How to turn patola into loofah sponges

Published May 4, 2022, 5:00 PM

by Manila Bulletin Agriculture

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh from Pexels.

Using loofah sponges while bathing is a non-abrasive method to exfoliate dead skin. Synthetic versions of the sponge are available in most supermarkets, but for a long time, the sponge was actually sold in its natural form.

Naturally-made loofah sponges come from the luffa (also commonly spelled loofah) gourd, which Filipinos call patola (Luffa acutangula).

If you have loofah gourds growing in your farm or backyard, here are easy steps to turn them into sponges.

Harvesting

The fibrous flesh of the loofah gourd is the most important ingredient in making a sponge. It is therefore best to harvest gourds that are mature as they will contain the most fiber. Gourds are mature when their skin has turned dark yellow or brown.

Peeling the skin

Mature loofah gourds are easy to peel as their skin is dry and may have cracks on them. If the skin is still intact with the fiber, you may whack the gourd on any surface to loosen the skin from the fiber before peeling it.

Removing the seeds and sap

It is easy to remove the seeds and sap from loofah gourds as they have a hole going through their length. To remove seeds and sap from the inside, continue to whack the gourd and shake it so the seeds fall through the hole. Another method is to squeeze the gourd from the bottom end while pushing the seeds and sap outwards through the other end with the hole.

Wash the gourd with soapy water and then dry them under the sun or in an oven.

Using a loofah sponge

You may cut the gourd in segments or use the gourd as a whole.

Dermatologists recommend drying out loofah sponges before reusing them for the next bath. Also make sure to replace the sponge every three to four weeks.

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