Showering with a loofah sponge? Wait until you find out what it's made of

Did you think loofah is sourced from the depths of the sea? Brace yourself for a revelation as an influencer unveils what this sponge is truly made of. Hint: It may be lurking in your garden.

  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Are you familiar with the loofah sponge we use to scrub our bodies in the bath and shower? Many people believe it is a "natural" sea sponge made from coral or similar materials found in the ocean. However, this perception is far from reality, as the true source of the sponge is much closer to home.

Clemmie Telford, a British social media influencer, recently posted a viral video on Instagram where she unveiled the surprising origin of the loofah sponge. "I am coming to you directly from my bathroom to say I’ve had my mind blown by the internet today," she exclaimed while holding up the sponge. "I thought these loofahs grew at the bottom of the sea, I was wrong."

She proceeded to show a video of a woman plucking a vegetable that resembled a cucumber from her garden and stated, "Wait a few weeks until the skin has gone brown and completely dry before you peel it."

Several weeks later, the woman peeled off the brown skin, revealing an entire sponge.

Loofah sponges come from food

@allotment4life Luffa or Loofah: Grow your own bath sponge! This is a tropical plant in the cucumber family, very sensitive to cold temperatures. So it’s really surprised me this year that the one I grew outdoors in the UK has done the best (just like @snewland97 said) No water either during the heatwaves of the summer. And the mild autumn has meant that I’ve not harvested the fruit until November, which is crazy. Now I’m just going to let it dry inside the house until the skin is all brown and papery, ready for peeling to reveal the sponge inside So… how sustainable is it to grow your own organic sponge? Not sure but it feels good to have my own homegrown allotment bath and wash sponge for next year. One small step towards a zero waste life, not to be sniffed at (although luffa fruit smell a bit funky!) Did you try growing luffa this year? How did it go? #allotment4life #allotmenttiktok #vegtok #gardentiktok #gardentok #vegtiktok #vegetabletiktok #growingveg #allotment #allotmentuk #vegplot #girlswhogarden #nodig #nodiggarden #nodiggardening #luffa #luffatok #luffatiktok #luffaharvest #loofah #loofahsponge #loofahtiktok ♬ original sound - Hanna Sjoberg’s Allotment4Life

It turns out that this vegetable is also known as a luffa (or loofah) and belongs to the cucumber family. It initially grows like a large green cucumber, but over time, its interior becomes entirely fibrous, taking on the texture of a sponge. These "vegetables" are then dried for an extended period, cut into various shapes, and sold as sponges.

The luffa plant primarily thrives in tropical and subtropical regions, including tropical America, tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, India, the Arabian Peninsula, and Australia.

Apart from its use as a sponge, it is also a popular food in Asia and Africa, serves as a raw material for furniture production, and possesses natural medicinal properties to treat jaundice.