You may not know it, but most of what we know to be loofahs aren’t loofahs at all. The loofah or luffa plant (Luffa aegyptiaca) is a member of the gourd, squash, and pumpkin family native to tropical and subtropical regions. Within this plant is a fibrous sponge that has been used as an effective scrubber for centuries.
Unfortunately, plastic loofahs are a substantial environmental issue for several reasons, like many products from the beauty and personal care industry.
Let's take a closer look at the problems with traditional loofahs, and some great natural alternatives.
The Microplastics Problem
When you use your loofah in the shower, it sheds microplastics that get washed down the drain.
These tiny plastic fragments are small enough to pass through filtration systems and escape into our water supply. These microplastics then enter our oceans and are ingested by marine life.
According to National Geographic, this causes their digestive systems to block, altering their feeding behaviors and reducing their growth and reproductive outputs. In turn, microplastics end up in the food on our plates, with the average person eating 70,000 microplastics each year.
More Trash In Our Landfills
On average, a person produces just under five pounds of trash per day.
Since plastic loofahs are breeding grounds for germs and bacteria, it is typically recommended that you throw out your loofah after 3-5 weeks of use.
Plastic loofahs are unable to be recycled, so they end up in landfills where they take hundreds if not thousands of years to degrade.
The top 7 Eco-Friendly Loofahs on the Market
|MATERIALS||100% biodegradable luffa|
|CARE||Allow to fully dry between each use|
Etee is a company whose goal is to make plastic-free living accessible to everyone. This environmentally responsible company operates on renewable energy and is dedicated to providing complete transparency about the ingredients in its products. All of their products are hand-made in Canada with fair labor practices and ethical manufacturing.
Etee offers a bunch of sustainable alternatives to plastic loofahs and sponges. If you're looking for a natural loofah, they offer ethically sourced loofahs from a family-owned farm in Guatemala that uses traditional methods free of pesticides and herbicides.
This Natural Loofah is 100% plant-based and compostable, lasting roughly 3-4 weeks. Once you're ready for a new one, the luffa can be added to your compost or buried. Not only are these naturally-derived loofahs great for the Planet, but they're also great on the skin - gently exfoliating and scrubbing dirt away.
By using and composting a natural luffa, you're giving back to the Earth, keeping plastic out of our water and ecosystems, and supporting a company that uses their power to make a difference.
2. The Earthling Co.
|MATERIALS||Naturally-derived sisal, wooden bead|
|CARE||Rinse and hang to dry after each use|
|LASTS||About 3 months|
The Earthling Co. aims to tackle plastic pollution caused by the beauty industry by offering sustainable alternatives better for both the people and the Earth.
All of their packaging is 100% plastic-free, recyclable, or compostable. As a Climate Neutral Certified Business, Earthling Co. is committed to the fight against climate change - measuring all of their carbon emissions from their business, offsetting those emissions, and planning for the future to reduce those numbers.
Earthling co. is also a member of 1% for the Planet, donating 1% of their sales directly to environmental nonprofits. Sustainability is the primary focus of this company, and they're constantly re-evaluating and looking for ways they can continue to improve.
The Earthling Co. makes a Sisal Soap Saver Bag that is an excellent zero-waste alternative to a plastic loofah. Great for holding your favorite bar of soap and the little bits it breaks down into, this scrubber's texture provides a rich and creamy lather while gently exfoliating your skin. This is thanks to the natural sisal fibers it is made from.
Once it has worn out, you can add it to your compost or bury it - this soap bag is 100% biodegradable. By using this soap bag, you're not only keeping microplastics out of our water supply, but you're also saving plastic packaging by using soap bars instead of bottled body wash.
|MATERIALS||100% biodegradable sisal, hemp rope, and bamboo handle|
|CARE||Rinse well after each use and hang to dry. Store in a clean, dry place.|
Located in Denver, Colorado, EcoRoots is motivated to inform the public on the reality of single-use plastic and the harm that it is causing the Planet. This company provides sustainable, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free alternatives for everyday products.
Each year, EcoRoots demonstrates its commitment to environmental sustainability by donating 1% of its sales to organizations that give back to the Planet, such as the Ocean Conservancy.
This Sisal Body Brush from EcoRoots is made from natural fibers of the sisal plant and has a hemp rope and bamboo handle.
