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Let’s talk about your loofah. That colorful, frilly, plastic thingy hanging in your shower seems pretty harmless, right? Well, maybe not.

Loofahs are a bacterial paradise, especially if they hang unused for days or even hours without a good rinse or regular replacement.

And worse yet, many plastic loofahs you find in stores send microscopic bits of microplastics straight into your shower drain and into the sewage system, where they eventually reach the ocean and add to the growing level of plastic pollution glutting the ocean.

But there are plenty of affordable, eco-friendly, germ-free, and guilt-free loofah alternatives out there that you can use to rid your sacred shower time of worries about your hygiene habits and your planet.

Let’s get into the eight best loofah alternatives, what criteria we used to pick out the best options, and how you can train your eye to find the best loofah alternative for yourself no matter what store you end up in.

Here’s a brief overview of the criteria we used to find the best loofah alternatives for various lifestyles:

  • price
  • effectiveness
  • materials
  • replacement costs
  • usability
  • maintenance
  • eco-friendliness

A note on price: The loofah alternatives in this list cost anywhere from $8 to $30. Our pricing indicator runs from the lowest of this range ($) to the highest price on our list ($$$).

The price of buying replacements may also add to your total cost, so cheaper isn’t always better. We’ll let you know if an option may also incur some replacement costs that are worth taking into consideration.

We’ve broken down our recommendations into a few different categories so you can quickly scan through the options in case you’re already in the market for a particular kind of loofah alternative.

Silicone loofah alternatives

These options are similar to regular plastic loofahs but are made of silicone. Silicone is antibacterial, doesn’t produce microplastics, and is pretty easy to clean.

DNC soft silicone back scrubber

  • Price: $
  • Key features:
    • long handle makes it easy to use everywhere on your body, especially if you have limited reach or flexibility
    • BPA-free silicone material is chemical-free, hypoallergenic, and doesn’t produce any microplastics
    • easy to clean because of a lack of porous surfaces for bacteria to build up
    • manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty
  • Considerations: Some reviewers note that the bristles may be too soft to scrub thoroughly, and that the handle can be slippery or hard to grip.

Exfoliband silicone loofah

  • Price: $$
  • Key features:
    • unique design wraps around your hand for easy grip
    • covers a large surface area of skin and efficiently scrubs off dead skin and grease
    • easy to clean because of antimicrobial silicone surface
    • spreads even small amounts of soap or body wash widely across your body
  • Considerations: Some reviewers note that the design doesn’t allow as vigorous a scrub as expected, and it can sometimes break if you’re too tough with it.

Silicone long bath body brush and back scrubber

  • Price: $$
  • Key features:
    • 24-inch, two-handled design makes this loofah good for vigorously scrubbing many areas of your body
    • easy to clean and store with hanging handles
    • has two different types of surfaces for different types of exfoliation
  • Considerations: The large, long design can be difficult to use and hard to store in a small bath or shower. Some reviewers note that the soft bristles don’t exfoliate well.

Eco-friendly loofah alternatives

These loofahs are designed to be environmentally friendly and to reduce plastic waste from loofah materials and packaging. This is a good place to start if you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint.

Evolatree loofah sponge

  • Price: $
  • Key features:
    • looks and works like a common plastic loofah but made of sustainably sourced cotton and jute plant fibers
    • machine-washable for long-term use; low replacement costs
    • can be untied to arrange the material into different shapes for different cleaning regimens
    • can be used for other cleaning purposes, such as for delicate metal or porcelain dishes
  • Considerations: The material can be a little rough on sensitive skin, and the design may be frustrating to some people.

Egyptian loofah

  • Price: $
  • Key features:
    • 100 percent naturally sourced from dried Egyptian gourd
    • can be cut into smaller pieces for extended use
    • extremely sturdy
    • abrasive surface vigorously exfoliates the skin
  • Considerations: This loofah needs more extensive cleaning than most loofahs via soaking in a natural solution at least once weekly. Some people are turned off by the texture and odor of the natural material.

Rosena boar bristle body brush

  • Price: $
  • Key features:
    • made of coarse boar bristles; good for gentle, abrasive skin exfoliation
    • solid wood handle and cotton handle are easy to grasp and hold in the shower or bath
    • rubberized nodes massage the skin; as the manufacturer recommends, this makes the brush good for lymphatic drainage
  • Considerations: Those looking for plant-based vegan options won’t be able to use this brush. Claims of reducing cellulite may not be backed by research.

Antibacterial loofah alternative

Antibacterial loofahs are designed from materials that are meant to be antibacterial or resistant to bacterial growth.

They’re a good choice if you don’t like to replace loofahs often or are concerned about how your hygiene may be affecting the bacteria on your skin. Here’s what we recommend:

Supracor antibacterial body mitt exfoliator

  • Price: $$
  • Key features:
    • designed to fit your hand like a glove or mitt for easy use
    • easy to clean because of honeycomb silicone design
    • made of medical-grade, hypoallergenic plastic of the same type used in heart valve replacement
  • Considerations: This loofah isn’t made of any eco-friendly or sustainable materials. The design isn’t made for all hand sizes.

Charcoal loofah alternative

If you’re looking for a charcoal option, this could be a good bet. Charcoal is thought to help deep clean and exfoliate your skin.

Shower Bouquet charcoal bath sponge

  • Price: $$
  • Key features:
    • natural materials infused with bamboo and charcoal
    • familiar design is easy to use as the more common type of plastic loofah
    • bamboo charcoal infusion has additional exfoliant and anti-toxin properties
  • Considerations: The manufacturer isn’t entirely clear about the material used, so the material may not be 100 percent eco-friendly or sustainably sourced.
  • Buy it online: Shower Bouquet charcoal bath sponge

Still not sure if you found one you liked? Here’s a how-to guide for choosing your own loofah alternative:

  • Is it affordable? If the price is high, will you be able to use it for a long time?
  • Does it need to be replaced? If so, how often? And how much do replacements cost?
  • Is it made out of a safe material? Is it antimicrobial? Eco-friendly? Sustainably sourced? Nontoxic? Allergen-free? All of the above? Is this supported by research?
  • Is it manufactured using labor with fair hiring practices? Does the manufacturer pay its employees a living wage? Are they a certified B Corporation?
  • Is it easy to clean? If it’s time consuming or hard to clean, will the cleaning regimen make it last longer?
  • Is it safe for all skin types? Is it good for sensitive skin? Is it hypoallergenic? Will some materials cause allergic reactions in some people but not others?

Can I use my hands instead of a loofah?

Yes. Using your hands will get your body clean, as long as your hands are clean, and it’s a good option for people with sensitive skin.

How do I keep my loofah clean?

No matter which loofah you are using, you should clean it at least once a week. To do so, soak it in a diluted bleach solution for 5 minutes and then rinse thoroughly.

Do loofahs cause acne?

They don’t cause acne but can make acne-prone skin worse. Scrubbing your skin with a washcloth, loofah, or harsh exfoliant will cause significant irritation that may worsen your acne-prone skin. To prevent acne, always wash with only lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser.

A loofah alternative seems like a simple purchase, but there are a wide variety of different options for different needs.

Above all, choose one you’ll actually want to use and that’s kind to the environment. That way you can get the cleaning results you want and feel good about investing in a sustainable product.