The name ‘loofah’ is attached to different types of body scrubber products. However, many times, our minds turn to those colorful sponges we use in the shower or bath.
Loofahs are a staple in almost every home. These sponges exist in two main forms. We have natural products derived from plant fibers and the popular synthetic loofahs.
If you’re looking to switch to an eco-friendly body washing tool, why not consider a natural loofah alternative? Most often, you won’t find them easy to locate in grocery stores. As such, we’re sharing some of our top picks and best eco-friendly loofah alternatives you can choose from and shop for online.
Not only do these body wash products support your skincare routine, but they come from natural materials. Many of them are also vegan-friendly.
Related: For elsewhere in your sustainable bathroom routine check out our tips to go plastic-free, grab a sustainable robe for after-shower relaxation and make sure you're stocked up with zero waste shampoo and shaving utensils for minimal waste.
There’s a high chance you’ve used plastic loofahs at some point. Perhaps, there’s one currently hanging in your shower or bathroom.
It might be news to you that most of what we regard as loofahs are not actual loofahs. Natural loofahs are rough sponges that come from a dried tropical plant fruit. This has been in existence for thousands of years, and we can find it introduced as one of the first bathing tools in history in the time of ancient Rome.
While many people believe that women mostly use these natural products, anyone can incorporate them into their skin and self-care routine. To enjoy the product’s full benefits, you often need to wet the sponge before use. Worldwide, people generally adopt these sponges due to their ability to produce a gentle lather whenever combined with any soap or body wash.
One of the problems with plastic loofahs is that they generate bacterial growth. This growth can heighten when you hang them unused for days. Sometimes, leaving them for a few hours without proper rinsing builds up to a bacterial paradise.
Using such a product to wash your body can lead to allergic reactions and acne challenges.
Apart from this problem, a major environmental challenge with plastic loofahs is that they shed microplastics. Most of them send bits of tiny microplastics into the shower drain and sewage system.
As a result, these bits escape into the ocean, thereby adding to the growing level of plastic pollution in the ocean. Since marine animals can’t digest these microplastics, it leads to a blockage in their digestive systems. This process also alters their growth, feeding patterns, and their reproductive outputs.
Since they are composed of synthetic materials, plastic loofahs can take hundreds of years to decompose. Naturally, this contributes to the world’s pollution challenges, leading to the build-ups of products in the environment.
Many people use plastic loofahs to exfoliate dead skin cells that clump together on the top layer of the skin. Also, the exfoliation process preserves the youthful and healthy skin cells underneath. However, this comes with challenges that affect our environment. Although some people opt for products like using a silicone exfoliating brush as an alternative, these don’t biodegrade.
Also, many brushes often come with a plastic handle. Instead of these synthetic products, natural alternatives get the job done while protecting the environment.
A shower or bath also serves as part of the most relaxing part of the day. It cleans the body, refreshes the soul, and clears the mind. Whether you enjoy a cold or hot shower, there’s no denying that cleansing your body adds to your self-care routine.
The routine becomes even more special when using an eco-friendly alternative to plastic sponges. Instead of the usual synthetic sponge, the natural sponge is a chemical-free, cruelty-free, non-toxic, vegan, and plastic-free product that allows you to enjoy your shower guilt-free.
A natural loofah body sponge is an ideal eco-friendly non-plastic bath scrub that you can use to clean and exfoliate your skin. It is 100% compostable and biodegradable. For this reason, once you’re done using it, you can wash it to get rid of the soap residue and throw it in your garden compost. This makes these products useful materials that support a zero-waste lifestyle.
Although many people will use a loofah as a bath sponge, it also serves multiple purposes. These include washing dishes and scrubbing bathroom walls and floors. The rough surface of fiber cleans tough dirt stains. Not only do eco-friendly loofahs serve as the best alternatives to synthetic loofahs, but they also reduce the environmental impact that synthetic loofahs cause. Generally, they are more environmentally friendly.
However, just like other plastic shower poufs, moist bathroom environments can serve as a breeding ground for microbes. Therefore, you need to maintain your natural or organic loofahs properly. The best practice is to wring it dry and keep it in a cool, dry place immediately after use.
There are a plethora of low-cost, eco-friendly, and germ-free loofah alternatives in the market. These products can enhance your shower experience while eliminating concerns about your cleanliness and the environment.
Here are some of the best eco-friendly loofah alternatives available in the market. Get ready to have guilt-free showers as you protect the planet. Quick Links:
Material: Dried Egyptian Gourd
These loofah sponges come from 100% natural materials, specifically Egyptian loofahs. It exfoliates your skin evenly, leaving you feeling clean.
This product strikes the balance between soft and hard. The lightly textured exfoliating pads get rid of dead cells, even on sensitive skin. On the other side, there’s a soft terry cloth fabric to aid the removal of oils. The product has a unique size that fits a variety of hand sizes. It features a handy strap for a firm and comfortable grip. It’s very flexible when wet and can easily bend on your body. Also, it lathers well with your choice of bar soap or shower gel.
The makers specifically designed this product to give you long-term usage. Whenever its life span comes to an end, you can easily dispose of it or add it to your compost. In addition to the sustainable product, the brand ships the package to you in biodegradable packaging.
