Investing in a natural loofah can boost your skincare routine and has the potential to curate healthier skin.
Learn the ins and outs of caring for your own loofah and how to avoid the downfalls of a neglected shower pouf.
What Are Loofahs?
A loofah is a textured sponge made of natural plant fiber. Plastic or synthetic versions are available too. Loofahs are used during showers or baths to scrub away layers of dead skin cells which can clog the pores if left unchecked. They can also be used to replace pot scrubbers or cleaning sponges.
Loofahs vs. Luffa – What Is a Luffa?
Loofahs come from the luffa plant, which is a tropical vine in the cucumber plant genus. It originated in Japan but is now grown across the globe in temperate and welcoming climates.
What Are Loofahs Made Out Of?
Natural loofahs are made from the fruit of the luffa plant. The plant’s fibrous gourds are left to hang from the vine until they mature and dry out fully. Afterwards, the sponge-like fruits are harvested and sold as an exfoliating or cleaning loofah.
Usually sold as a “bath pouf”, you can find synthetic loofahs made of plastic, silicone or rayon.
Types of Loofahs – Which Are Better To Use?
Natural loofahs have a much coarser texture than synthetic mesh poufs. If exfoliation or scrubbing is your main goal, then a natural loofah is best.
The mesh weave of a synthetic loofah is softer than that of natural loofahs. For very sensitive skin, this may be a better option. However, regularly disinfecting a loofah is important for your skin’s health, and you will find that a synthetic weave cannot withstand regular deep cleanings.
What’s the Best Loofah?
You may find the Heirloom Mayan Loofah Scrubbers by Clean Planetware to be a practical option. Wrapped up in compostable packaging, the Heirloom Mayan Loofah Scrubbers can be used as a flattened or cylindrical loofah–whichever suits your needs.
The flattened shape is useful for surface cleaning of tiles or tubs, while the expanded cylindrical loofah is easy to hold as you exfoliate in the shower. Immerse fully in water to watch each Loofah Scrubber expand.
Those who are green conscious will be pleased to know that no pesticides or herbicides are used in the growing of the Heirloom Mayan luffa crops. Heirloom Mayan Loofah Scrubbers are themselves compostable, too. Just bury each discarded Loofah Scrubber in your garden or green bin.
These sturdy Loofah Scrubbers can withstand a weekly disinfection with bleach or boiling water. With regular sanitation and care, each Heirloom Mayan Loofah Scrubbers can last over a month.
Heirloom Mayan Loofah Scrubbers come in packs of six, so you can designate individual scrubbers for each unique purpose:
- Cleaning surfaces in your bathroom.
- Scrubbing pots, pans and dishes in the kitchen.
- Exfoliating your skin while you bathe or shower.
Why Are Loofahs So Good for Bathing With?
A loofah is nature’s perfect exfoliating tool. It becomes softer and more pliable when immersed in water, making the bath a good place to use a loofah.
The loofah’s sponge-like webbing also enhances the bubbles of your body wash or soap as you work them in. Your loofah will help you get more lather out of less product.
Benefits to Using a Loofah
Exfoliating the skin is part of a healthy skincare routine. While a towel or washcloth can provide some exfoliation, a loofah does a much more thorough job because of its unique texture.
The natural fibers of the loofah remove dead skin and accumulated oil from the body’s surface. This will leave your skin feeling soft, fresh and like it can breathe freely.
Scrubbing the body with a loofah improves circulation – an essential for healthier, younger-looking skin.
If you’ve noticed a dull or flaking appearance to your skin, you’re probably due for a loofah exfoliation.
How to Use a Loofah Properly
- Wet the loofah with warm water to soften its fibers. Thoroughly work the water in for optimal softness if you will be using it to exfoliate.
- Add a coin-sized amount of shower gel or drag your soap bar across the loofah’s surface.
- Press the soapy loofah firmly against your skin and exfoliate the front of your body first, beginning at the neck and working your way down to the feet. For those with sensitive skin, it is best to scrub in a circular motion as this reduces the intensity of abrasion.
- Repeat exfoliation from top to bottom along the back of the body.
- Rinse the soap away from your body with tepid water to soothe your skin.
How to Store a Loofah Safely
Only store your loofah away in a closet or cupboard once it is fully dry. Try storing the loofah outside of your bathroom to protect it from exposure to moisture between uses. Setting it by a sunny window or a fan can ensure it keeps dry until it is needed again.
How to Clean a Loofah
Your loofah will need proper care to keep it sanitary and extend its life. This will only take a minute after each use, though once per week a deep clean should be carried out.
After Each Use
- Rinse the loofah with hot water, squeezing it repetitively until all of the soap is gone.
- Run the loofah under hot running water once more.
- Squeeze out excess water.
- Set the loofah out to dry in a room with reasonable airflow, or at the very least outside of the shower. Speeding up the drying process helps prevent bacteria growth, so try placing your loofah by an open window or under a fan.
Once a Week Deep Clean
Disinfect your loofah weekly to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria. Even a well-dried loofah can be susceptible to contamination. You have several options for the weekly deep clean, and all of them are simple:
- Add your loofah to your weekly load of laundry, but do not run it through the machine dryer.
- Put the loofah in the dishwasher next time you turn it on.
- Leave the loofah to sit in boiling water for 5 minutes.
- Create a mixture of water and ten percent bleach. Allow the loofah to soak in the bleach mixture for 5 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with cool water and hang to dry.
When to Replace a Loofah
Replace your exfoliating loofah once every three to four weeks.
Can You Share a Loofah?
Research has found that each person in a household should always use a separate loofah to avoid spreading bacteria. Swapping loofahs can also put immunosuppressed housemates at risk of infection.
Are Loofahs Unsanitary?
A poorly kept loofah can become a haven for bacteria. Many of us become lazy and leave our loofahs in the shower, sitting in a pool of water until we use it next. But they need care, just as our clothing or homes need regular upkeep.
With so many benefits to using a loofah, learning how to care for one properly is worth it. Adopt these simple tips to keep your loofah sanitary so your skin can keep getting the loofah love it deserves:
- Rinse, squeeze and thoroughly dry your loofah after each use. The less time the loofah remains damp, the less chance it has of harboring bacteria.
- Never use your partner’s or a family member’s loofah. Your loofah should be yours and yours alone.
- Do a deep clean once per week with a bleach soak or a run through the washing machine.
- Don’t store your loofah in the shower between uses.
- Replace your loofah every three to four weeks.
Risks If Not Stored and Cleaned Properly
A neglected loofah can become home to bacteria like E. coli or pseudomonas aeruginosa. Yikes! It only takes a few seconds to rinse, squeeze and set your loofah out to dry, so don’t risk it. Take good care of your loofah and you’ll enjoy the benefits they are renowned for.
Where To Buy the Best Loofah
A well-cared-for loofah will reward you with fresh, flake-free skin. For a good deal that is both ethical and environmentally friendly, check out the Heirloom Mayan Loofah Scrubbers by Clean Planetware. They’re sold in packs of six multipurpose Loofah Scrubbers that are safe to use for either exfoliation or hard surface cleaning.