Tip of the Week! Facecloths.

Tip of the Week!


This is my white facecloth after washing my face once with it.

This is my black facecloth after washing my face 14,742 times with it.


Do yourself a favour.  Switch over to black facecloths today.  Yes, you can bleach white facecloths.  But that’s extra work.  More work.  I have enough work.  LOADS of work.  No more work!  Besides, you can’t use bleach in certain front loading washing machines.

White facecloths are meant for people who have maids or a laundry service.  If you have a maid or a laundry service, please disregard this post.  And please send me money. And a pony.



  1. Sarah Jackson says:

    Red washcloths are necessary with children. Why? You cannot see the blood when the little darlings get hurt. When the child sees blood on the washcloth; the kid screams louder. I know, I have five children and now seventeen grandchildren. No, I do not want a pony. Too much work.

  2. Mary Lynn says:

    Just discovered another use for coconut oil…makeup remover. You only need about a heaping teaspoon. It melts when contacting the skin…economical and good for your skin.
    Now my white facecloths are spared the mascara and foundation stains!

    • Karen says:

      That’s great to know! I’ll give it a shot because for whatever reason my eyeliner won’t stay put on my eyes during the day but once it’s time to officially take it off, it’s stuck for life. I’m going to try it tonight, Mary Lynn. ~ karen!

  3. Tricia Rose says:

    You are so far ahead of me!

  4. Parker says:

    Well, shoot. I’ve been buying supplies for my move to off-grid life, and I bought white towels. Somewhere waaay back in my mind the thought crossed that white wouldn’t be the easiest to clean (in an admittedly dirty lifestyle), but I disregarded it. The pretty white called to me with it’s siren song – “look at meeee, so clean and pure…you must surround yourself with my pristine whitenessssss”….and I listened, and I bought.

    I guess I’ll be replacing them with black ones at some point, heh. OR, I’ll dye ’em! Yeah!

  5. Patricia says:

    Also a good idea if you have kids who injure themselves (like kids do). A dark wash cloth over a bad cut doesn’t show blood and keeps the hysteria over an injury down!

  6. Diane says:

    Bahahahahaha! Did you get a pony from any of your readers? If so, I’m also making a post on my blog…and asking for a maid! It might work…

  7. Noelle says:

    This is so funny…I am a “white” girl and a bleach-a-holic, that is probably not good…but I like white washcloths, towels, and sheets. I have 5 kids and 4 of them boys, big dirty boys!!!!I should probably buy some stock in Clorox!!!! This was a fun conversation!!!

  8. Arlene says:

    I just had a duh moment. I am so ashamed at all the white cloths I have damaged, when just 1 black cloth would have made a huge difference! LOL I guess we live and learn, from your fantastic blog!

  9. Maggie says:

    Genious! Same goes for sheets unfortunately, I prefer white, but husbands are so sweaty and I don’t use bleach.

  10. sera says:

    Karen, I love how you turn a subject that seems so obvious and make it into a crazy long discussion. I’m all about the dark towels, sheets, facecloths, t-shirts, underwear (is this too much information?) because I don’t have to bleach them and I can wash everything together almost one-million times. And my husband is a mechanic so, sometimes there is extra dirty dirt.

  11. Sarah says:

    Oh! This made me laugh. So true and at the same time so funny. Thanks for the tip and the laughs!

  12. Talia says:

    Good grief! What has this never crossed my mind. Two daughters and a stepdaughter later…I am running, running mind you, to get black washcloths. Take that nasty makeup…

    Great tip!

  13. Marti says:

    Like a light went on… in my soul.

    Or out. Man, I’ve always loved white for the freshness of it. But recently my kitchen went black. Might be time for the bathroom to do the same.

    You’re not RUBBING YOUR EYES with those things are you?

