I was introduced to the the wonderful world of exfoliating washcloths by my mother who brought several home with her from Taiwan. The same way shower poufs and loofas are ubiquitous in the States, nylon-polyester blend washcloths are extremely cheap and very commonplace in Asia.
In the past I used shower poufs but ever since I tried nylon washcloths I’ve switched and haven’t looked back.
The problem with shower poufs is that they’re usually made from a plastic (i.e. polyethylene) material. Rather than exfoliating away dead skin from the body, the plastic is very rough and can really scratch up the body if one isn’t careful. The mesh weave and the way the pouf is folded in upon itself means that while sudsing up with soap is easy, rinsing the soap out of the pouf is a pain in the butt. Also, the design of the pouf makes it difficult for the pouf to dry completely so the risk of mildew growing inside the pouf is very likely.
Shower poufs are inexpensive — I was able to get 3 for $1 — but the major downside is that they fall apart very quickly. Here’s a look at one of my old shower poufs. The two on the right are brand new and the one on the left is 1-month old. As you can see, the used shower pouf has loosened up considerably and lost it’s original shape. It’s falling apart and needs to be tossed out.
Looking more closely at the nylon-polyester washcloth and plastic shower pouf, you can see that pouf has a stiffer and more open weave. The washcloth has a tighter weave, relatively speaking, with a softer and more fabric-like appearance.
Compared to a standard cotton washcloth, the nylon-polyester blend washcloth is rougher (but less scratchy than a shower pouf) which makes it an ideal tool for exfoliating the body. The length makes it easy to exfoliate the shoulders, back and any other hard to reach areas effortlessly. The fabric-like material means soaps and shower gels lather easily but the flat, loosely woven design allows the soap to rinse away without difficulty under running water and for the washcloth to dry quickly. I find that I need to use much less soap to get a really good lather compared to when I use a cotton washcloth or plastic shower pouf. And mildew has never been an issue since the nylon-polyester washcloth dries so quickly.
The best thing about the nylon-polyester washcloths is its longevity! I’ve been using the same washcloth since my mother came home in April and it’s still in near perfect condition. That’s nearly seven months!
I keep waiting for the washcloth to fall apart on me the way my shower poufs in the past have but, aside from some major fading, the cloth is in excellent condition with only a tiny bit of fraying along the edges. The old cloth compared to the new cloth still has a tight weave that hasn’t loosened up. I’ve concluded that these washcloths will probably last forever but I’m tired of seeing that faded washcloth in my shower so I’m finally switching to a new one, and I’ll probably switch to a new one every one or two months from now on.
The used washcloth is a little softer compared to how it was brand new — which is totally understandable because it’s been broken in — but otherwise it still performs the same and exfoliates my body very well. Even the hem along the top and bottom edges are perfectly intact.
Recently, I’ve seen a lot of YouTubers and bloggers raving about this Asian type of washcloth. Most say you must get the Salux “name brand” washcloth. I’ve tried both the Salux brand and the generic version and, personally, I don’t see or feel a difference. Both the generic and Salux are cheap, but the Salux costs a few cents more. In my opinion, as long as you can find a nylon-polyester blend washcloth (60% nylon, 40% polyester) you’ll achieve the same results that you’d get from the Salux brand washcloth. Most Asian grocery stores sell these types of washcloths for $1-$3 each.
I typically hang my washcloth over the side of my shower organizer to air dry, and it’s usually dry in less than an hour.