Everything you need to know about Lufa!
What is Lufa?
Lufa, or Loofah, or Luffa, or Chinese Okra, or Sponge Gourd, goes by many names! This is nature’s magic natural sponge, and it is awesome!
It comes in two forms, Luffa Aegyptiaca (Egyptian) and Luffa Acutangula (Acute Angled) and Luffa Operculata (Little Lid). Most commercially sold Luffas come from Aegyptica as this is typically the largest.
Once you peel the outer skin, there is a sponge inside. It’s that simple, no processing, no chemical treatment required, no intensive labor or equipment, nothing, it’s just a sponge, a bit of a tidy, and job done!
What's the difference between sea sponge and Luffa?
The sea sponge is considered a part of the animal kingdom, whilst the Luffa, part of the plant kingdom.
In practical use, Luffa growing on land makes it far easier to obtain. Given the sea sponge is a live animal as opposed to a plant, Luffa is the preferred option for use by vegetarians and vegans.
Why use Luffa?
If you need a sponge and the available options are a sea sponge, a plastic sponge, or a Luffa, the latter wins hands down on every level.
Plastic sponges are made from non-recyclable materials. They’re treated with antimicrobial chemicals that leach into water and soil over centuries of degradation. Over 400 million of these little so and so's are thrown away every year in the United States alone.
How to use Luffa? What for?
Luffa can be used in just the same way as any other sponge. At our workshop we turn Luffas into kitchen cleaning sponges, makeup pads, body scrubbers. We use small scraps for cleaning, painting, planting seeds.
Is Lufa suitable to use on your skin?
When Luffa is picked off the tree it is dried out. From there it typically remains dry and maintains it’s condition in storage until use.
Throughout its use it comes into contact with water and holds water as any sponge does. This sitting moisture can become a habitat for bacteria over time, so typically after 6 weeks of use it would no longer be advised to use as an exfoliator getting deep in your pores. Mileage varies depending on how well the Luffa is stored/dried between use.
That said, absolutely use it on your skin for the first month or so after picking/purchasing. Luffa feels fantastic on your skin with soap and warm water. It’s just the right texture, not too soft but not too hard.
I (writer/rambler) have had fairly poor skin that begun in teenage years and didn't end until even now (30-something).
Using Luffa in the shower is about the only thing I’ve ever seen that has made obvious significant improvements. I’m not saying it’s some miracle cure, but I can say it worked for me surprisingly well and I’ve heard the same from many others.
How to take care of Luffa?
The best thing you can do with Luffa is keep it dry!
Hanging it vertically in a dry space will allow it to dry faster. The more of its life spent dry, the longer it will last.
For this reason, we typically add some form of natural rope or tag to our Luffa products making it easy to hang.
If using the sponge for cleaning you may find it collects dirt a little more than plastic sponges. The holes, or pores of the Loofah are much wider than a plastic sponge making space for dirt to collect. A thorough rinse before hanging to dry is a simple step to keep it clean.
Is Loofah Popular?
We literally cannot get enough of the stuff!
We’re calling every one of the few Luffa farmers in Indonesia in search of stock. Our upcoming harvest was pre-sold in its entirety 2 months ago. It’s easy to grow and it doesn’t take long to grow and it’s in extremely high demand. The triple win.
One might want to keep such a lucrative business opportunity under wraps but we just want to see an end to those pesky, ugly, bright yellow, plastic kitchen sponges.
We want people to feel the difference in a natural product on their skin. We want to see sea sponges left alone in their home.
How long does Luffa take to grow?
We’ve been working with our wonderful farmer friends out in Aceh, Indonesia for a few months now and our first batch arrives next week!
From planting seeds to ready to pick this process took about 6 months.
We’re eagerly awaiting the arrival and are impressed by photos showing the size of these, which are well beyond any of our previous suppliers.
Huge thanks to Dendy & Raihan for working with us on this, may this be the beginning of a long and prosperous venture together!
See below photos from their stunning farm in Aceh, Indonesia.
Wrap it up!
If you're left feeling you have a question about Luffa that has gone unanswered, be sure to let us know in the comments below and we'll continue to update this page until it's a complete Lufapedia!
If you're looking for Lufa products via wholesale or retail, just reach out to us. Give us plenty of time so we can plant more seeds for your order because right now our Lufa products are flying faster out the door than in!
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
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