Washcloths or Loofahs?


I have always noticed this but never really thought anything of it. Why is it that most black people use washcloths while most white people loofahs? In Sociology 119 a race relations class (a class that I took previously took but still keep taps on) the conversation was brought up. A white girl in the class stated that she had used a washcloth before but when she did she still felt dirty. A lot of black people thought she was crazy because the opposite is felt for loofahs. I thought it was really funny because I also use a washcloth while all my other roommates who are white use loofahs. Soooo I have decided to try to look up some research on which bathing device gets you cleaner if possible. Here are the pros and cons of each.

 ( All of these Pros and Cons are Allegedly of course) 

 Pros of Using a Loofah

  • ·      Loofahs are said to actually exfoliate the skin removing loose and dead skin particles, which makes your skin cleaner and have a healthy radiance.
  • ·      Loofahs is best-suited for cleaning large areas of skin, especially if you use a liquid-based soap.
  • ·      Loofahs does not need to be washed as often as washcloths

Cons of Using a Loofah

  • ·      Because a loofah spends more time in the shower and generally never dries out, loofahs are notorious for being hotbeds of bacteria growth.
  • ·      Loofahs are also less gentle on your skin, so if you have any sort of allergy or skin condition you may be better served with a soft washcloth
  • ·      Loofahs are not really good for face washing 

Pros of using a Washcloth

  • ·      Washcloths are excellent for cleaning your face, as the fabric on a soft, clean cloth serves as a natural exfoliant and helps to remove dead skin, oil and dirt from your face. 
  • ·       A washcloth combined with a gentle facial cleanser makes an excellent weapon against oily skin.

Cons of Using a Washcloth

  • ·      Washcloths need to wash more frequently
  • ·      Using one cloth for a long period of time results in a dirty, oily cloth that is likely covered in bacteria and will eventually begin to mold. 



I honestly, don't think that there is scientifically proven evidence that loofahs or washcloths remove a significant amount of dead skin during showers/baths, but it is scientifically proven that your body naturally sheds dead skin anyway. Both devices at the end of the day get the job done and neither in my opinion should be used for long periods of time. So the moral of the story is regardless of whether your white or black and whether you use a washcloth or a loofah you get clean. Be thankful that you can afford to take showers there are many people in the world that can't


I'm an avid loofa user but the debate for me was never between washcloth or loofa, it was always bar soap versus liquid soap. I hate that bar soap has the inability to foam and prefer all the great scents that come in liquid soaps. After reading your post and doing some quick research , I discovered that there is in fact no difference between using a loofa and a washcloth, OR between using bar soap and liquid soap. The only difference is how it makes the user feel!

Lol I completely agree. I just thought it was really funny that it was brought up and that girl made that comment.

Wow this was so interesting. I actually use both a wash cloth and a loofa when I shower. I don't know why but I just always used both. Loofa was for my body and washcloth for my face and back. I find that they are both very useful but I'm glad to know the pros and cons for each so that I can avoid harmful bacteria.
But I just found this interesting article where you don't need to shower with a loofa or a washcloth: check it out!

Its funny that you chose this as a blog for this week, i was just recently debating about this issue with some of my friends. I'm also in SOC 119 this year and being African American, i've wondered if there were a scientific connection as well as a social one. In SOC119 we also discussed the stereotype that black and brown people are dirtier than white people, but according to your conclusions, there isn't really much difference. I for one use a loofa because i don't have to continually wash it such as i do when using a wash cloth, but its interesting to see how social and scientific aspects factor in.

This blog caught my eye, I'm not sure why though. I am a user of the loofa but that is only because I feel residue is left on my body after using bar soap. It is interesting that there is a discussion about why different races use different methods of washing their body. Also I think that the last sentence of the post is a good way to wrap up this article. We should all be very thankful for being able to shower but also shower with hot water. After traveling to El Salvador El Salvador two summers ago, we did not even have hot water to shower in and were forced to shower with freezing cold water. I could not imagine not being able to shower with freezing water in the dead of winter and therefore we should all be very thankful.

I thought your blog was very interesting. As a girl, I can of course relate to the eternal loofah-washcloth debate. I didn't find any scientific experiments or studies related to the topic, but I'm sure it would be interesting to see which option did a better job of cleaning and exfoliating. However, your blog made me think of another interesting approach to exfoliating and promoting circulation. Dry brushing is a health practice made trendy by Victoria's Secret model Miranda Kerr. Advocates of the practice claim that it removes dead skin cells, decreases bloating and increases circulation. However one has to wonder if such abrasive treatments are really necessary.
Still, I wonder if all of these treatments and their merits apply to people on an individual basis. Should people with sensitive skin stick with the gentler washcloth? Should people with dry skin use a loofah to scrub the dead skins cells away, or should they use a gentler approach to cleansing as well? It'd be interesting to hear a dermatologist's opinion on the issue.

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