loofah and wash cloth

Why your loofah is bad and gross and what to get instead

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Loofahs were a big upgrade to my once limited arsenal of showering gear. The lather was a revelation, and I knew that a regular cloth would never do it for me again. However, it turns out that loofahs are actually pretty bad, and most of all really gross!

A shower with a loofah in it
Don’t let its inconspicuous nature fool you
Photo by Jon’Nathon Stebbe on Unsplash

Why is a loofah bad?

Let me ask you this, how often do you replace yours? I would guess that it is way less often than it should be. Experts recommend that a natural loofah should be replaced every four weeks, while a regular cheap mesh one should be replaced after eight weeks (source: HowStuffWorks). If you don’t do this, the warm and wet environment of a shower will lead to bacteria and/or mold growth.

3 main reasons that loofahs are bad:

  • Can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold
  • Need to be replaced frequently
  • Wasteful

According to Healthline, an old loofah can carry E. coli, which can give you intestinal infections.

A bacteria culture
Photo by CDC

The crevices of a loofah make it even worse since there is no way to really clean in there. You can hypothetically disinfect it, but I don’t really see anyone dipping their big ol’ loofa into a bowl of disinfectant every couple of days. Unfortunately, they are not washer-friendly either. Ultimately, you end up having to create a whole lot of trash by using them.

So what should you use?

I’ve been using these since 2014, and if I hadn’t moved so many times would probably still have the same ones. This Japanese washcloth is made out of material that feels similar to a mesh loofa, but it dries out much better allowing it to be more hygienic. It also is about three feet long, meaning you can hold it length-wise behind your back to get those spots you normally can’t reach. When I use it normally, I just fold it over itself or bunch it up and use it like a loofah with my soap.

This washcloth is also great for exfoliating, in a way that a cloth washcloth isn’t. If your skin isn’t super sensitive you can even use it on your face, which will help with shaving. It might feel a little rough at first, but it gets softer as you use it. Best of all, it’s washable! Just throw it in the laundry with your clothes once in a while and you’re good to go.

  • Great for exfoliating
  • Washable
  • Long, making hard to reach spots easy
  • Lathers just as well as a loofa
  • Very durable
  • Reduces waste
  • Economical
  • Might feel rough at first but gets better with time
  • Length can make storing difficult. I hang it over a hook

Since it is so long, you might want to get some sort of shower hook to store it. I just hang mine around the showerhead, but it isn’t the prettiest way to store it. You just want to make sure you hang it up so that it will dry out properly. Any suction shower hook should do the trick, but I like this metal one.

What about dupes?

Dupes of these do exist, but they aren’t as good and have quality problems. In fact, the issue here is that the dupes aren’t trying to be something else and offer a better price, they are imposters pretending to be the real thing. There are reports of fakes coming from Amazon despite being advertised as the real thing. The links I posed I’ve used and should be good, but make sure they are manufactured in Japan and have the correct lady on the package:

How to spot a counterfeit Salux: the woman looks different and the package says "Made in China" on the fake.
Image credit: Salux


I was going to make this a roundup of other items including shower brushes, bath mitts, silicone scrubbers, and a lot of other items. But the truth is that this cloth has replaced all of those things for me. I even can use it for exfoliating my feet, which lots of times people buy separate things for. I don’t know about you, but I have a somewhat crowded shower and this is one little thing that helps.

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