When my children clear out my home one day, they will roll their eyes and ask, “Why did she have so many face cloths?” Old ones, new ones, ragged ones, hard ones, soft ones. In the bathroom, kitchen and linen cupboard. By face cloths I mean terry towelling squares about 13 inches or 33cm square. There’s a reason, of course. Indeed, I know at least 10 ways to use the humble face cloth.
Face cloths remind me of my childhood. Having my face wiped clean of jam or ice-cream by a careful parent. Being looked after.
Face cloths are both cuddly and tough. It’s a good relationship.
10 ways to use the humble face cloth
- for washing the face, obviously
- for warming eyelids before massaging them
- for drying the face
- for drying the entire body after a shower
- as bath towels when travelling or swimming or whatever
- as table napkins: visitors often avoid using table napkins to spare me the trouble of ironing them
- as cleaning rags: old face cloths live on for years
- for cooling the head in hot weather: drape a damp face cloth over your head, and it cools by evaporation
- for wiping hands before dinner: a damp rolled up face cloth
- for covering your cell phone when you’re trying to sleep
And one more—as a soap stand: put soap on a folded face cloth instead of a dish.
O thou face cloth, so ubiquitous, so cheap
I can’t resist a face cloth sale. Stores sell more towels than face cloths, I presume, so there’s often a bin of one dollar face cloths. Random colours, end-of-line items. Just the ticket.
Similarly, I often stock up on hand towels. The usual size in Aotearoa is around 15″x 27″ or 38cm x 70cm.
Hotels ask us to save the environment by re-using yesterday’s big, thick, soggy towel. I use a small hand towel or even a face cloth. Nobody’s looking at my dear old body in the bathroom, so modesty is a non-issue. And I like the economy, the achievement of this practice.
Made in Japan: tiny towels and tidy habits
I acquired these efficient habits when I lived in Japan. Every laundry stand on every balcony featured multiple narrow, thin white terry towels. My friends used the same type of towels for everything—drying themselves after a bath or shower, cleaning windows, drying dishes, wiping the bench and cleaning floors. One small towel does the job then goes straight into the wash. This made me think how unnecessarily complicated my Western attitude to towels was. Why did I need a huge fluffy warm towel to dab drops of water off my skin? Because? Marketing and consumerism at work?
Naturally I still give my guests a bath towel, but personally, I’m over it.
The glorious Japanese exfoliating back washer
Ahhhh… Grab both ends and stretch one of these ingenious cloths and rub it over your skin from top to toe. Their texture ranges from soft to scouring, and I prefer the hardcore “men’s” version. The shape means you can give yourself an amazing back rub. The cloth is usually a semi-sadistic mix of nylon and polyester. For me, one of these exfoliating scrubbers transforms a bathroom into a spa.
I first saw women using them in public baths in Kyoto, 1991. “What are they? Why are they?” I asked my friends. Soon I was kitted out with the first of many, and baths and showers have never been the same since.
I couldn’t care less about exfoliating my skin: but I sure love that delicious feeling.
I suspect you have more than 10 uses for face cloths. What are they? Please tell us by commenting below.Follow Write Into Life