The Salux washcloth is one of those things that made me wonder, “how did I not know about this before now?”, when I became aware of it a few months ago. After using a Salux washcloth, I now feel that when it comes to showering, “I’ve been doing it wrong”, at least for my whole pre-Salux life.
What is a Salux washcloth? Materially, it’s like the bath pouf (“pouf”, yes I guess that’s the word) that is common in showers in North America and probably elsewhere. Both the Salux and the pouf are made of nylon and polyester or similar synthetic fabric. But while the traditional bath pouf is bunched up into a spherical shape (usually with a cord loop for hanging), the Salux washcloth is shaped like a scarf, flat, about 10 inches wide and 35 inches long. You might not assume this difference in shape would make much difference in performance, but … you’d be wrong— it really does.
The Salux washcloth has a bit more texture than the pouf, so the Salux does a better job cleaning and exfoliating. After I’m done, I feel really clean, cleaner than I’ve ever felt after showering any other way. (Although I should mention that I don’t think I need that much cleaning every day; I use the Salux once or twice per week.)
How to use it: While you’re in the shower, skin wet, you put a small amount of soap, body wash liquid, or shower gel onto the Salux washcloth. You should turn the water off, so that you don’t rinse away the soap before it’s had a chance to do its work. Then, holding the Salux by the ends, one end in each hand, you wash yourself with a back-and-forth “shoeshine” motion. This is especially good for washing your back. (See the picture.) The Salux makes lots of suds — more than the pouf, probably due to the quick back-and-forth motion. You can also bunch it up and use it as you’d use a pouf or old-fashioned (cotton terry) washcloth, but I mostly use it fully stretched out between two hands pretty much everywhere: my back, underarms, legs and feet, even between toes. (But not my face, the Salux experience is a little too intense for face cleaning.)
How it saves money: The main advantage to using the Salux washcloth is that it allows you to use less soap. With the Salux I use only about 1/3 the amount of body wash liquid as I normally use without it. Getting cleaner while using less soap means that the Salux will pay for itself long before it wears out. One reviewer on Amazon mentioned that after a Salux washcloth is too worn out for use in the shower (because it begins to fray at the ends and loses some of its texture), he saves it and uses it for household cleaning in the kitchen and bathroom.
Another nice thing about the Salux is that because of its shape it’s easier to rinse clean after use and it dries quickly and completely, thus making it more sanitary. Poufs don’t dry as well because the bunched-up shape doesn’t allow as much contact with air. You can also wash the Salux in a washing machine (same for the pouf), but this doesn’t seem necessary. They get clean just by rinsing them well after use. The need to launder cotton washcloths is one of the main reasons they are inconvenient and inefficient. (If you launder your Salux washcloth in your washing machine, be sure not to put it in the dryer. Heat is not good for synthetic fabrics.)
A couple final notes. (1) Some webpages use the word “towel” to describe the Salux. I think that’s a mis-translation (given that these are made in Japan). The Salux is a washcloth, intended to be used with soap and water for cleaning, not drying. It wouldn’t be good for drying off after a shower. (2) It’s been reported that Chinese-made fakes and knockoffs are common, but the consensus seems to be that these are inferior and that the real Japanese-made Salux is much better than any imitator.