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The loofah sponge (Luffa aegyptica), also called sponge gourd or washing cucumber, is a remarkable crop that has always been used in many southern regions of the world. Especially when bathing, but also when cleaning, this natural sponge proves to be an excellent alternative to conventional sponges. Find out more below and get some handy tips on how to clean and store a loofah sponge or even grow it yourself.

Unique vegetables and natural sponge in one

Sustainable body care with loofah sponge

Originally, the sponge gourd comes from warmer countries and is still mainly cultivated in Central and South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. The plant plays an important role not only as a tasty ingredient in regional cuisine, but also as an important raw material for the production of furniture, toys or even as a natural sponge.

The loofah plant is actually related to the zucchini and is also cultivated and cooked in a similar way.

He althy and practical, the sponge gourd can be used in many ways

The purely natural product is perfect as a practical bath accessory. The sponge successfully replaces the conventional bath sponges and is much more durable and, above all, more skin-friendly. This can be easily lathered up with soap and, with its rough fiber structure, cleans the skin even better than conventional sponges. Even without any foaming and even dry, the loofah sponge is a perfect tool for exfoliating and massaging the whole body. Simply run it over the desired areas of skin in circular movements and enjoy the pleasant friction. Gentle facial care is also no problem with the loofah. The natural sponge easily removes even small hairs from the delicate facial skin. And if you want to permanently remove newly formed calluses on your feet, the exotic cucumber will of course also help you.

Gentle, sustainable body care with the loofah natural sponge

Replacing the plastic sponge with loofah

Not only your body will benefit from this unique sponge gourd, but also your own home. Because this natural sponge can replace practically all kinds of sponges when cleaning. When washing dishes, but also when cleaning ceramics, glass and precious metals, you are in good hands with a loofah. The great thing about it is that you also protect the environment. The cucumber is a natural product and therefore completely biodegradable. You can throw them away in the organic waste or in the compost. Conventional sponges, on the other hand, consist of different types of foam and plastic and cannot be recycled. They end up in household waste and stay in landfills for hundreds of years. In addition, when scrubbing or washing dishes with such sponges, abrasion is always produced, which gets into the waste water and thus into the groundwater and the soil. This contains the problematic microplastics.

Several cleaning sponges or cloths can be cut out of a loofah

Cleaning and storing the loofah sponge properly

Although the sustainable natural sponge is very easy to use and has proven to be very durable, you should pay attention to a few things. Because the sponge fibers are natural and also lie quite close together, mold could form between them if they are constantly wet. To prevent this, you should always rinse your loofah thoroughly after using it and hang it outside the shower to dry. You can cut your sponge gourd into smaller pieces or into thin slices. These are ideal as a shelf for drying your shampoo bar.

It works very easily with a sharp knife or scissors

Tie a rope handle to the sponge for hanging

Planting sponge gourd yourself

For those of you who have a really green thumb, it might be interesting to know that it is also possible to grow loofah sponges in Germany. This should not be a problem, especially in southern Germany or in your greenhouse in the garden. Early March to late April is the ideal time to sow your Loofah seeds, but be sure to protect them under glass. Then, if the plants get bigger and the weather stays frost-free, you can plant them in the garden. As already mentioned, the loofah plant looks like zucchini and has almost the same leaves and flowers. The small pumpkins are very crunchy in the first two weeks and can be prepared just like our local vegetables.

The loofah gourds also look like giant cucumbers

They taste great as fresh vegetables

But if you want to use them as natural sponges, you should simply let them fully mature on the plant. When the skin is already dry and brittle, it's time to harvest the pumpkins. Let them dry out completely in a dry place for a while. Then peel them and remove the seeds and the remains of the pulp from the sponge by washing them out. It would be optimal to let the loofah sponge dry out for a few more days. After that, it is absolutely ready for use.

Mature, harvested wash gourds

You can keep the seeds to sow for next year

You can also use the loofah sponges whole when showering

Body and environment benefit from this great natural sponge

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