Almost anyone would look forward to a long and hot bath after a tiring workout. However, before you even start using that loofah, best ask yourself as to when was the last time you cleaned it or replaced it. If you can’t recall such detail, then it only means it has been too long. Here’s why you need to replace it and how often, too. Plus, other alternatives to loofahs that you should try.
What Is a Loofah?
A loofah sponge actually comes from a cucumber-shaped vegetable categorized under the gourds. Thanks to its durable and dry fibers, it makes an excellent tool for exfoliation. It’s best used for the time of the year when your skin gets flaky and dry, particularly the winter season. Apart from scrubbing the dead skin away, loofahs help encourage the pores to banish impurities and excess oil. It also enhances blood circulation.
As mentioned, it’s the prime tool for exfoliation. Moreover, it improves blood circulation. Other benefits of using it are as follows.
Safe to Use
Unlike other bath tools, loofahs are all natural and come from organic means. As long as it is replaced every three to four weeks, it is unlikely to cause a skin infection.
Safe for the Environment
As mentioned, it comes from a vegetable, so, it’s sure to be biodegradable.
How Often Should You Change It?
This natural sponge is vulnerable to the growth of bacteria. Due to its nook and crannies, bacteria can easily thrive in it, especially since it’s left in a moist area. Thanks to the dead skin cells left on it as well, the bacteria have food to live on.
Whether it’s a loofah, a bath pouf, or synthetic bath gloves, changing them on a regular basis is a must. The mold and bacteria can grow at an alarming rate which could lead to infections of the skin.
According to dermatologists, a loofah should be thrown or replaced every three to four weeks. Apart from already having a colony of bacteria at that time, its power to exfoliate would have already been lessened by then. Some strains that can live in it when it is used for more than four weeks’ old include:
- Yeast, specifically Candida which causes infections and rashes
- Bacterial folliculitis, which causes inflammation of the hair follicles
Tips to Cleaning It
A brand, new loofah should be cared for properly to avoid the growth of bacteria. Here are some pointers to follow.
Dry it on a daily basis
Never leave loofahs in the shower where the environment is moist and warm. Bacteria thrive in areas such as this. Instead, properly rinse it out and shake it thoroughly. Afterward, hang it to dry in a place that isn’t in the bathroom. However, if you do hang it in the bathroom to dry, then make sure to leave a window open for moisture to head out.
Do not use it after shaving
The nicks and cuts on your skin can be an entry for bacteria that may thrive in loofahs. Prevent infection and avoid using it for a few days after shaving. Also, it is best to use it only two times a week for exfoliation.
Do not use it on genital area or face
The genital area and the face are parts of the body that are sensitive to infections. Moreover, there is no need to exfoliate those parts. Washing the areas gently with soap and water should be enough to keep it clean.
Clean it once a week
Loofahs or other bath tools should be cleaned once a week. Do this by placing it in a bleach solution for at least five minutes. Rinse it thoroughly before using it. You can also try putting it in the microwave for 20 seconds. However, do not microwave bath tools that have the potential to catch fire or melt. Plastic loofahs should never be microwaved.
Replace it on a regular basis
As mentioned, loofahs should be replaced after three to four weeks. However, if there’s already mold growth or you notice a musty smell, then throw it out immediately.
Alternatives to Loofahs
If loofahs aren’t your thing when it comes to the bathroom, then there are other bath tools to use. These are sure to make your bath time luxurious.
Ground Konjac Root or Sea Sponge
Much like loofahs, these are from organic sources. Plus, sea sponges inhibit the build-up of bacteria. It is great for soaking and soaping in the bath. For maintenance, it follows the same for loofahs, rinse it well after a bath and leave it to dry in an area that isn’t in the shower. Boiling it for approximately two minutes in a week helps to rid it of the bacteria. Unlike loofahs that are replaced after four weeks, this can be replaced in three months.
This is a great tool for exfoliation, too. Moreover, it also improves blood circulation. Unlike bath tools like loofahs and sponges, you can use a brush pre- or post-shower. Lather on body oil after a bath with a brush for extra smooth and soft skin.
Mitts or Gloves
These can either be synthetic or organic. Some gloves even come with charcoal. It’s a tool that’s best for people who need a quick scrub in the shower but a ton of exfoliation done.
Go back to the basics and stick to a washcloth. Not only is it easy to clean, but it’s also easy to replace. Plus, thanks to its less vulnerable physical structure, it’s not susceptible to bacterial growth.
Whether you use a loofah or a washcloth, always rinse and dry them thoroughly to prevent the growth of bacteria. Also, take note to replace it after three to four weeks of use. Skin exfoliation shouldn’t come at the expense of a skin infection.
However, some dermatologists claim that you should skip the use of a loofah altogether. Skincare, which includes bathing, should be as gentle as possible. Exfoliating the skin may take out the dead skin, but it scrubs away moisturizing oils needed by the skin. Skip the bath tools and stick to bathing with your hands. Better yet, try a body wash that moisturizes and exfoliates at the same time