Using this brush regularly helps prevent ingrown hairs, improves the appearance of cellulite, promotes circulation, and gently sloughs away dirt and dead skin. This product is 100% compostable, vegan, and cruelty-free.
4. Brush with Bamboo
|MATERIALS||100% biodegradable sisal fiber / vetiver root|
|CARE||Soak in hot water before using to soften. Squeeze water out and hang to dry after each use.|
Inspired by the growing issue of plastic and trash pollution, Clean Planetware is a company that specializes in plastic-free, compostable, and sustainable home products. Their products are not only beneficial for the planet, but they’re also better for your health - completely free of the toxins and chemicals that plastic products contain.
Clean Planetware makes and sells their own sustainable products and has high standards for manufacturers that they vouch for. They use the least amount of packaging possible, and any packaging they do use is either compostable or recyclable. This company is committed to spreading awareness about the reality behind single-use products and their detrimental effects on the environment.
Clean Planetware makes a 100% plant-based Vetiver and Agave Bath Scrub made of natural sisal fibers on the outside and antifungal vetiver root inside. Unlike plastic loofahs, this bath scrub will not grow mold. Its sisal fibers provide gentle exfoliation while you enjoy the invigorating aroma of the vetiver root. This product is 100% compostable and zero-waste.
5. Package Free
|MATERIALS||Sustainably harvested and 100% biodegradable natural sea sponge. String: 100% jute|
|CARE||Store in a dry place between uses. Soak in a mixture of one tablespoon of baking soda per cup of water for 15 minutes every 1-2 weeks.|
Package Free is a company that believes access to eco-friendly and sustainable products is a fundamental human right. They carefully select products from brands and individuals whose mission aligns with their own - to make a positive environmental impact and keep trash out of landfills.
Package Free recognizes their responsibility to provide sustainable, non-toxic, and cruelty-free products to their customers in plastic-free and compostable packaging. They are a proud partner of Pachama, where they execute projects to restore ecosystems and employ thousands of people worldwide.
Package Free has many eco-friendly loofah alternatives to choose from. Their Sustainable Sea Sponge is 100% natural and allows you to clean your body without waste. As the name suggests, the sponge is also 100% package free.
Sustainably harvested from the Aegean sea, the fishermen are careful to leave a 1’’ base so that the sponges can regrow. The porous nature of the sponge provides a rich and luxurious lather that you won't achieve with a plastic loofah or sponge.
6. Beauty By Earth
|MATERIALS||100% biodegradable konjac root and activated bamboo powder|
|CARE||Saturate before use to soften. Rinse, gently squeeze out moisture, and hang to dry after each use. Submerge in boiling water for a few minutes once a week to sterilize.|
|LASTS||Up to 3 months|
Launched in early 2014, this company started after being fed up with the market's lack of clean and sustainable beauty products.
Beauty by Earth offers various green beauty and personal care products that are cruelty-free, environmentally sustainable, and free of harmful toxins or chemicals. This company provides complete transparency about their ingredients, where they're from, and why they chose them.
Beauty By Earth’s Konjac Body Sponge is made from the konjac plant, a perennial native to Japan full of nutrients essential for your skin. This sponge is 100% biodegradable and gently exfoliates your skin from head to toe. The activated charcoal is known to help improve acne and is suitable for all skin types.
|MATERIALS||100% biodegradable luffa and ethically sourced cellulose|
|CARE||Rinse after each use and hang to dry.|
Twist is a company that believes a cleaner world can be achieved by paying attention to what goes in our products and where they go after we throw them out. They offer a variety of natural sponges made from hemp, cotton, agave, and loofah that can help you make your bath and kitchen more sustainable.
Twist’s 100% plant-based Scrub Sponge works great for exfoliating in the bath or shower and can also be used for cleaning around the house.
This sponge is hand-sewn onto its base and is free of any glue or dyes. The wood pulp needed for the cellulose in this sponge is derived from Forest Stewardship-Certified sources, ensuring that this product provides environmental and social benefits. Once it is time to replace your loofah, it can be composted or buried.
Making the switch to sustainable alternatives such as a plant-based loofah is a no-brainer.
Plastic loofahs are not only detrimental to the environment, our health, and our food and water supply, but they also harbor harmful germs and bacteria - making them highly inefficient at cleaning your body. By switching to an eco-friendly loofah, you’re one step closer to a zero-waste lifestyle. Not only will the Planet thank you, but your skin will too.