Soap and water are basic elements of cleansing. Soaps are emulsifiers, which means they remove dirt and germs by making them water-soluble. Typically, oils won't rinse away in water, but soap attaches to dirt and oil particles so they can be removed with water [source: PG Beauty Science]. But the problem with many soaps is that they can deplete your skin's essential oils, which can cause dry, flaky skin.
Cleansing cloths and pillows work on a similar principle to soap without causing excessive drying. They contain moisturizers and mild soaps that are specifically designed to clean the skin and remove excess oil without overdrying [source: Mayo Clinic].
Now that you understand how cleansing cloths and pillows work, read on to learn about the different types of cloths and pillows and how to select the right one for your skin.