Posted by Bridget Reed

Washcloth vs Hand Towel: What’s the Difference?

5 min read

Are you ever baffled by the small squares of fabric in your bathroom? The decision between washcloths and hand towels can be more complex than you think, and that's where we come in! There's more to uncover in this seemingly simple choice. 

From the luxury of a spa-like experience to the functionality that aligns with your daily routine, the difference is in the details. Think about texture, size, absorbency, and how you intend to use them. 

Are you a skincare aficionado or a handwashing pro? Perhaps you're both! Let's embark on a journey through the fibers and functions of these essential bathroom accessories, exploring their primary purposes and the subtle nuances that set them apart.

Anatomy of a Washcloth

The handy little textile washcloth is usually smaller and perfect for skin cleansing. Designed for use on the face and body, washcloths are typically made of soft, gentle materials that feel pleasant against the skin. 

Alternatively, some washcloths made from firmer, more abrasive materials can be good go-tos if you’re looking to add a little bit of exfoliation into your skincare routine. They're helpful to have on hand, not just for bathing but for washing your face as well. 

Washcloths are often used for makeup removal or for a morning and evening cleanse. By opting for a washcloth rather than a hand towel, you can ensure the textile you use to wash the potentially sensitive skin of your face isn’t swimming in bacteria from your or other household members’ hands. 

Materials used in washcloths range from cotton to microfiber and everything in between, each with unique properties that cater to specific needs. Some washcloths are designed with unique patterns for aesthetic appeal, while others are treated for antibacterial properties (more on that later!). Function and fashion combine to make the washcloth a versatile and cherished addition to bathrooms worldwide.

Anatomy of a Hand Towel

It’s important to separate your towels based on purpose — as we touched on above, keeping your washcloths separate from your other bath linens is crucial to avoid “cross-contamination,” so to speak. 

You don’t want to be wiping the germs from drying your hands after using the restroom all over your face when you wash it in the morning. And you don’t want to wrap yourself up in the washcloths you use to clean your kitchen after a shower. Different sizes of towels are different sizes for a reason!

Hand towels are designated for drying your hands — surprise, surprise. It’s good practice to change your hand towels out regularly, especially before and after you have any guests over, to keep things clean! In the same way that you wouldn’t let your guests sleep on sheets that haven’t been properly cared for, you shouldn’t let them use a week-old hand towel.

Another thing that can help you keep your hand towels in good order is choosing the right material. From luxurious Egyptian cotton to the plushness of bamboo fibers, hand towels come in various materials, each offering different absorption capabilities and levels of cleanliness. But the choice goes beyond mere fabric types. 

Hand towels can be a statement of style, with colors, patterns, and textures that complement your décor. But if a hand towel that complements the styling of your bathroom or other spaces is important to you, it might be a good idea to have multiple hand towels available. You can have a functional option and one that you don’t use but hang for looks.

Whatever suits your personal needs and style, it’s important to have a good place to hang your towel where it can be as flat as possible to dry. Tossing your hand towel on top of a shelving unit or hanging it in a way that creates a lot of folds and wrinkles is a recipe for disaster — and by disaster, we mean mildew. Especially in potentially damp and humid rooms such as the bathroom or kitchen, it’s important to give your hand towels ample space to dry properly after use.

Washcloth vs Hand Towel: The Great Debate

So, what sets these two apart? While washcloths are more suited for delicate cleaning tasks, hand towels excel in drying prowess. 

Washcloths, with their smaller size and gentle texture, are particularly suitable for detailed cleaning. They can get into the nooks and crannies of the face, providing a gentle exfoliation that may be ideal for sensitive skin or specialized skincare routines. 

Washcloths can also be excellent for babies, as their gentle touch is perfect for soft, delicate skin. In healthcare or spa settings, washcloths often find utility in targeted applications, providing care and attention to specific areas of the body.

Hand towels, however, have their distinct realm of usefulness. Their larger size and often thicker fabric make them optimal for drying hands and small body parts efficiently. Many people find the feel of a plush hand towel comforting and luxurious, transforming a simple act like washing hands into a pleasant experience. 

In summary, the choice between washcloths and hand towels is not merely about size or appearance. It's about recognizing their unique applications, understanding your needs, and appreciating the role each plays in different contexts. 

How To Choose What’s Right for You

In reality, while hand towels and washcloths have their strengths and weaknesses, you don’t necessarily need to choose between them. Because they fill different niches in your care routine and home cleanliness, it’s best to have a full set of bath towels like you have multiple pieces in your bedding set to accomplish different goals.

When choosing your hand towels and washcloths, you might want to consider personal preferences like how they complement your decor and which materials simply feel best to the touch for you. But beyond personal preferences and aesthetics, it's essential to consider the functionality and technological advancements in these bathroom essentials. This is where Miracle Made products can be the game-changers in your daily routine.

Hand Towels and Washcloths With a Difference

Our Miracle Made® Hand Towel, with its premium eucalyptus and silver-infused fabric, goes beyond the standard towel. This antibacterial wonder prevents up to 99.7% of odor-causing bacteria growth using naturally antimicrobial silver, offering maximum absorbency and cutting drying time in half. 

If you’re looking for something for more delicate tasks, our Miracle Made® Washcloth is designed with the same premium quality and attention to detail. Not only does it keep odor-causing bacteria at bay, but it also offers maximum absorbency and dries quickly. 

Created with your skin in mind, these washcloths elevate the simple act of washing your face into an experience that pampers and nourishes without risking breakout-causing bacteria spreading to your face.

Our products aren't just about luxury and comfort but about aligning with your lifestyle and values. Reducing laundry frequency means being kinder to the environment, and choosing cleaner fabrics translates to better skincare. It's a well-rounded approach to your daily routine that doesn't compromise on style or substance. 

Throwing in the Towel

Whether it's a washcloth or a hand towel, the decision need not be perplexing. With Miracle Brand's commitment to quality, backed by sound scientific principles, you'll find a solution tailored to you. 

And really, when it comes down to it, it’s not about choosing between them at all. They serve two different functions. There’s room in your life and in your bathroom for both!

As you consider which option best fits your lifestyle, remember that the little things do matter. These seemingly simple textiles are essential tools that add texture, convenience, and a touch of thoughtfulness to our daily lives.


How to Prevent and Remove Mildew — Home Methods | University of Missouri Extension

Antibacterial Silver | National Library of Medicine

How Often Should an Acne-Prone Person Wash Their Towel |

How to Safely Exfoliate At Home | American Academy of Dermatology

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