Making a Luffa Sponge

by Daisy on 12/12/2011

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This year was a first for many things in the garden.  Probably the most dramatic new addition was the luffa gourds.

They got off to a bad start.  Soon after sprouting, they disappeared entirely one night.  Chipmunks?  Alien abduction?

So I planted more.  They soon sprouted and whatever got them the first time decided to give them a pass.  And they grew and grew, nearly taking over an entire side of the house.

But then, I despaired they would produce luffas.  They finally bloomed, and bloomed great, but I couldn’t find any fruit.  The bumblebees had fits over the blossoms, and I was happy for them, but where were my luffas?

Then one day I saw them.  Tiny luffas, but getting bigger every day.  Would they have time to get big enough before it got too cold?

Yes!  Nine big ol’ luffa gourds, and a couple of runts.  Then came more waiting, waiting for them to begin to yellow–the sign they were ready to peel and begin the conversion into “sponges.”

Luffas are a real patience-tester.  It’s December, and most of my luffas are still lovely green specimens.  A few, however, have turned color and were ready for their transformation.

I dug in and started to peel.  The more brown the skin, the easier it was to peel.  The still-green comes off, just not without a fight.

It looked a bit like a very odd ear of corn at one point.

Once all the skin was off, I rinsed the luffa under a sprayer until the water ran more or less clear, and set it in a sunny window to dry.

The seeds came out easier once the gourd was dry, although some seeds came out while it is being washed.  The bag of seeds pictured here is from ONE gourd, about a cupful.  Looks like I will have enough for my very own luffa revolution.

Stay tuned:  I’ll be making luffa soap soon!

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharleen February 23, 2015 at 4:53 pm

I grew luffas, fun and pretty plant. I let mine turn completely on the vine. They will turn almost black and be very light in weight. The moisture in the plant actually gets sucked back up into the plant for use on other gourds on the vine. Found the peeling to be a lot of work. Perhaps if I picked them not so “done” they would peel easier. I see parts of yours were still green. Mine were completely dry inside and seeds fell out with a little shake.

Daisy February 26, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Sharleen–That would have been easier. It was tough getting the skin off so early. Next time.

Anna May 2, 2015 at 10:47 am

Where do I find the seeds/plants? Will they be happy in a sunroom?

Daisy May 2, 2015 at 7:05 pm

Anna–Try Horizon Herbs or Fedco Seeds. Luffa is a huge vine that will climb from the ground up the side of my house and onto my roof. Probably would take over your sunroom and head down the hall to the living room!

Genesis July 12, 2015 at 10:36 pm

Beautiful work! I thought your information about critical steps was very helpful. How did you plant and train or trellis the plant up the side of the house? Thanks.

Carol Hawkins September 26, 2015 at 9:50 am

Okay, I’ll bite! How do I start to grow Luffa? What season can start in summer? Where do I purchase the seeds or does come in as a plant? In Nebraska, I don’t see this around our State here. I need more information where buy at.
Thank you,
Carol Hawkins

Daisy September 26, 2015 at 11:14 am

Carol Hawkins–Plant seeds in the spring. Most comprehensive online seed companies have luffa seeds, especially those which specialize in off-the-beaten path seeds and heritage seeds. They easy to grow here. I’m not familiar with how they do in Nebraska, check with your local garden enthusiasts/agricultural extension services/botanic gardens.
Good luck!

Kathy Corbett November 20, 2015 at 6:08 am

I live in Lagoa de Pau off the coast of Brazil. I would love to grow Loofah plants. The weather is 80 +- 7* do you know if the Loofah plant would grow here and would they ship the seeds to this country? The sponges are horrible here and I truly miss having loofah sponges.
Thank you Kindly
Kathy ????????

Daisy November 20, 2015 at 6:14 am

Kathy Corbett–If you can grow other types of squash/gourds where you live, it is very likely you can grow luffa. I don’t know what the regulations are in Lagoa de Pau, but I would be surprised if you couldn’t have loofah seeds shipped to your locale.

Gina December 14, 2015 at 8:55 am

Someone gave me some luffa gourds that have not been pealed , and left in her barn for a long time . How do I get the skin off now ? They are as hard as rock. Should I soak them in water or something ?

Daisy December 19, 2015 at 2:05 pm

Gina–Hm. Do not know. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to give that a try. Let us know what happens.

Melissa October 14, 2016 at 8:23 pm

If you soak the loffa when it is dryer out when it still have the outer shell I find it easyer to peal.

Shannon November 28, 2016 at 5:00 pm

I’ve just picked my loofa. All were at different stages. Some completely ripe and others still green. Do I save both the black and the white seeds or just the black seeds. Ive peeled all the loofah do I just lay them you to continue to dry and how do I get all the fruit out of the middle? Will it come out easier once they dry more?

Thank You


Daisy November 29, 2016 at 7:43 pm

Shannon–Once they’re completely dry, the seeds will shake out easily. I’ve never done a germination test on the seeds to see, but I would say, if I had to guess, that the black seeds are more fully mature. I’m not sure what you mean by the getting the fruit out of the middle, do you mean the seeds?

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