Scrubbing with plastic is not a good option!
There is an article by the dermatologist J. Matthew Knight, from the Knight Dermatology Institute of New York, which was published at the New York Post regarding the use of mesh shower poufs or synthetic sponges. He is amongst the 98% estimated dermatologists who will recommend against the use of a mesh shower pouf. This article reiterates concerns I had regarding the use of synthetic sponges for my children when they were babies.
As I have written before, my inspiration for creating the alegria wash cloths came from the wish to have for my children’s bath time, products which were natural, more environmentally friendly, gentle on the skin and more hygienic.
Dr. Knight explains that mesh shower poufs often hold our dead cells, which in the moist and heated bathroom environment can create a perfect ecosystem for the growth of millions of bacteria. The incubation of these bacteria can occur hours after the use of the pouf/sponge. He states that ideally these types of sponges should be disposed after a single use. Clearly the single use of these synthetic sponges is neither a good environmental approach nor does it make any financial sense. Dr. Knight discourages the use of synthetic sponges but notes that for those who want to use them it is good practice to wash them thoroughly and hang them to dry in a non-moist environment immediately after use. In addition, he recommends that plastic sponges are used only for a period of three months and then they should be thrown away.
I do understand the scientific reasons behind his clinical recommendation nonetheless let us be realistic, a three-month life cycle for a plastic sponge does not make any environmental or financial sense. Natural sponges are great for bathing children but the fact remains that they disintegrate quite fast thus not making them financially viable either. In addition, there are many arguments regarding the environmental practices for sourcing natural sponges.
So why not go back to textiles I thought as a mom and designer after considering all the above mentioned cons. After all, textiles can also be recycled! I took a look at the washcloths made out of towel fabric. There are many cute mitten type washcloths in the market for children. However, this thick textile takes quite a long time to dry in the moist bathroom environment. And even wet textile washcloths if not cared for properly may help to breed bacteria. However, crochet can be weaved in different styles and thickness allowing the design to shape the function of the product.
After experimenting with a few different weave patterns, yarns and design types three different generations of wash cloth were born in the alegria BATH family: Baby washcloth, Kids Washcloth and Mitten Washcloth.
The design and function of these products and the use of specific yarns and colors caters for the different stages of the little ones’ bathing journey from baby to independent child.
After 7 years of experimenting with different washcloth designs and two years of gathering and applying parents’ reviews to the alegria BATH collection I am happy to say the results have been positive and customers are happy. As a mom I am happy to share my findings, and as an architect and product designer I can say that this product is functional, and as an entrepreneur the reviews and customer’s experiences with this product have been very positive.
Also remember that our ethos is all about sharing alegria (happiness) and as part of that we collaborate with Save the Children in Switzerland via the Magic13 initiative. Which means that when you purchase an alegria product you are giving back to less privileged children.
Last but now least, our washcloths are fairly made by independent artisans in Brazil which helps empower women and moms to work from home and provide for their children. So it can’t get any better than having bathing accessories that are environmentally friendly, designed for different stages of your littles ones, has a long lasting life if cared for properly, it’s great for baby’s sensitive skin, and gives back to children in need.
- Flavia Augusta de Almeida