    • bk says:

      Marti’s totally right, you shouldn’t be using a facecloth to get eye makeup off. That’s so rough on your skin. You don’t want extra eye wrinkles, do you? A cotton ball & a squirt of makeup of remover is the way to go. I use Rimmel because its cheap, doesn’t seem oily, and sometimes they do “gift with purchase”

  14. Valerie says:

    My suggestion for accidental bleach spots on black is to dab the area with PERMANENT black marker and let it dry. You may have to repeat this a few times. I had a small bleach spot on a pair of cotton shorts and although it wasn’t a perfect fix it did cover the mark fairly well.

  15. Claudine says:

    Even better – Bleach safe brightly colored towels and washcloths.
    I’m a hairstylist and I always order towels you can buy at bleachsafe.com .
    Most salons use these so that the towels can be bleached but won’t lose their color. I’ll wash a towel every day for a year, with bleach so as to disinfect yet save on hot water, and it will still be bright. If you only use bleach every once in awhile, you won’t even have that problem.

    I’d be interested to hear how many of your readers give it a try.

  16. Amy says:

    Black, blue, whatever; one of my face medicines ALWAYS leaves bleach spots on the wash clothes and face towels… I have an old towel that looks pink/purple that I swear was once blue, and my blue ones are heading that way. Which is sometimes why I think I should switch to white.

  17. Donna says:

    Bahahaha! This one made me laugh out loud….I have two boys, dirty boys and white towels. Do you see where I am going with this? The best gift my mother the clean freak ever gave me? Two black hand towels for my kitchen bath. They always, always look clean and no bleaching needed. And why does bkeach not work like it used to???? Remember when eveything came out white and brand spanking new looking? Or is that my age showing???

  18. Katie says:

    Inspired! I’ve been using dark green or dark blue for that very reason. Another inspired tip: I used to wash them, fold them, use them, repeat… I no longer fold them (gasp). They just get washed/dried and thrown into a small drawer for just face cloths. Folding? Too much work!

    • Karen says:

      Katie – I have the same theory for thong underwear. Have you ever tried folding a whole drawer full of thong underwear. omg. As for the facecloths, I have to fold them ’cause I don’t have anywhere to put them so they get folded on a shelf in the bathroom. Ah the joys of living in a billion year old house with no closets. ~ k!

      • Katie says:

        My thought is to buy a basket/storage box for your shelf and throw the face cloths in the box. I used to love how they looked folded and all lined up with the folds in the same direction. However, once you stop folding them, you will NEVER go back! Trust me. It’s the little things in life, isn’t it?

        • Alissa says:

          I don’t fold/match socks any more either. They’re all thrown in a basket and I pick two matching ones each morning. Even easier to match when you have one pair alien frog socks, one pair rainbow stripe socks, one paid “Peas on Earth” socks, you get the idea…

      • Tricia Rose says:

        But what if you’re burgled?

  19. Samantha says:

    I have noticed that depending on which face cleanser I use, the makeup will either wash out of the facecloth or it won’t…not sure which ingredient(s) cause that to happen! I usually use Marcelle Gentle Foaming Wash and the makeup always washes out with that one. I don’t use chlorine bleach either; if I have to use something, I use the oxygen bleach stuff because it’s way less toxic. The black facecloths are a great idea though!

  20. I always get a kick out of staying at a hotel and not having to worry about my makeup on the facecloth! Oh, the luxury!

    • Shauna says:

      That’s funny and so true. One of our favorite places to stay in Palm Springs actually provides a nice white washcloth and a grey’ish/purple’ish washcloth for ladies to use to remove make-up. I thought it was a brilliant idea, but never thought to use the idea at home – go figure.

  21. Brittney says:

    I am totally switching to dark washcloths! I’m not sure why this never crossed my mind before!

  22. Gwen~healthymamma says:

    I don’t use bleach, ever and have never had a problem w stains like that. My white washclothes still look new. Are you using industrial strength makeup? ;) Also, worth mentioning tho slightly off subject, I have been using a mixture of EVOO-castor oil and a drop or 2 of tea tree oil & lavendar oil to clean my face and it works beautifully and my skin has never looked better in 35 years!

