Most of us have a shower poof hanging out in the bathroom and we may not really give it much thought. You might want to take a moment, however, think about how clean they really are.
According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, shower scrubs are fair game to bacterial activity. “These sponges have gained immense popularity as exfoliative beauty aids designed to invigorate the human skin,” the study’s writers say. “As a natural product, however, loofah sponges play host to a variety of bacterial species.”
When you scrub your skin on a daily basis using a shower loofah, dead skin skills begin to accumulate in the mesh netting. In addition, the warm, moist atmosphere in the bathroom is prime breeding ground for bacteria.
Dr. Stephanie Williams was consulted by Good Housekeeping UK to find out what should be done in the shower. She said: “I usually advise against the use of a mesh shower puff, as the warm moist conditions promote growth of bacteria and fungi. My recommendation is to choose a good cleanser and good old hands instead.”
What happens if you love your shower loofah and you want to continue using it? Birnur Aral, Ph.D., Director of the Health, Beauty, and Environmental Sciences Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute has something to say on the subject. In fact, he says that the loofah may not be as bad as you think.
“A pouf aerates body wash and helps its technology to work,” she said. “Yes, your pouf will get gunky and oily, that’s true, so replace them when they start to smell.” Oh, and most importantly? “Do everything to keep it dry, and if you see obvious mold or a funky smell then definitely toss it!”
You could also use these tips to keep your shower loofah and your washcloths as clean as possible:
Ensure you rinse them after every use.
Let them dry completely, preferably not in the warm, damp conditions of your bathroom.
Don’t store them away — as this can cause fungi to grow.
Replace them every three weeks, and be aware of any mould that might be growing in them.