cut them into smaller, flatter pieces, making it easier for them to dry out completely in between uses.) If you're still not convinced, try a disposable cleansing cloth product, one with the cleanser integrated into the fibers. The cloth will foam up once it's dampened and you can start washing, and then toss the cloth. Since you use a clean cloth every time, there's no chance for residue or bacteria to build up, not to mention that they're convenient for traveling since they aren't actually considered a liquid. But the environmentalist in me thinks these are wasteful and not the best choice.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.