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How are luffa/loofah sponges made?

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The luffa or loofah scrubbing sponge found at spas and eco-friendly stores is made from a giant Egyptian cucumber. The fibrous xylem of the fruit can be harvested after the fruit has matured, browned, and dried. Nathan and Sherri Pauls grow and sell luffa sponges at their Luffa Gardens farm in Reedley, California. Nathan provides some history in this Insider video:

“Most people in the United States don’t know what a luffa sponge is, except maybe the nylon puff that you can get in the store or something else like that, but that’s synthetic. Well, luffa sponges, up until about World War II, were the most popular sponge in the United States. They were being imported from Japan and when Pearl Harbor happened, that kind of ended the sponge trade with Japan. Since then, the United States has been manufacturing or synthesizing the sponge.

Used as dish, surface, and shower sponges, the luffa is biodegradable, sustainable, and can be grown in the backyard from these seeds. After they’re used, they can be composted. No plastic required.

Learn more about cellulose sponges and how to clean them.

Then watch these videos next: How to harvest a large bunch of Lady Finger bananas, seed germination to growth time lapses, why carrots taste sweeter in winter, and from a flower to a strawberry in 30 days.

Plus: How Gardening at School Enables Interdisciplinary Learning.

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