What Is a Washing Mitt?

C. Mitchell

A washing mitt is any sort of glove-like product designed to aid in bathing or washing. Mitts are most commonly used for washing other people, particularly children, dogs and other animals, and cars. Most are shaped like a mitten, with one space for fingers and another for the thumb, or as a simple pod without any finger compartments at all. Wearing a washing mitt allows a person to cover a wider area with soapy suds than he or she could with a sponge, dishcloth, or washcloth.

Washing mitts may be used to help bathe infants.
Washing mitts may be used to help bathe infants.

The composition and material of a washing mitt is usually determined by its main use. A washing mitt intended to be used in baby baths is typically very soft, often made of terrycloth or plush microfiber. Baby bath mitts are often decorated with playful colors, or designed to look like animals, smiling fruits, or other child-friendly shapes. They often more closely resemble a terry hand puppet than a bath-time tool.

For adults, washing mitts can be useful for personal hygiene.
For adults, washing mitts can be useful for personal hygiene.

Mitts can also be used as personal hygiene products by adults. Adults may use a washing mitt in the bath or shower as a gentle way to wash the day away. Mitts help bath gels form a better lather than washcloths, and often hold suds longer than a sponge.

Washing mitts help bath gels produce more lather.
Washing mitts help bath gels produce more lather.

Washing mitts are also frequently used to promote hygiene in dogs and other animals, particularly horses. These kinds of mitts are typically made of chunkier fibers. The idea is to work up a good lather and scrub debris out of fur; gentleness is a concern, but it is not usually the top priority.

Many car owners also use a washing mitt to more efficiently and effectively spread soap while washing their vehicles. Car mitts are usually made of sheepskin, good quality wool, or any other thick, porous fiber. Wearing a washing mitt can help a car washer cover more area in less time, and ensures an even distribution of soap suds. Suds stay on the mitt for a long period of time, which eliminates the need to continue going back to the wash bucket.

Efficiency is a major selling point of washing mitts in all categories. The majority are designed to help wash more with less. A washglove is typically quite durable, and often lasts far longer than a sponge or washcloth used in a comparable way. The fibers do not break down as easily, and the ability to retain suds prevents the need for forceful scrubbing.

Washing mitts are sold in different places, depending on their intended use. Bathing mitts are usually displayed near towels and other bath linens, or in a store’s baby department. Animal cleansing mitts are often found in pet supply stores, and car wash gloves are typically sold alongside other automotive supplies.

Washing mitts provide a wider coverage of suds than a washcloth.
Washing mitts provide a wider coverage of suds than a washcloth.

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Discussion Comments


I use a bath mitt that is kind of rough. It's for exfoliation. I like it because there are no sharp edges, as there sometimes are with the beads in exfoliate creams. I use it on my face, elbows and knees. It works very well.

My mitt is really more like a glove since it has fingers, but it's still a very good method for making my skin look better and smoother. I wish it were rough enough for my feet, but then it would be too rough for my face.

I don't think I've seen the baby bath washing mitts, but I'm sure they're cute, and anything that helps bathing the baby go smoother is a great thing for moms.


I have a washing mitt for my car and I really like using it. When I hand wash my car, it seems like I can get it soaped down faster with a mitt than with a regular cloth. I use a terry cloth mitt and it holds a lot of soap and water. It's also good if I need to scrape a little sap or something off and don't want to use my bare fingernail. There's a barrier and the paint doesn't get scratched.

I also have a sponge mitt for applying the wax, which is another good idea. I can wax my car without getting the stuff all over my hands. It's greasy and doesn't smell so great, and I'd rather not have the scent on my hands. The mitt helps keep that from happening.

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