  23. Kate says:

    I used to have black towels and face cloths (for my husband’s bathroom), but got tired of black. Now we use mainly white towels (2 of 3 bathrooms). Fortunately, I can use bleach in my front loader, but I do so rarely; it cleans stuff really well. For tough stains on whites or anything else, including grease, I use a Verbena scented bar soap. That stuff is awesome.

    • Karen says:

      Kate – There is no scent I like better than Lemon Verbena. My friend and I once stood for about an hour sniffing and smelling all the Lemon Verbena products at a store (now defunct) in Canada called Caban. Sooooo good. ~ karen

      • Pam'a says:

        Ditto. My husband finally drew the line at Lemon Verbena incense…

        But what is this bar soap stain killer of which you speak? (Fingers crossed that it’s not just a Canadian thing.)

        • Liz S. says:

          Try Fels-Naptha. It’s awesome and it’s sold in most American stores. I get it at our local WalMart for $0.96. It’s also great if you grate it and mix it with 1/2 cup Borax and a 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (all on the same shelf). Put 3 table spoons in for a large load of clothes and you’re ready to go. Also try 1/2 cup of white vinegar as a fabric softener. Awesome!

  24. Trysha says:

    Wow…I didn’t realize so many people were black/dark washcloth converts.

    I’m all about the bleach. The majority of our towels are white. We had shades of blue, green, red and tan but I grew tired of them not matching and went on a freak-out towel binge. Not nearly as jaw-dropping as selling all your furniture and painting the whole house white, but it’s a start. ;)

    Now if my mom gifts us towels, which she does often since she thinks we never have enough, I don’t worry if its the right shade of blue/green. White always matches white.

    • Shauna says:


      I too once went on a freak out towel binge and replaced everything with white. I once read somewhere that colored towels and face cloths are bad for your skin. Probably read it on the internet, and as we’ve learned from Karen, the internet lies. I may soon have to do a whole new freak out towel binge.

  25. Lisa says:

    I switched to black dishcloths. I take my makeup off with those cloths, so my face washcloths don’t get too stained. And the IKEA washcloths are super cheap and sturdy.

    But the black/charcoal grey dishcloths get swapped out daily.

  26. I use the white ones and put up with the stains only because that’s what comes with the product I use. But I wonder how often you change your face cloth? Daily or weekly?

    Please don’t think I’m dirty by asking!

    • Karen says:

      Perfecting Pru – If you allow your facecloth to dry out completely (don’t leave it in a lump where it can grow mildew and stink) it’ll last around 5 days around here. Once it starts to have that unmistakeable “stink” I know it needs to be washed, but I try to do it before it gets to that point. ~ karen

  27. Christina says:

    I also just use my hands. One less towel to wash is worth it to me alone. But if I have a family one day who asks me to buy them face cloths, they might just be black thanks to your undeniable influence on my life. Haha.

  28. Mike says:

    I love when a new (to me) word pops up. Today it’s “manky,” from Annika. I plan to use it a lot.

    • Jo says:

      We have whole books devoted to “manky” over here in the UK. Check out “Morris the Mankiest Monster” – someone who NEVER worries about the colour of his flannel (face cloth).

  29. Bill Grigg says:

    I’ve found that if you are real careful doing laundry, like I am, you can turn ALL your white facecloths into grey ones! Taa-DAH, problem solved!

  30. Linn Caine says:

    The same reason I only buy black underwear!

  31. Liz S. says:

    I’m all about the black face cloths. I absolutely hate the smell of bleach. The smell seems to linger for ever in clothes. I use to hate whenever my mother would bleach my socks, bras, and towels.

  32. sheri' says:

    great tip! but on the note you can’t add bleach to a front loading machine: i have front loading machine and only use purex 3-in-1 sheets for washing, but when I need to bleach my whites, I put the bleach in the laundry dispenser (and the softener dispenser, too sometimes) and set the soil level to dirty so cycle runs longer.

