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A Sustainable Alternative to Synthetic Loofah

Posted by Lindsay Scholz on

A few weeks ago, while out shopping, Kohl reached for a loofah. Actually, I learned this ball of mesh is called a “pouf” and there is a difference between a “pouf” and a loofah. Nonetheless, without thinking, I quickly grabbed his wrist and said we had to put it back. “Why?” he said. Well, to be honest, I didn’t know the exact “why” but I did know enough to recognize that there is nothing natural about something that looks like a wad of fishing line. So, I told him I would do some research and find us something more sustainable.

Before I did, I looked into what we currently use: the synthetic pouf. The term synthetic is defined as a product created through chemical synthesis designed to imitate a natural product. Synthetic poufs are made of plastic and at times contain the antibacterial agent, Triclosan. Triclosan has been added to consumer products such as toothpaste, soaps, deodorants, etc. to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Triclosan has been found to disrupt the human endocrine system, negatively impact aquatic life, and contribute to the development of anti-biotic resistant germs. In 2016, the FDA ruled that Triclosan can no longer be added to over the counter antiseptic wash products. However, this does not include products such as clothes, toys, cookware, etc. This is all to say, not only are these little mesh balls made from plastic, but they could potentially contain harmful chemicals.

And speaking of bacteria, it is recommended that you replace your pouf or loofah every 2-3 months to avoid bacteria and yeast growth. I cannot be the only person who didn’t know this! Or am I? So, after this, I set off to find a natural, anti-bacterial, sustainable shower option.

SEA WOOL SPONGE

After considering a few different options (e.g., natural loofah, washcloth, my hands, etc.), I came across the Sea Wool Sponge at a local shop, K. Hall Designs. A sea sponge is a multicellular organism that circulates water through its body in order to harvest oxygen and food. Although the sea sponge is considered a living animal, they do not have a digestive, nervous or circulatory system and when harvested ethically, may be considered vegan. Ethically harvesting sea sponges allow the sponge to regenerate and regrow over time. Sea sponges also contain minerals beneficial to your skin such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, zinc, and potassium. AND, sea sponges are 100% biodegradable. So, after learning this, I purchased my first ethically harvested Sea Wool Sponge for $24. Shout out to my dear friend Amanda who patiently waited as I Googled information prior to my purchase.

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HOW DO I CARE FOR A SEA WOOL SPONGE?

A little nervous after reading about the potential bacteria growth, I also did a quick search on how to care for my new sponge. Turns out, this is an easy one! Every 2-3 weeks, soak your sponge in 1 cup of warm water combined with 1 tablespoon of baking soda for 15 minutes. Then rinse and let dry (outside of your shower and somewhere dry). To disinfect your sponge or remove any funky odors, you can also soak in 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar) in 1 cup of warm water or soak in 3 drops of tea tree oil in 1 cup of warm water.

I am looking forward to updating you all once I actually USE my sponge - stay tuned!

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