What is a Loofah
The loofah is a plant source of a sponge. It is basically made from sponge gourd or loofah gourd which grows in tropical climates. The loofah has been used in kitchens and bath houses for centuries. It looks like a cucumber. It is also harvested for food in many parts of the world, especially Asia. When harvested for a sponge, the loofah is allowed to mature and dry on the vine.
Types of Loofah
Loofahs are generally of two types. The bath poufs and the loofah. Loofah is made up of natural fibre from the sponge gourd while the bath poufs are mostly fluffy scrubs made from any synthetic material. Both are used similarly and both can attract bacteria if not well maintained and sanitized.
How to make a natural loofah with the sponge gourd
If you have loofah on the vine, then you can leave it to mature and dry on the vine. If you do not have the plant, then you get sponge gourds in the market. Buy a long fat one, and dry it in the sun. Depending on the size of the gourd and the sunlight, it will take anywhere between one to six months to dry completely. So these are the steps.
- Dry the sponge gourd in the sun. It will take more than a month to dry.
- Once dried completely, break the end of the gourd. As the end of the gourd is hollow, the fibre stays intact.
- Peel the skin of the gourd slowly. As you peel, you will see the fibre inside.
- This peeled gourd is the loofah. It has seeds inside and you can remove the seeds by inverting the gourd and shaking the gourd well. The mature seeds will fall off. These seeds can be dried and sowed to harvest some more sponge gourds.
- If the loofah is too long, you can cut it to manageable sizes.
- Once you have peeled the gourd, soak it in slightly warm water or hold it under running water. This will get rid of the immature seeds, starch and any other impurities. Repeat this two times.
- Rinse the fibre, squeeze out the water and dry it. Once dried, you can store it in a bag for future use.
How to use the loofah
The loofah is a great exfoliator. It is gentle on the skin and helps remove dead skin cells and dry skin. You usually use a loofah in the bath or shower.
- Hold it under running water to make it soft.
- Take some body wash or soap and apply it on the loofah. Rub it together so that it produces lather.
- Scrub yourself gently with the loofah to remove dead skin cells.
- Avoid the places which has extra tender skin.
Benefits of using a loofah
- It is a natural exfoliator and cleaning scrub.
- Accelerates blood circulation.
- The fibrous dried loofah helps to shed dirt and unclog pores, by removing built-up oils and dirt particles clogging your pores.
- This results in a reduction of breakouts.
Risks Involved in using a loofah
Even though a loofah is a great exfoliator and makes you feel very clean, it can become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. The loofah has to be sanitized and thoroughly cleaned after every wash.
When you leave it wet after a bath, it may harbour bacteria, leading to skin infection.
How to take care of loofah
- You should replace the loofah every month.
- You can wash your loofah and air- dry it out in the sun after every wash.
- Do not leave the loofah in the bathroom as it is a moist environment that will make it harbour bacteria.
- Alternatively, you can boil it in water after every use.
- Some even suggest microwaving it for a few seconds.
- You can also soak it in mild bleach and water solution.