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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

54 Models Considered
30 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
143 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best exfoliating washcloths

Do you want healthy, radiant skin? It begins with an essential early step in your skincare routine: buffing your body with an exfoliating washcloth.

Exfoliating washcloths are lightly abrasive towels designed to slough away dead skin. Using a gentle circular motion, you can minimize rough and bumpy patches, particularly around the elbows, heels, and upper arms, with an exfoliating washcloth.

One of the most appealing attributes of exfoliating washcloths is that they provide a natural, non-chemical solution for smoothing rough skin. To keep irritation and sensitivities at bay, some exfoliating washcloths are even made from hypoallergenic or plant-derived materials.

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Many consumers pair their exfoliating washcloth with a moisturizing shower gel for two-in-one action. Once the dead skin is buffed away, the health skin beneath is more receptive to the moisturizing elements of the shower gel.

Key considerations

Benefits of using exfoliating washcloths

Exfoliation can revitalize your appearance by helping your skin look smoother and younger. However, that is not the only reason to exfoliate.

Combat ingrown hairs: If you struggle with ingrown hairs, an exfoliating washcloth can help keep them at bay. Regularly using one before or between shaves teases out ingrown hairs, which in turn can be removed during your next shaving session.

Get an even tan: It’s often recommended to exfoliate prior to using tanning products or getting a spray tan. An exfoliating washcloth makes it easy to smooth bumpy patches, and the smoother your skin, the better and more even your tan application will be.

Unclog pores: Some people with moderate body acne may benefit from regularly using an exfoliating washcloth. Exfoliation removes build-up and dead skin, both of which are notorious for clogging pores and triggering breakouts.

Enhance your moisturizer: Even people with dry skin can use exfoliating washcloths. Gentle exfoliation buffs away dead skin, making it much easier for moisturizing lotions and creams to absorb.

How to use an exfoliating washcloth

To use an exfoliating washcloth, begin by immersing yourself and the cloth in water. Once the washcloth is saturated, add body wash or soap to create a lather.

Gently buff your body from the neck down, concentrating on rough and patchy areas. Do not scrub harshly, as this will undoubtedly irritate your skin. When you’re done, rinse your body and the cloth thoroughly.

When you leave the bath or shower, wring the exfoliating washcloth to remove any remaining water. Allow it to air dry to prevent mold or mildew buildup.

Who shouldn’t use an exfoliating washcloth

While many people benefit from using an exfoliating washcloth as part of their skincare or shower routine, some people should avoid using them.

Individuals with major skin conditions such as severe acne, eczema, or extreme sensitivity should steer clear of exfoliating washcloths. It’s not recommended to allow children to use them, either, especially since they may use them incorrectly and hurt themselves.

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Did You Know?
If you prefer an exfoliating washcloth that dries quickly, stick to knitted nylon cloths. These can dry in less than a couple of hours if left in a dry, ventilated area.
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Features

Size

Exfoliating washcloths fall into two size categories: small and large. While both serve the same purpose, one may be more convenient to use than the other.

Small: Small exfoliating washcloths are ideal for those who prefer concentrated buffing, namely around rough or patchy areas like the joints. These cloths are much easier to pack for travel and consume far less space in general. Unfortunately, small exfoliating washcloths can be challenging for people with mobility issues to use.

Large: Large exfoliating washcloths are preferred for quick total-body buffing. Since they’re often long enough to hold with both hands, they make it easy to clean hard-to-reach areas like the back and lower body. One of their pitfalls, however, is that they take up considerable room when they’re hung to dry, not to mention they’re more prone to fraying.

Materials and construction

Popular materials for exfoliating washcloths include bamboo, nylon, and mesh. These materials are knitted in such a way that the texture is somewhat coarse. The weave of exfoliating washcloths is fairly loose to allow water and soap to permeate them.

Most exfoliating washcloths have reinforced edges to minimize fraying. However, after a few months of use, it’s common for fraying to occur, even in well-made cloths. For this reason, it’s recommended that you replace your exfoliating washcloth every few months.

Roughness

Exfoliating washcloths are available in more than one roughness. Unfortunately, very few manufacturers distinguish them. The only exception here is exfoliating washcloths made for sensitive skin, in which case the texture is slightly softer and less abrasive.

If you’re unsure which roughness you need in an exfoliating washcloth, it’s a good idea to buy several to compare. While a softer cloth may feel great, it may not provide deep exfoliation. An abrasive cloth may do the job, but it may be too rough to use more than once or twice a week.

Unique varieties

There are a few unique varieties of exfoliating washcloths on the market.

  • Charcoal-infused exfoliating washcloths tout deep-cleaning and detoxifying attributes that maximize skin radiance.
  • Dual-sided exfoliating washcloths feature a terry cloth side for regular, non-abrasive cleaning in addition to a rougher side for exfoliation.
  • Some specially shaped exfoliating washcloths are conducive to cleaning specific areas of the body, such as the back and feet.

While exfoliating washcloths can be used on the neck, it’s recommended to exfoliate the décolleté area with a gentler exfoliating product.

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Exfoliating washcloth prices

Inexpensive: Entry-level exfoliating washcloths cost between $4 and $7. For this price, you might get a single cloth or a two-pack in a small or large size. Quality is decent in this bracket, though longevity may be lacking.

Mid-range: For $8 to $12, you’ll find quite a few well-made exfoliating washcloths. The edges of these cloths are reinforced and unlikely to fray. While there are a few single exfoliating washcloths in this price range, there are many multipacks as well.

Expensive: Premium exfoliating washcloths are priced at $12 and above. These mostly include multipacks as well as unique washcloths with special attributes, such as charcoal infusion.

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Did You Know?
Exfoliating washcloths aren’t designed to withstand prolonged heat exposure, which is why it is not recommended to let them dry on a towel warmer or radiator.
Staff
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Tips

  • Avoid exfoliating broken skin. Cuts can take a few weeks to heal, and it’s recommended that you avoid exfoliating the area until then. Otherwise, you may buff away healing skin or scabs, which could result in scarring.
  • Buy different colors. If multiple members of your household use exfoliating washcloths, avoid mix-ups by getting a different color for each person.
  • Check it for mold or mildew. Inspect your exfoliating washcloth prior to every use to ensure no mold or mildew has formed on it.
  • Avoid new tattoos. If you’ve recently gotten a tattoo, it’s strongly recommended that you do not exfoliate the area for several weeks during the healing process.
  • Check care instructions. Some exfoliating washcloths require soaking or hand washing for cleaning, whereas others can be machine washed.
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An exfoliating washcloth will help buff away rough skin around the feet prior to a pedicure, especially around the balls of the feet and the heels.

FAQ

Q. Can I use an exfoliating washcloth on my face?

A. No. Exfoliating washcloths for the body are intended for body use only because they’re far too abrasive for delicate facial skin. There are a few facial exfoliating washcloths on the market, but they’re hit-or-miss with consumers, as many prefer other types of exfoliating products for the face, like facial scrubs and exfoliating masks.

Q. Should I use exfoliating body wash with an exfoliating washcloth?

A. While there’s no hard rule on this, it’s not recommended to double-up on exfoliating products. The combined harshness of the exfoliating washcloth and an exfoliating body wash could result in irritated skin. Using both may dry out the skin as well, causing even more patchy roughness.

Q. Are exfoliating washcloths better than loofahs or body brushes?

A. They’re actually quite different from one another, so it’s hard to say. Exfoliating washcloths are used for wet exfoliating, whereas loofahs and body brushes are typically used for dry exfoliation, also called dry brushing. More than anything, it’s recommended that you choose a method of exfoliating that works for you, which could be one or all of the above.

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