Eco-Friendly Loofah Alternatives

Eco Friendly Loofah

Do you use a loofah or scrubber in the shower? We’re all familiar with bath poufs, those brightly colored bath sponges. While those bath poufs are popular, they are made from synthetic materials and cannot be recycled, meaning they’re destined for the landfill. Plastic bath loofahs may also contribute to microplastic pollution in the oceans. 

Luckily there are better, natural options that work just as well! Here are some of the best eco-friendly loofah alternatives.

What is a natural loofah?

Loofah, also known as luffa, is a tropical vine plant that can be used as a natural scrubber instead of its plastic counterparts. 

Due to the loofah’s spongey appearance, many assume that loofahs come from the ocean, but they do not. The plant was brought to North America by European settlers centuries ago. 

How are loofahs harvested?

The fruit of the loofah plant is harvested when it is mature but still green. Once harvested, the fibrous interior of the fruit is exposed and can be removed, cleaned, and dried to create a natural scrubber. 

How are loofahs used in the home?

Loofahs are popular as an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic sponges or scrubbers because they are biodegradable and can be composted after use. These loofah sponges can be used to exfoliate the skin, promote blood circulation, and remove dead skin cells. In addition to personal care uses, loofahs are used in various household cleaning applications such as dishwashing, floor scrubbing, and surface cleaning.

Can you grow your own loofahs?

If you live in the right climate, you can grow your own loofahs! They are usually grown in warm, tropical climates. The dried fibers can be used and stored for years, making loofahs a great option to grow and store for later use.

Eco-friendly loofah alternatives 

There are various eco-friendly loofah alternatives beyond the natural loofah scrubber. For example, you could use a natural and biodegradable sea sponge or sisal washcloth. Read on for recommendations on a variety of options. 

Why Switch to an Eco-Friendly Loofah Alternative?

There are several benefits to switching to an eco-friendly loofah alternative. For one, at the end of your loofah’s life, you can compost it. Also, the cost can be comparable to a plastic pouf, depending on your chosen alternative. Depending on where you live, you may even be able to buy these from growers at your local farmers market and support your local economy. 

Our Favorite Eco-Friendly Loofahs

Natural Loofah

YEMTAL Natural Loofah Sponges Organic Luffa Bath Shower Sponge Exfoliating Body Back Scrubber for…
  • 100% NATURAL LOOFAHS: Natural organic loofah is a no-additives and eco-friendly product with a looser weave flexible fibers. Therefore, made from this naturally growing loofah, natural loofah sponges…
  • DIY FOR LOOFAH SPONGE: A natural loofah sponge is about 12″ (L) * 2.7″ (D). Not every one has the same SIZE or COLOR as a 100% pure natural product. A little different but not affect its use. DIY for…
  • WIDE APPLICATION: [Beauty Bathing Loofah] Premium natural shower scrubbers can deeply clean body, remove dead skin and promote blood circulation. [Household Cleaning Sponge] Loofah dish sponges can…

First up is the natural loofah scrubber I’ve shared a little about. This particular product comes in a 4-pack of sponges and is a great biodegradable option. These sponges can also be cut into smaller sizes for other uses, such as a dish scrubber or outdoor patio furniture scrubber. They can even be used as a pet toy! Personally, I’ve only used a loofah as a shower scrubber, but I was intrigued to learn about the other uses for the loofah. 

For storage, this loofah pack comes with a few ropes to hang the loofah in the shower. Like any sponge material, you’ll want to keep this dry when not in use to prevent bacteria growth. If you’re used to using a plastic mesh pouf, this will feel more exfoliating, but you can vary the pressure to use it to your liking. 

Also, as one review mentions, this can give you a “beachy” feel in your home or shower.

You will need to replace the loofah every 3-4 weeks, so it’s an item you’ll need to have a stash of. When finished using it, throw it into your compost!

Pros

  • Multiple uses in the home
  • Offers skin exfoliation 
  • Not bleached
  • Biodegradable

Cons:

  • Requires some hot water soaking to make the dried sponge soft
  • Must be replaced regularly 
  • Some variability in the product since it is a natural product 

Specs:

  • Material: Loofah
  • Price Per Unit (at time of publishing): $4

Natural Sea Sponge

Natural sea sponges are another natural, biodegradable option for plastic sponges. These are pricier than the loofahs and should be replaced every 3-4 weeks. That may be a consideration if you are cost-conscious because if you have multiple family members and are replacing these regularly, it can add up.

Compared to the loofah, these sea sponges may offer gentler exfoliation but may not lather with small amounts of soap or body wash. 

