Lose Your Loofah

Picture this: It’s 9am, you just woke up and are heading to the bathroom to start your day. Walking down the hall in your towel wrap and shower shoes with your shower caddy in hand, you turn the shower nob all the way to the warmest setting. Just as the shower starts to get hot, you start your shower. Head to toe you start washing, scrubbing, rub-a-dub-dubbing, and so forth, all with a little help from your loofah.

The member of the Plantae Kingdom, the Luffa in its most original form of sponge, can be used as a Loofah for the shower

The loofah- a common shower accessory for most; usually brightly colored; soft to the touch; great for lathering ones body in body wash and exfoliating soaps; home to grimy mold and bacteria.

Once just a member of the Plantae Kingdom, in the fruit species, Loofahs have taken over the world of spas and pampering.

Hidden inside the (happy) valleys of sponges and mesh sit week and month old bacteria that mature into viruses. If not washed out properly, these shower sponges can infect the skin of the person using them. According to the Huffington Post, if you aren’t careful, innocent exfoliation from loofahs may result in an Staphylococcal Infection near the source of a cut, which can lead to puss filled bumps on the skin.

While looking for images to include in this post, I could not find one photo from a movie or TV show where a character was using a loofah. I saw the occasional wash cloth, but I promise, even the big shot Hollywood movie makers know not to mess with loofahs.

Although they look soft, loofahs are actually far more rough on the skin than they seem. According to MSN Lifestyle, avoiding your face while loofah-ing is a key component to any shower. The skin on your face is too delicate to pummel with the mesh that makes up a loofah, so make sure to keep the loofah designated to your back, chest, legs, and arms for optimal exfoliation and washing- if you even want to keep using it at all.

Wanna hear something really gross? Every time you use the same loofah, you’re putting millions of baby germs back onto your body that you had “cleaned off” before. The Huffington post says, the only difference now is that you might smell a little better than before you showered.

What should I do if I still want to use a loofah?

  • Hang it up to dry and light after you shower (and make sure it is actually dry…because otherwise you’re just asking for bacterial growth)
  • If you don’t remember when you bought the loofah, it’s time to get a new loofah. The bacteria build up will get to be too much and it will just stop being an effective method of cleaning.
  • Soak your loofah once a week in boiling water to kill of any germ colonies.


Love and Loofahs! -Dani

6 thoughts on “Lose Your Loofah

  1. Justine Arlexandra Cardone

    I am a loofah-user myself and I have always wondered if it was as sanitary as thought. When I use mine I always wash it out completely and leave in to dry for the next use. I never knew that it is a good idea to maybe boil out the germs and bacteria once in awhile! I have been using loofah for many years and I have never seen any negative effects to my skin, however, I could see how bacteria and germs could manifest in them without proper cleaning. After reading your post I will probably replace my loofah more often and make that I am really cleaning it out after I use it. I might try boiling it to so I can be extra certain!!

  2. Dana Corinne Pirrotta

    First off, I love the happy valley joke/reference! So cute!
    This blog post just reinforces the reasons I don’t use a loofah, but they always come in such pretty colors at Bed Bath Beyond that I always end up buying them for no good reason. I would be interested in the benefits of the loofah though, and like one commenter mentioned, if these benefits outweigh the potential negatives. Does a loofah even exfoliate? While googling it, I actually found quite a ridiculous article, detailing how to properly use the darn thing. Here’s the link For anyone that doesn’t know how to properly use their loofah, that’s why we have the internet.

  3. Olivia Mei Zhang

    Wow! I can definitely say that I will not be using a loofah anytime soon. It makes sense that using one harbors copious amounts of bacteria and possibly mold (if not taken care of properly). I think the most important fault the loofah has is it’s poor design. Because it is so compact and designed to really get underneath your pores and dead skin cells, it has the ability to pick up extra “stuff” while it’s attempting to do it’s job. Health essentials (https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2014/07/loofahs-can-double-as-bacterial-breeding-grounds/) has some great tips about caring for loofahs if you are adamant about using them. But personally, I think there are alternative ways to achieving that soapy fresh look!

  4. Dante Labricciosa

    As an avid loofah user, this seems relevant and as the previous comment has said, not surprising. I do make sure to hang up my loofah to dry, and wash it down with streaming water before another use, it never crosses my mind the actual amount of bacteria that grows, and in what environment it grows most rapidly. One would never think you could receive an infection from the thing you use daily to clean you. Though this post is very helpful at finding the flaws of loofahs, what are the benefits besides exfoliation and why are they still a trademark product when it comes to taking a shower? This post could also further investigate how long it takes for serious bacteria to grow and become dangerous to the body, the use expectation of a loofah, or other healthier alternatives that we can take. After discussing in class, we could set up an observational study, observing people whom use loofahs, sponges, bar soap, washcloth or an alternative to see the amount of bacteria that grows on the cleaning product, to see what is actually best (or at least the least germ-filled).

  5. Matthew O'Brien

    I think that the main question here should have been whether the risk of bacterial infection outweighs the cleaning benefits from using a loofah. You said that bacteria can mature into viruses (which is actually untrue- viruses are nonliving and unrelated to bacterial infection), but what is the likelihood that this actually becomes dangerous? Almost all surfaces (doorknobs, telephones, railings, etc.) have bacteria all over them but that does not mean that a hygienic person will be constantly infected.

    Your claim might very well be correct, I just don’t think anyone should change their shower habits based on the one Huffington Post article referenced in your blog. Here is an interesting post from someone who took this class in 2012 comparing Loofahs to Washcloths. She did also note the potential for bacteria on loofahs, but she did not conclude that we should stop using them.

  6. Abigail Roe

    While reading your blog, I was not surprised at the findings. It makes sense that loofahs contain many germs and bacteria. If it isn’t dried properly and is just left sitting in the corner of your shower, it probably isn’t the most sanitary. Luckily, I have never used a loofah, and I don’t plan on it anytime soon. Some questions that came to mind were, if washcloths are a better option or if they too contain bacteria. You could have compared and contrasted loofahs to washcloths to really vamp up your blog post. However I did enjoy reading your findings. I really dig the voice you put into you blog! It made it fun to read and flaunted your writing style.

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