There are so many ways to use luffa gourds. Some you may know, but others will blow your mind! Learn about the many ways to use loofah sponges in this article!
Contrary to popular belief, those multi-colored plasticky scrubbers in places like Bed, Bath and Beyond may be named “loofah,” but they’re not loofah at all. The term loofah or luffa has become a blanket term for bath and shower body scrubbers in general, but luffa are actually the gourds from the luffa plant (scientific name Luffa aegyptiaca).
Any way you spell it, loofah vines are great plants for homesteaders and gardeners to grow in your home garden! They are fast growing climbers that will absolutely take over more than just a trellis if you’re not careful. Each plant puts off 5-10 luffas or more in a single growing season making them one of the more prolific cucurbit gourds.
So, what do you do with all those gigantic cucumber-like fruits?
Learn to grow your own Luffa: How to Grow Luffa in Your Garden
Ways to Use Luffa Gourds
Luffa will take approximately 5-6 months to go from seed to dried gourd. However, once the mature fruit has dried on the vine, they’re ready to be harvested and used! If you can’t grow your own, you can always pick up some luffas on Amazon.
Ways to Use Loofah in the Bathroom
Luffas help your body scrub foam up great when used as a shower sponge. They gently massage your body as you wash and help the soap get into all the pores of your skin. We love using them during bath time!
Dead skin cells have a tendency to lay on the top layer of your skin, even after washing your face. The fibers of the loofah gently scrub those dead cells off, making it an excellent exfoliator. While the fibers are hard when dry, they soften up considerably when wet.
Get those hard-to-reach spots that you may miss during shower time by using a loofah as a back scrubber. Simply use hot glue to attach a sealed wooden handle to your luffa. The hot glue won’t break down in the water, and it provides a great bond between the luffa and the handle.
Your feet may be the most abused part of your body. Hard callouses form on your heels and toes, but using a loofah, you can soften them up. Use a moisturizing foot soap and gently scrub your feet to revitalize those tender tootsies!
Ways to Use Luffa in the Kitchen
Luffas make great scratch-free kitchen scrubbers! Use them on your countertops, stovetops, ovens, and sinks to remove crusted food. Use in unison with some homemade citrus vinegar cleaner, and your kitchen will be sparkling clean in the most natural way!
Pot scrubbers made from loofah can be used to scour stainless steel, cast iron, and even non-stick teflon without fear of scratching or damaging surfaces.
Wet your luffa and cut down one side. Cut out the core, flatten, fold in half, and sew the seams together for a great scrubber to get your cookware clean.
When harvesting vegetables from your garden, they always need to be cleaned – particularly root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, beets and turnips. Use a slice of loofah as a scrubber to clean your veggies without shredding them to pieces.
Yes, luffa can be used as a food source. The young, tender fruits of the luffa gourd plant can be harvested when they are 6 to 8 inches long, sliced or diced like zucchini, and cooked for a delicious and nutritious addition to any stir-fry or skillet meal. High in potassium and dietary fiber, loofah fruits also provide plenty of Vitamin C and B6 as well as magnesium and iron.
Delicious Luffa Recipe: Luffa Gourd Stir Fry
Ways to Use Loofah in Crafts
The addition of luffa – in slices or chopped-up – to a bar of soap gives you instant exfoliation. Paired with moisturizing and revitalizing soap blends, your personal care and hygiene will reach new levels. If you make your own soap, add a loofah to your next pour before you slice them into bars.
Make Your Own Soap: How to Make Luffa Bar Soap with Soap Base
We’ve all seen those suet bird feeders you can buy in stores, but using a loofah gourd, you can make your own! Run a string vertically up through the center of the dried luffa and smear it with a mixture of wild bird seed, chopped dried fruits, chopped unsalted nuts, and rendered tallow or lard. You’ll have all the birds flocking to your yard!
Watch: DIY Loofah Birdfeeders
If you enjoy creating beautiful flower arrangements, you can use luffa instead of floral foam. Simply cut your loofah to size, place inside the vase you wish to use, and arrange your flower stems in the luffa. The luffa will keep your flowers in place as well as helping retain water longer.
I’ve even seen where people have used jute twine to tie 3 or more luffas together and arrange silk or dried flowers in the gourds for a stunning natural centerpiece. When you’re finished with the centerpiece, you can compost the entire arrangement!
Ways to Use Luffa for Survival
In a SHTF situation, fire is one of the top things you need to think about for your survival. People use various items doused with and encased in various other materials to start fire. The fibrous nature coupled with the papery skin of the dried luffa makes for a great fire starter all by itself.
However, if you cut one end off, remove the seeds (for planting more loofah later), and drizzle some paraffin wax inside, it will increase the burn time and efficiency of the luffa as a fire starter. You can even make fire starting blocks for your fireplace by slicing luffa (skin on) into 1-inch-thick pieces, stuffing the larger holes with dryer lint, and coating the entire thing with wax to hold it all together. Then, just crack that puck open, light it, and your fireplace will be roaring in no time!
How Many Other Ways to Use Luffa Do You Know?
I’m sure there are some more extremely creative ways you can use luffa gourds. Leave me a comment below with ways you have used them, seen them used, or ideas to try!
Patrick & Jessie homestead in Middle Georgia with two of their four children and their three dogs. They love gardening, food preservation, and keeping their family prepared for any disaster that may come.