    • Karen says:

      Sheri – You’re technically not supposed to do that with some of the machines (mine for instance – boooo) because it can dry out and ruin the seal around your door. ~ karen

      • Sheri says:

        ooh, thanks. I’ll have to check my manual. I’v had it going on 4 years, hopefully it’s not the case with mine!

  33. Sandra says:

    Leave a package of diappy wipes in the bathroom – scrub the worst of the make-up off with those then toss’em – light colored face clothes will not suffer that way!

  34. Design Love says:

    Fabulous idea! Take that dirty gross children!!!


  35. I prefer white myself, but I can definitely see the merits of black.

    • Karen says:

      myhonestanswer – Oh hell. I never said I preferred the look of black. I prefer the practicality of black! ~ karen

  36. Jane says:

    You are a genius!

    I am not, why does this post say 15 comments but I can only read/see 8 of them. How do I see them all?


  37. anita says:

    … and don’t forget, always keep a red washcloth for all of life’s “owies” because nothing freaks out a kid (or mom) more than the sight of blood on a white washcloth! I always wet one (just barely damp), slipped it in a ziploc bag, and kept it in the freezer. Just holding it to the little cuts and bruises makes kids feel better. Of course, this is not good for any gaping-get-thee-to-a-hospital wounds!

    • Melissa Diskin says:

      PILES of red washcloths if your kids are under, say 10. And if they are under 5 you can roll them diagonally into one long roll with pointy ends, fold it in half, and use a rubber band to make a bunny. Wet the bunny and freeze it in a ziploc!
      (Yes, I have 3 kids under 5)

  38. Suesan says:

    Erma Bombeck said there is only two kinds of dirt. The dark kind that only goes on the light stuff and the light kind that only goes on the dark stuff! I hear ya, about the black washcloths. Good solution.

  39. liz says:

    But… how do you know when the black facecloth is dirty?

  40. Annika says:

    I switched to grey because of this! But they still start looking a bit manky after a while. I think you’re right, black is the way forward!

  41. Jen M says:

    I use black face cloths as house cleaning cloths for exactly that reason. I use them to wipe counters, clean windows, clean the floor etc and they stay looking good. The white ones … not so much.

  42. Katie says:

    Thanks for the tip! I’ve fallen into the the constantly-bleaching-my-white-washcloths trap… Switching to black is such a simple solution.

  43. CJ says:

    Except if you still have terrible skin even into adulthood and use proactiv. Proactiv
    = white towelling and pillowcases or horrid bleach marks on otherwise beautiful linen.

    What I’d love to know is how to dye things that have accidental bleach spots? Pretty please can you figure ut out?

  44. Valerie says:

    I agree with you Karen completely. The day I saw my son cleaning his shoes with a light coloured face cloth was the day I purchased black towels etc. for my children; a good idea here for hockey Moms and Dads and wives of Old Timer spouses for the sports bag.

  45. Mindy says:

    LOL. A pony. Love it.

  46. pve says:

    I am actually on the prowl for gray washcloths.
    So there. Mull that over…will ya?

    • Karen says:

      pve – Mmm. Gray will do but black is better. They’re astonishing. They always look brand new! That black facecloth in the pictures is 1.5 years old. ~ karen

    • Shauna Rudy says:

      pve: Lands End sells a nice dark grey color for towels. Plus their stuff lasts forever.

  47. Kira says:

    I don’t use them – is that weird? I just use my hands and they’re super washable! I do it several times per day!

    • Karen says:

      Kira – I used to do that, but when I got into television, well … you definitely need more than your hands to get that gunk off. I find the facecloth works well to help exfoliate your face too! But no, a facecloth isn’t nearly as washable as your hands. :) ~ karen

  48. Ellynn says:

    Yes, but white can be bleached!! I have both black and white washcloths, but I have kids and my bathroom is decorated with Mickey Mouse, so that’s what goes with the scheme. When I eventually have my own master bathroom I want to do white and cobalt blue.

    • Karen says:

      Ellynn – Yes, white can be bleached, but that’s work. I have enough work. LOADS of work. No more work. ~ karen (plus a lot of front loading washings don’t allow the use of bleach)

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