Loofahs, a great exfoliation tool and addition to your homemade soaping, but do you know where they come from? In this blog The Soap Kitchen talks about where loofahs come from and how you can grow loofahs of your own.
What are Loofahs?
Loofahs are usually grouped in with natural sponges and therefore people tend to assume they are a coral, or are at least sourced form the ocean but this is far form the truth. Loofahs, also known as Luffa, can be grown in your very own garden and are actually sourced from legumes, not too unlike cucumbers. As well as a great cosmetic product, loofahs are also commonly eaten around the world, and are especially popular in east Asian countries such as India and Vietnam.
Growing your own Loofahs
It’s easy to grow loofahs of your own, the plant needs to be grown to full ripeness, which can take about 150-200 warm days. This is when the plant is at it’s most fibrous and is perfect for creating ‘loofahs’. You can tell when it is ready to harvest as it will loose it’s deep green colour and become yellow/brown and it will also become a lot lighter. If you can feel the skin is ready to peel off, it usually is. Don’t leave your loofah on the vine for too long however, it could start to rot and this will ruin the fibers. Once the plant is stripped it will leave only the xylem fibers, which are effectively the vessels of the plant and transport water from the roots.
Once you have picked your loofah, you need to get the seeds out, this is easy to do by simply hitting your loofah against a hard surface to loosen the seeds, and then break a hole in one of the ends and tapping your seeds out. It’s okay if you can’t get them all out this way! You can always remove any left over seeds after you have peeled the Loofah. You can actually refrigerate or freeze the seeds to save for use if you want too.
To strip your loofah, all you should need to do is peel the skin from a natural seam. If you have timed your pick properly, the skin should come off easily, if not you may need to pull and pick slightly but it will come off. Once peeled you can remove the sap colour by spraying it with a hose pipe or powerful tap. Then all you need to do it allow you loofah to dry out and it is ready to use!
We sell two types of Loofah, bleached and unbleached (which can both be seen below.) Depending on the desired end effect you can use either in your creations.
So now you can go a grow your own loofahs! Or if you don’t think you are up to it, it’s still a great piece of information, and it’s always nice to know how things are made! If you would like some more information a great website to use is Luffa.info. You can shop our Loofahs HERE.