I was interested to learn that sea sponges are a renewable resource as long as some sponge is left intact at the base. The seller states that these sponges are ethically sourced, with divers harvesting these sponges by hand, which is the preferred method. 

Like the loofah, these can also give you a beachy feel in your home or shower. Some reviewers like this because it makes them feel like they’re on vacation. 

Pros:

  • Ethically sourced; seller states these are cut by hand to promote sponge regrowth
  • Offers skin exfoliation
  • Not bleached
  • Biodegradable 
  • Slight ocean smell; some reviewers say this as a plus

Cons:

  • Some reviews state the larger sizes break apart
  • Slight ocean smell; some reviewers state this as a con
  • Must be replaced regularly 
  • More expensive

Specs:

  • Material: Sea sponge
  • Price Per Unit (at time of publishing): $17

Sisal Washcloth

BAUDELAIRE Washcloth Sisal, 1 EA
  • renewable fiber that comes from a plant of the agave family.

Sisal washcloths are new to me, but I’ve been hearing more about these in the beauty and personal care space as a great option for exfoliation. These are great because the washcloth is extremely long-lasting compared to the natural loofah and sea sponges that must be replaced more frequently. These washcloths resemble a net, and are made from sisal fibers.

Reviewers state that the exfoliation with these washcloths becomes gentler after a few months. This may be a pro or con, depending on the level of exfoliation you prefer. The cloth doesn’t need to be replaced until you’re ready to. If you like a strong exfoliation, you can replace it more frequently. If you’re ok with a more gentle exfoliation, you could hang onto the same sisal cloth for years and wash it regularly. When washing, I recommend placing the sisal cloth in a wash bag so it doesn’t fall apart in the washer. 

Since these aren’t a sponge, they won’t lather up the same way a loofah or sea sponge might — but this all comes down to personal preference.

When finished, compost it by cutting it into smaller pieces. 

Pros:

  • Machine wash and dryer safe
  • Long-lasting
  • Cost-effective since you don’t replace it frequently
  • Offers skin exfoliation
  • Biodegradable
  • It will not harbor bacteria growth like a sponge

Cons:

  • It can’t generate as much lather as a sponge

Specs:

  • Material: Sisal fiber
  • Price Per Unit (at time of publishing): $10

Sisal Soap Saving Bag

Ycolama 50 Soap Bags Mesh Exfoliating, 100% Natural Sisal Soap Pouch, Soap Savers for Shower Use…
  • Plastic Free: We only use natural SISAL to make soap bags, environmentally friendly and pollution-free, you can use them with no problem
  • Large Package: Package comes with a total of 50 soap bags, which can last you for a long time. And you can share them with your friends as a natural gift
  • Easy to Use: Put the soap in and rub it, you will get very dense bubbles, at the same time when taking a bath, you can use it to massage, very comfortable

These are a great solution for those pesky last pieces of soap that become small and difficult to use. Placing the soap in a bag can help store it, as well as help it lather and exfoliate. Also made from sisal fabric like the sisal washcloths above, these are specifically for using up bar soap fragments versus mainly for exfoliation. 

Replace these when they lose fibers and are no longer useful for you — compost when finished!

Pros:

  • Long-lasting
  • Cost-effective since you don’t replace it frequently
  • Offers skin exfoliation
  • Biodegradable
  • It will not harbor bacteria growth like a sponge

Cons:

  • Unclear if machine wash/dryer safe 

Specs:

  • Material: natural sisal
  • Price Per Unit (at time of publishing): $1

Sisal and Cotton Wash Mitt

Soap Saver Bag Pouch – Natural Sisal Exfoliating Soap Bags Sack Scrubber, Bar Soap Mesh Bags 6 Piece…
  • Natural material: The soap bag is made of natural sisal fiber which is friendly to the environment. Our packaging is recyclable, we do not use plastic in the packaging!
  • Rich lather: This soap bag is rough enough to help maximize the fragrance of the soap. A large amount of rich and delicate bubbles can be generated by rubbing, so as to achieve clean skin and…
  • Soap saving: we are always discard a small piece of soap because it’s not suitable to hold. However, this soap bag can use the smallest piece of soap to the last, zero waste. Each bag is…

If you prefer a mitt-style exfoliator or scrubber, I’d direct you to the sisal and cotton wash mitt. This multi-pack includes double-sided mitts, with a cotton side and a sisal side. If you prefer more exfoliation, you can use the sisal side; if you prefer less, use the cotton side. 

