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4 Natural Zero Waste Loofahs That Will Make You And Your Shower Cleaner

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It’s easy to not realize how often a product is single-use or disposable in our everyday routine and how that can add up over time. Zero waste loofahs are a great replacement for plastic shower poufs. 

What’s something that’s classy if you’re rich but trashy if you’re poor? Apparently showering. With Soap. 

If you know, you know, but if you don’t, in August 2021 a slew of celebs admitted to infrequent showering and casual soap usage. As in typical Hollywood fashion, other celebs joined in and shared their own personal hygiene habits, both the super clean and the infrequent cleaners. And now we know ‘The Rock’ showers 3X per day. 

Photo by Jorge Fernández on Unsplash

Doctors have come out in support of both sides of the argument. At the end of the day do whatever your body needs based on your lifestyle. And if you live in a high drought area, shortening and cooling showers is good for water conservation (as long as you’re maintaining healthy hygiene). 

No matter how often you choose to shower and clean yourself, shower accessories are important in your zero waste journey. It’s easy not to think about how often a product is single-use or disposable in our everyday routine and how that can add up over time. 

In this piece we’ll be talking about zero waste loofah’s — or Luffa — no one has agreed on the proper spelling yet.

Read on to learn more about this exfoliating plant turned shower accessory.

What Is A Loofah

You’re probably familiar with a loofah — you can buy them for $2 at almost any store in an array of bright colors. If you’ve owned one before you know they get super sudsy and are excellent for washing your body. 

But these brightly colored poufs have a dark side *cue dramatic music*. While fun and easy to use, they’re made from synthetic petroleum-based materials like nylon and plastic. Neither of those are organic material and neither can be composted. 

When using a synthetic shower pouf, not only are you scrubbing your body with plastic, but with every use it sheds microplastics that drain with your soap and water and enter the water system.

Why Should I Make The Switch To A Zero Waste Loofah?

Natural loofahs, or zero waste loofahs, are a completely organic material! Grown for thousands of years in tropical locations, the Luffa plant is actually a relative of the cucumber family and looks like something you’d want to use in your fall decoration medley. Because it comes from the earth it can be easily returned to the earth by composting after use. 

Are Zero Waste Loofahs Better Than Other Alternatives? 

Natural Loofahs VS Sea Sponges

Photo by nadhem benmbarek on Unsplash

Sea sponges are touted as another eco-friendly alternative to plastic poufs. Unlike the name suggests however, sea sponges are not marine plants but are actual sea animals. We’ll say living creatures because they lack internal organs, a respiratory system, or a nervous system but trust us, they’re considered animals

While most companies claim to harvest sea sponges sustainably, there is not a lot of regulation around this. As with anything, there is always the risk of over harvesting sea sponges. This is problematic because they are an important part of the marine ecosystem.

Washcloths

Washcloths are an eco-friendly alternative to a plastic scrubber, but because of the humid environment of the bathroom and shower, they’re breeding grounds for bacteria. Experts recommend only using a washcloth 1X before washing it. Plus they’re difficult and awkward to use anyway.

Silicone Scrubbers

Silicone seems to be the latest in “environmentally friendly materials” because it’s easy to clean, non-porous and doesn’t hold bacteria in it, yet still soft and gentle on skin. 

That all sounds really great, and silicone does have a lot of good qualities but because of its durability, it does not biodegrade or compost. And while it can be recycled, it needs to be sent to a specialized facility, not tossed into curbside recycling. 

Long story short Natural > Silicone > Plastic.

Zero Waste Loofahs Outside the Shower

A fun thing about loofahs is that as a versatile exfoliator, their use is not limited to our skin! Over the years they’ve been used for water filters, painting, helmet padding, and even as diesel oil filters. 

Today, loofahs can be used basically anywhere a sponge would be used — for dishes, cleaning countertops and any especially sticky situations. Natural loofahs are also stronger than traditional sponges (and made of better ingredients) so they’re great for any extra scrubbing that needs to be done. 

Zero Waste Loofahs Outside the Shower

A fun thing about loofahs is that as a versatile exfoliator, their use is not limited to our skin! Over the years they’ve been used for water filters, painting, helmet padding, and even as diesel oil filters. 

Today, loofahs can be used basically anywhere a sponge would be used — for dishes, cleaning countertops and any especially sticky situations. Natural loofahs are also stronger than traditional sponges (and made of better ingredients) so they’re great for any extra scrubbing that needs to be done. 

1. Brush With Bamboo — Agave & Vetiver Bath Scrub

: Circular natural bath scrub with cardboard tag that reads: Vetiver & Agave Bath Scrub Rejuvenating and Cleansing Herbal Exfoliator. Clean Planetware

The inner part of this bath scrub contains Vetiver — not just an essential oil with a cool name, Vetiver is actually a grass with origins in Southeast India. The roots are where the fragrance originates which then goes on to be used in essential oils, perfumes, and even medicinal remedies. The outer layer comes from fiber from the Agave plant. Due to the antifungal properties of Vetiver, this bath scrub will not mold so whenever the vetiver aroma dissipates you can compost your scrub and replace it.

2. Brush With Bamboo — Loofah Pad

6 flattened natural loofah sponges stacked and tied with twine.

These loofahs are 100% natural loofah sourced from a family farm in either India or Guatemala and grown without any pesticides or herbicides. These loofah sponges can be used for any number of cleaning needs. At the end of their life they can be buried or composted along with the tag. If you want some for all over your house, grab them in a 6-pack — just make sure to properly label them or keep them in their respective rooms! 

3. The Home Farm — Silk Face Scrub

3 silk face scrubs laying flat on a surface

This face scrub is made from 100% cruelty-free silk using traditional methods by the Salihli women in Turkey. This silk is sourced from the empty cocoons of the wild Eri moth. Once the moths are no longer using their cocoons, they’re collected from the forest to be used to make silk at no harm to the moths. This face scrub has a diameter of 3.9 inches and a pocket for your fingers for easy use. It has an extremely long life when cared for properly and when the time comes to dispose of it, this scrub is 100% compostable.  

4 flattened natural loofahs in sponge shapes each with a loop for hanging

These loofah sponges are 100% natural loofah, shaped like a traditional sponge with a string for easy storage. To get your sponge ready for use, soak in warm water and let it soften up and expand. As always, store and clean properly to get the best results. 100% compostable.

No matter what you’re using in the shower, make sure to store it and clean it properly. Let it completely dry after each use and clean it weekly with a diluted bleach, or a diluted vinegar solution, or in the dishwasher. In all honesty, the most zero waste option for washing yourself in the shower are those arm sticks that the good lord (evolution) gave you. If that’s not an option, then try making the switch to a zero waste loofah!

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