Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Do you use a washcloth?

I recently came across an article about the washcloth (face cloth) posing the question - whether using a washcloth is a good idea or not? Today I saw yet another article discussing the topic, this one among a group of travelers who were wondering why they were being continually reminded to "bring a washcloth" whenever they travelled outside of the U.S. This one got my attention because on our recent trip to Costa Rica we stayed at a place where there were no washcloths. We thought the reason was because it was not a high class American style hotel and chalked it up to "something lacking in the service".

Are we alone?

I searched high and low on the internet and could not find much information on the use of the washcloth outside of the U.S. 

We "Americans" (as in the U.S) appear to be about the only people who use this item!!!

In the Soviet Union, they use the sponge and in the UK they use a face flannel but you are less likely to find a washcloth in your hotel or B&B in Europe (even in the UK) than in an American hotel - where you will always receive one! 

The NO washcloth zone

So, what is the reason you ask? Well, because things are different in other countries. It's similar to the way that a lot of hotels & B&B's don't use a top sheet, they use only a comforter. Just because something is normal or expected in the States doesn't mean you can assume it will be that way in other places as well. 

Outside of the U.S a washcloth is considered to be more of a personal item and isn't usually shared, much like a toothbrush, underwear, etc.  So it would be like expecting a hotel to provide you with a toothbrush and undies. Keeping that thought in mind, the hotel staff would not take kindly to having to pick up your personal washcloth - heaven knows where that thing has been!

(BTW-if you stay at an American style hotel washcloths will be provided)

So what next?
Getting along without a washcloth can be a bit difficult for those of us who are very used to using them in showers, baths, etc although washcloths are used much less now that the disposable make-up removal wipes are so popular with the younger throw away generation.
There are some strong opinions when it comes to using a washcloth or not using a washcloth. Some believe that you have to use one religiously no matter whether you're washing your face or your body.
Board certified Dr. N. Williams says, “You should never scrub too vigorously with a washcloth. Removing dead skin cells is a good thing, but if you scrub too hard, your skin may appear red and irritated afterward. A gentle scrubbing is all you need to get rid of dead skin. If dry skin is a persistent problem, avoid using products that contain alcohol — alcohol will cause your skin to become tight and dry.  Apply a moisturizer immediately after washing your face while your skin is still damp.” 
Always use a clean washcloth every time you wash your face. Hanging a used washcloth up for use later is a bad idea. Bacteria thrive in moist environments such as a wet washcloth. Washing your face with a washcloth that hasn’t been cleaned could spread the bacteria on your skin, potentially leading to an illness or infection. (source)

So now you know! 
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