One of the attractive features of this product is its flexible nature. Once in your grip, you can easily bend the pad to ensure all-around cleaning.
This sustainable loofah alternative offers you a better, bacteria-free, and clean bathing experience. With its drawstring pouch, you can decide to give it as a gift to someone. It’ll serve as a useful addition to their skincare products.
Material: Egyptian Loofah
This product comes in a generous natural size from the same brand as our number one pick to cover more of your body in a single pass.
It contains no petroleum-based plastics and is 100% natural. It serves the purpose of rejuvenating dull skin to reveal a smoother appearance. This product is ideal for exfoliation, scrubbing, and removing flaky skin. It lathers well with bar soaps or shower gels, is flexible when wet, and is easy to bend with your body. Its practical hanging loop adds a beautiful and luxurious touch to your bathroom.
Say goodbye to plastic poufs and hello to a new eco-friendly shower and bath tool. Unlike many loofahs in the market, this product is not rough and harsh on the skin. However, this doesn’t take away its function of exfoliating dead skin cells. The manufacturers specially designed it to gently remove flaky skin layers without causing any harm.
Material: Natural Loofah Plants
If you’re looking to swap your plastic poufs for something eco-friendly, this natural sponge is right for you. Since the producers don’t bleach this product, it comes in an off-white, natural color. It’s perfect for everyday use and offers natural cleansing properties. You can comfortably add it to your compost pile at the end of its lifecycle. If it ends up in the trash, it’ll quickly biodegrade in the soil.
This sponge supports the deep cleansing of your skin. Simply soak it in water and lather up with your favorite soap to fully enjoy this product. It’s not harsh on the skin but gently tackles dull-looking skin.
Material: 100% natural vegetable loofah gourd
This eco-friendly option comes from the natural loofah plant and is an excellent addition to anyone’s skin-care practice. It’s thick, durable, and offers gentle exfoliation. It features no chemical bleaching or whitening process, which allows it to maintain its natural state. It comes with biodegradable and eco-friendly packaging.
Do you need a long-lasting and durable sponge? This product won’t fall apart as the producers tightly sew it together. Each sponge features a long cotton handle that makes it easy to hang after each use.
Material: Natural Loofah
This product’s rectangular shape gives it a beautiful appearance. Apart from looks, it effectively cleans the skin and serves as a natural alternative to plastics.
This eco-friendly, natural exfoliating sponge serves as an ideal companion to keep your skin soft, fresh, and smooth. It gives you a deep clean while unclogging your pores to allow your skin to breathe. It also prepares your skin to receive moisturizers.
If you struggle with dry skin in areas like your heels, this product specifically targets areas like that. It supports the shedding of hard, dry skin to reveal a smoother surface.
Material: Natural luffa
This body scrubber is ideal for not just general cleansing but also exfoliating. This product is not only great for your skin but also for the environment. It is a biodegradable sponge with a lightly textured surface. Compared to many loofahs, the soft texture gives you a gentle scrub. The surface makes it ideal for sensitive skin. It’s easy and flexible to hold and can reach tricky areas without straining your hand. Apart from its ease of use, it’s also long-lasting.
Many loofahs often have a hard texture that prevents easy lathering and causes more harm. The producers created this product to tackle this issue, thereby transforming your bath experience.
Material: Luffa Fibre
This business locally and home grows its luffa in Southern California. Additionally, the end product doesn’t feature any processing, leaving you with an organic sponge. Coming in rounds, you can easily include it as part of your bath tools. The abrasive scrubber enhances and exfoliates the skin to aid better surface circulation.
One of the highlights of this product is the nature in which the business produces it. By being homegrown, the business significantly reduces its environmental footprint. You can completely compost it at the end of the product’s lifespan as it’s made of 100% natural plant fiber. You can decide to bury it in your garden or perhaps add it to your compost for decomposition.
Material: Natural Luffa
As an eco-friendly loofah alternative to synthetic loofahs, this product is 100% plant-based fiber. The makers avoid bleaching it to maintain its natural state, which leaves it in its yellowish state. This gives you a sponge that’s non-toxic and free of harsh chemicals. When shopping, you have the option to choose either the regular or large size. Also, unlike many loofahs in the market, this comes in its original shape, meaning the owners didn’t flatten it.
These natural loofahs are chemical-free, bleach-free, and essentially in their most natural state. Since they’re natural organic sponges, each piece might come in a slightly different color. By including this as part of your hygiene habits, you’ll be caring for your skin and the natural environment.
Compared to the regular colorful synthetic sponge, the natural loofah consists of a natural material and is free from harmful substances. The most distinctive difference between natural loofahs and plastic loofahs is the materials used in making them.
Additionally, natural loofahs are often stronger than regular synthetic sponges. This property makes them better for exfoliation and, in other uses, cleaning areas. They are generally easy to clean to prevent bacteria. All you need to do is rinse out residues and leave them to completely dry.
However, sometimes, you may need to soak your product in a natural solution. The sustainable loofah alternatives in this article are a great addition to a waste-free bathroom.
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges. She’s also busy researching and exploring technology applications for product development for a changing world.