I like that these are machine washable and dryer safe, so you can reuse them a few times. However, you’ll still need to replace them every 4 weeks or so, similar to the sponges on the list. 

Pros:

  • Mitt style
  • Offers skin exfoliation
  • Double-sided for customizable exfoliation 
  • Biodegradable
  • Machine wash and dryer safe

Cons:

  • Must be replaced regularly

Specs:

  • Material: Cotton and natural sisal 
  • Price Per Unit (at time of publishing): $2.50

Organic Bamboo Washcloths

Sale
6-Pack Organic Baby Washcloths – Soft Bamboo Washcloth, Baby Wash Cloths, Baby Wash Cloth for…
  • 6-Pack Organic Bamboo Washcloths – Our KeaBabies Deluxe Baby Washcloths are sized generously at 10″ by 10″ (25.5 x 25.5cm) and made with incredibly soft, 500GSM premium viscose derived from organic…
  • Gentle Skin Exfoliation – This organic baby washcloth is great for skin cleansing and helps to exfoliate the skin so your baby’s skin feel clean and fresh after bath. It can be used as makeup removal…
  • Natural & Baby-safe – Made for newborn baby’s delicate and sensitive skin, our Deluxe Baby Wash Cloth is gentle on skin and baby-safe. These baby washcloths for newborn are suitable for everyday use…

Personally, washcloths like these are my current favorite. Why? They last forever, can be washed and reused, do a great job exfoliating, and it’s something I already have — which is often the most sustainable choice versus buying a new product. You can choose a soft washcloth like these for gentle exfoliation or a more textured washcloth for more intense exfoliation. 

These can be washed and dried after use and replaced as frequently as you may replace a bath towel. 

Pros:

  • Offers skin exfoliation
  • Biodegradable
  • Machine wash and dryer safe

Cons:

  • Since these are dyed, they may not be a great candidate for composting, but they will biodegrade 

Specs:

  • Material: bamboo 
  • Price Per Unit (at time of publishing): $2.16

Beechwood and Natural Pig Bristle Bath Brush

Redecker Beechwood Bath and Shower Brush, 100% Made in Germany, 17-3/4 inch Handle for Hard-to-Reach…
  • EXFOLIATING PIG BRISTLE: Firm yet flexible pig bristle exfoliates dead skin cells; an all-natural solution to softer skin
  • IMPROVE CIRCULATION: Perfect for use during a hot bath or shower to improve blood circulation and facilitate better skin care
  • BEAUTIFUL HANDCRAFTED BEECHWOOD: Untreated beechwood brush body will vary somewhat from the product image due to natural color of the wood; produced by world-renowned Bürstenhaus Redecker, a German…

This long-handled brush, made in Germany, is an option for a shower brush, especially for those who may have difficulty reaching their back with some other options. You may be familiar with dry brushing, which has recently gotten popular — this brush is not meant for dry brushing. I didn’t find any information that indicated this was cruelty-free, so this may not be the best option for those looking for a cruelty-free or vegan option.

The brush is long-lasting, based on reviews. When taken care of, it can last several years. Like all the other shower products, it’s important to keep the brush dry when not in use to prevent bacteria and mold growth. 

Pros:

  • Offers skin exfoliation
  • Offers extended reach due to handle 
  • Biodegradable
  • Long-lasting

Cons:

  • Not vegan and unclear whether cruelty-free

Specs:

  • Material: Pig bristle, untreated beechwood
  • Price Per Unit (at time of publishing): $30

Our Criteria for the Best Eco-Friendly Loofahs

We have a list of criteria we look at when rounding up what we believe are the best products to recommend to you, in this case, eco-friendly loofahs. We look for products made from natural materials, cruelty-free, ethically sourced, and thoughtfully packaged. 

When there isn’t information available for one of these criteria, I do my best to note that. We aim to give you the best information to help you make an informed choice. 

FAQs

What is a natural loofah?

A natural loofah is a plant that can be used as a natural scrubber for bathing. It can serve as an alternative to plastic loofahs or poufs. 

Is a loofah environmentally friendly?

Yes. A loofah is environmentally friendly because it is naturally grown, biodegradable, and fully compostable when you’re finished using it. 

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Why Trust A Clean Bee

Nageen Mir is a St. Louis-based writer who has contributed to A Clean Bee on sustainable living topics since 2022. In this article, she gathered and researched plastic loofah alternatives to recommend to you. She used A Clean Bee’s philosophy and selection criteria, as well as her personal experience with various products to come up with her recommendations.

Eco Friendly Loofah Alternatives

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