A loofah is a fibrous plant seedpod that is grown and most often used as a sponge. It grows on a gourd that resembles a cucumber. Loofah sponges can be used for many different things. They are often used in bathing as a natural way of exfoliating your skin. Loofahs also work great for cleaning dishes or even washing cars.
Choosing your Loofahs
To most people, all loofahs probably appear to be the same, but there are actually different types of loofahs and different loofah products to choose from. For example, a loofah that is less fibrous is more flexible and can be great for making loofah soap. A denser loofah works better for tough jobs like when stubborn food particles get stuck on your dishes. Also, stiffer loofahs tend to have more fibers, so if you want a softer loofah for exfoliating your face, for example, you would want to look for a loofah that is less fibrous.
Keep Your Loofah Dry
Each time you finish using your loofah, it is very important to let it dry completely. For starters, when loofahs are always wet, they have a higher tendency to deteriorate faster. More importantly, loofahs attract bacteria when they are moist and have many tiny nooks and crannies where the bacteria can fester and accumulate. You can hang the loofah on a hook outside of the bathroom to let it air dry. Outside of the bathroom area is best because the steam in the bathroom will only moisten the loofah again.
How to Soften a New Loofah
Most new loofahs are extremely hard and coarse. Once the loofah becomes saturated, it should become softer and not as rough on your skin. If the loofah is still too hard, you can try soaking it in a mild bleach and water solution (about 1/2 cup of bleach per gallon of water) to help break down some of the fibers. Be careful not to use too much bleach or soak too long because the fibers may break down too much and the loofah can lose its effectiveness in exfoliating your skin.
Keep Your Loofah Clean
Loofahs are prone to soap build up, so it is important to wash your loofah regularly. The best way to clean your loofah is to first rinse it in cold running water. Next, soak the loofah in a vinegar and water solution (2 tbsp. of vinegar to 1 tsp.of water). Take your loofah out of the solution and shake out the excess liquid. Set it on a clean, dry surface to dry. The loofah should be almost as good as new.
Replace Your Loofah
Loofahs tend to hold dirt, so you want to be sure not to use them for different surfaces. For example, if you use a loofah to scrub your floor, do not use it on your body when you bathe. Also, loofahs are breeding grounds for bacteria so they should not be shared with other members of the household. Once a loofah has been used, it will be impossible to completely sterilize it, though you may be tempted to try. Do not soak your loofah in boiling water because if it is attached to a brush, it will loosen the glue. Instead, you should replace your loofah every three weeks.