Scientists are warning everyone to toss their loofahs or risk illness. Here’s why

There are many secret dangers that lurk in the moist confines of your bathroom, unless you are a meticulous cleaner of your space. One of them may even touch your body every time you use the shower, and you don’t even realize it! The bacterial culprit of the day is *drumroll please*, the loofah.

luffa-peel
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Source: Image courtesy redlandrambles.files.wordpress.com

What exactly is a loofah? A plant!

A loofah, that hard spongy thing often found on a stick hanging in showers, is actually made from a luffa plant, go figure! Specifically, the dried fibrous fruit matter of the Luffa acutangula and Luffa aegyptiaca plants, which I found utterly fascinating considering we don’t often think of bathroom “tools” as being natural!

Speaking of synthetic bathroom tools, let it be known that the “pouf” the softer plastic ball that is often used to exfoliate in the shower just as much as the loofah is also the bacterial culprit of the day along with its natural counterpart!

loofah
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Source: Image courtesy i.huffpost.com

Both of these tools have many holes and crevices that can catch the dead skin cells that you are removing from your body, and if you are not careful in your maintenance of them, can result in the dangerous formation of bacteria, including in some cases medication-resistant infection inducing bacteria (try saying that 5 times fast!)!

“The most likely route of infection [from a loofah] is through broken skin — nicks and cuts from shaving are particularly susceptible”

-Dr. Heidi Waldorf, director of laser and cosmetic dermatology at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York

5 steps to having cleaner Loofah’s and poufs!

  1. When you are finished using your loofah or pouf be sure to thoroughly wash it and scrub it in the water to remove the dead skin cells. After place it in a dry place, perhaps a dry cupboard instead of leaving it in your shower. If you are most zealous in ensuring a dry loofah, perhaps a minute with the hair dryer will do the trick!
  2. If at any time you begin to notice an unpleasant odor arising from your loofah, discard. It isn’t worth the risk of using an contaminated loofah. Those who live a more eco-friendly lifestyle might be concerned in regards to poufs, in which case there are poufs made with recyclable materials available which should hopefully relieve some of the tension in regards to discarding.
  3. If you have shaved, refrain from using your pouf or loofah for the next three days. Your skin will be sensitive, and the abrasive nature of the tools in question could open your skin at a raised bump within the area you shaved. Thus collecting more than just dead skin cells, making the matter left on the loofah that much more dangerous.
  4. Finally, at least once a week you may sanitize your pouf or loofah in a bleach solution.
  5. Always have more loofahs or poufs on hand so that you may frequently change your pouf or loofah.
pouf
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Source: Image courtesy healthyandnaturalhabits.com

Vigilance is key in maintaining a sanitary environment for you, and your family. Our bathrooms, due to their moist environment, are a constant source of speculation in regards to the festering of bacteria that constant supervision and a few well-learned practices can keep in check.

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