Washcloth Wars: Why Using A Washcloth In The Shower Has People Divided

Are you #TeamLoofah or #TeamWashcloth?

Washcloth vs Loofah pixelshot | Canva

Hidden between the nooks and crannies of the internet, a never-ending war continues to wage between people who tackle their hygiene in different ways. The debate surrounds the answer to the question: How do you wash your crevices in the shower?

There are dozens of ways to go about answering this question, but the most recent battleground chosen for the war seems to be — washcloth or loofah.

Using a washcloth in the shower has sparked a debate on how people wash themselves.

On September 26, 2023, a great battle broke out between people who use washcloths in the shower and people who don’t. Someone with the X (formerly Twitter) handle @BigQadi posted about what he believed were the “best wash cloths hands down,” so clearly, he’s on #TeamWashcloth.


The opposition, #TeamLoofah — or loofa, however you want to spell it — quoted this post and shared, “Still very shocked that [people] wash their bodies with towels.” Towels are meant for drying yourself off after the shower! Right?

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Wrong, according to thousands of comments, reactions, and interactions that came as a result of Nancy’s post. “I know your skin feels like sandpaper and concrete. You should not be exfoliating [every day],” someone wrote in response, prompting a “Yo mama” from Nancy. “I still smell better than you! We can go towel for loofah and I promise I’ll win,” another person challenged.

And the “first shot” Nancy took, so to speak, can be seen in the way she addressed washcloths in the first place — by equating them to towels. Those on Team Washcloth tried to dunk on her by sharing that the packaging in Qadi’s image says “Washcloths” and not “Towels,” but according to Parachute Home (and the packaging for both), they’re made from the same materials anyway. So allow me to insert some of my own personal biases here, but they are towels.



However, I can recognize how both have their own uses and it ultimately comes down to preference. There are pros and cons to both, and while I’ve largely been loyal to the nylon loofahs my whole life, I’ve recently opted for anti-microbial scrubbers that kind of give you the best of both worlds.


Watching all the fun unfold with a bucket of popcorn, a man named Kyndall wrote “Here go the hygiene Olympics again.” And his sentiment rings true, the war against how people choose to wash themselves is ongoing, and likely never-ending, as people stand loyal to the techniques they’ve been taught and have continued to use their whole lives.

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Whether you use washcloths or loofahs could be a cultural difference.

A second battle broke out between people who use washcloths and people who use … nothing. On that same, fateful day on the 26th of September, a separate X post from a man named Chris Evans (@notcapnamerica for clarification) sparked a debate. He reposted a TikTok video showing a clip from the show The Neighborhood on CBS.

The show follows a white family that’s learning how to connect with a new community after moving homes — a new community that’s predominantly Black. During this scene, the mother of the family, Gemma Johnson, played by Beth Behrs, ends up using their Black neighbor’s shower and is being taught by Tina Butler, played by Tichina Arnold, what to do.


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“Here is a towel and a washcloth,” Tina says, prompting Gemma to respond, “Why would I need a washcloth?” Tina explains what it’s for even though it should be obvious by the namesake, and Gemma reveals, “I just take the soap and rub it on my body.”


Although the divide between Team Loofah and Team Washcloth will never come to a close, both parties can agree that using only your hands or the bar of soap is a sin. Tina explains why as well, claiming that the bar of soap could get dirty. And think about it: if you’re sharing that bar of soap, then that means everyone’s dirt is being shared.

Evans reposted this clip to be inflammatory on purpose, quoting Gemma’s question about why she would need a washcloth with a skull emoji. People in the replies took the bait, and Evans, as a Black man himself, explained that using a washcloth seems to be common in Black culture.

Two days prior, Evans shared a post talking about pretty much the same thing. He reposted another TikTok video in which a Black woman staying in an Airbnb explained the reasons why she knew the owner was also Black — one of those reasons was because there was a washcloth in the bathroom.


In the replies to his own post, he shared screenshots of several tweets that showed many white people had never heard of or used washcloths. Other replies used this opportunity to start the argument for loofahs once more, but the general consensus is that either one works.

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Enough about the public, what do dermatologists say about using a washcloth or loofah?

According to dermatologist Melissa Piliang, MD, who spoke with the Cleveland Clinic, natural loofah sponges are privy to harboring bacteria

“Loofahs are interesting,” she says. “They’re used in a wet environment and you hang them up in the shower, which is also a wet environment. They don’t ever totally dry out, so the loofah is a beautiful breeding ground for bacteria.”



However, they can still be viable options so long as they’re cared for carefully. “That’s why it’s important to make sure you keep your loofahs clean,” she added, “replace them regularly and use them gently — do not rub your skin too vigorously.”


It should be noted that washcloths are no strangers to harboring bacteria as well. According to LovelySkin founder and dermatologist, Dr. Joel Schlessinger, washcloths are similarly capable of growing mold and bacteria. The reason natural loofahs have shown to be more capable of this bacterial growth is because of their structure — there are many hard-to-reach crevices that can be difficult to clean.

Loofahs are typically better suited for more intense exfoliation considering the rougher materials they’re made from, while washcloths can provide a wider range from gentle to intense. Washcloths are cheaper, and simpler to maintain, so unless you’re diligent in keeping your loofah tidy, they may offer you more quality of life.



Some experts, however, have suggested that using your hands is OK!


“It’s best to just wash with our hands,” suggests Erum Ilyas, MD, MBE, FAAD, who spoke with Oprah Daily. “If you couple the fact that the bacteria are trapped in the fibers of the loofah and that these sponges are used to exfoliate the skin, the risk of infection is much higher. Meanwhile, our hands can be easily cleaned.”

Regardless, I’m not sold on using my hands, and washcloths don’t exfoliate as much as I would like, so I’ll stick to my silicone scrubber and have fun watching people argue about it online.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor for YourTango who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.