Salux says fake cloths are sold on Alibaba, Amazon and eBay

Counterfeits of a Japanese washcloth that has become a cult success in international markets are rife on major online marketplaces, says its manufacturer.

The Salux Cloth – a patented exfoliating nylon cloth that was originally developed in the 1960s – is a best-seller in Japan, and almost inevitably has attracted counterfeiters who sell knock-offs on Alibaba, AliExpress, Amazon and eBay.

The cloth is lightweight yet long enough to hold in both hands and reach areas such as the small of the back and under the feet, and sells in the US for $7.15 apiece or $45 for 10 cloths. The counterfeits seem to be fairly close in price to the genuine article, although Salux says the quality is lacking.

"It has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Ok, we are very flattered and very frustrated," says the company. "They can imitate, but they just can't duplicate. The counterfeit cloths, aka knockoffs, range from very bad to horrible. Sorry, nothing in between."

Fake versions with “copied packaging, counterfeited tags, and [using] the Salux EAN barcode” are widespread on major online platforms, says Salux, and are mostly made in China.

Some of the knock-offs use a similar but different picture than appears on the genuine brand, and come in different colours to the authentic Salux range and actually say they are ‘made in China’.

A frequently-asked questions (FAQ) page on Salux’ website provides examples of counterfeit listings that have appeared on the online marketplaces, and it has also started to call out offending listings via Twitter:

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