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For years, my sister has been trying to convince anyone who will listen that white people don’t use washcloths. They use their hands, a loofah or something else but washcloths are not a staple in their hygiene like they are for Black households across the diaspora.

And while I initially doubted those claims, the older I get the more I realize she might have been onto something.

Y’all know the subject of hygiene is something Black people discuss all the time. And the conversation gets exceptionally more interesting when we compare our cleaning and grooming habits to white folks because they’re just…different.

The latest discussion in bathing began when Twitter user Joel Saxon posed a question to the timeline.

“When showering are you a ‘full body washer,’ or an ‘armpits and genitals only’ person?”

With over 26,000 votes, thankfully most people said they wash their full bodies. 94.7 percent, compared to 5.3 percent who only hit their armpits and genitals.

But more than the results, folks wanted to know why was this question even posed in the first place?

Washing your armpits and genitals is what’s known as a bird bath—or for the more lewd among us, a h*e bath. But to b clear, that type of sanitation is used when one is in a rush.

If you take the time to turn the shower on and let water wash over your whole body, why not wash all of it.

Preferably with a washcloth.

I don’t know if y’all know this but washcloths serves to exfoliate the skin, remove bacteria that lingers in the areas that don’t necessarily smell but still need to be cleaned. And also, if you’re not washing the bottoms of your feet and behind your ears, you’re doing yourself a great disservice.

And you already know that Black people had a great time letting Mr. [Anglo] Saxon know that there was a fundamental problem with his inquiry. More on that later.

The conversation got more interesting when Alexis Ohanian Sr., co-founder of Reddit, father to Olympia, and husband to Serena Williams chimed in with his two cents.


I read the tweet aloud to my sister and the vindication was real. What have I been telling you?

It’s all very fascinating really.

I don’t know of any other body-cleaning tool that is as effective as a washcloth covering the human hand. You get the gentle scrub, it drapes over the shape of your hand, granting you easy access to those hard to reach spots. It is the superior way to bathe.

And the idea that so many people forgo this tool is astounding—to say the least. At the end of the day, I know we’re all human beings. But this showering discussion just reminds me of that fact that Black and white people really do live in two different worlds.

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