How to care for a natural loofah
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My lovely neighbor Janice of Forget Me Not Farm here in Hillsborough, North Carolina had the forethought this summer to grow some natural loofah. She lovingly harvested, dried, and prepared the little beauties and sells them at her roadside stand and generously gave me a few to try out. Stop by and get some if you’re in the area!
I’d heard of natural loofah before but I have to be honest and tell you that I wasn’t quite sure where they came from. Were they some sort of sea sponge? A cactus? The hide of an adorable animal of some sort?
Janice enlightened me and it turns out that they are the dried product of a type of gourd! And like everything else, controversy abounds around using these scrubbies provided by nature. And like many of these -ahem- controversies I call shenanigans.
You might see some click-bait headlines warning you that if you don’t care for a natural loofah properly you’ll come down with some sort of hideous skin disease.
But it’s a good idea to care for a natural loofah the right way because it’s pretty disgusting to think of rubbing dead skin cells and bacteria all over your body when you’re showering, Amiright?
How to Care for a Natural Loofah
Fortunately it’s pretty darn simple. It follows the same train of thought as sanitizing your kitchen sponge:
- Dry it
- Nuke it
- Bleach it
- Replace it
Bacteria loves damp stuff. It doesn’t love dry stuff quite as much. A hot, humid bathroom is heaven for bacteria, so getting your natural loofah as dry as possible after each bathing session is a good idea. You need to have the loofah in a position that allows as much air flow as possible and then make the environment as dry as possible. There are a few ways to accomplish this:
- Keep it in a non-bathroom area. This is a pain in the ass. I guarantee you’ll get in the shower every day and then go, “doh!” when you realize your dry but absent natural loofah is hanging in your closet.
- Keep it in the bathroom but hang it somewhere away from the shower.
- Use the darn fan in the bathroom. I’m super guilty of ignoring this because I don’t like the sound of the fan and I like it to get super steamy. But I do turn it on after my shower to suck out the extra moisture in the room.
Remember the sponge post? Same idea. Make sure you squeeze out the natural loofah and have it not-too-soapy but definitely damp before you put it in the microwave. DO NOT PUT A SYNTHETIC, PLASTIC LOOFAH IN THE MICROWAVE!!! To care for a natural loofah you only need to nuke it for about 20 seconds. Do this every day or two. C’mon. It takes 20 seconds. You can manage it.
Y’all know I’m not a bleach-a-phobe. Bleach, in proper dilutions, is amazing. In this case you’ll want to use a 5% solution (1 part bleach to 20 parts water) to soak your natural loofah every week or so. Soak it for about 5 minutes and then rinse it thoroughly. This can be done in place of or in addition to microwaving the loofah.
Does it smell weird? Toss it. Does it look moldy and weird? Toss it. Have you been using it daily for months? Toss it. Have you been using it for a year without ever replacing or cleaning it? For the love of all that is green and good, toss it!
It’s not that hard to care for a natural loofah. Keep it dry, nuke it, bleach it, replace it. Do these four things regularly and you’ll be scrubbing pretty!