I personally recommend that my patients avoid both a loofah and a washcloth. It’s best to just wash with our hands! Loofahs have been well documented reservoirs of bacteria. They have been shown to grow Pseudomonas, Klebsiella, Enterococcus, Staphylococcus, and more!! (I can send you the links to each of these articles below) If you couple the fact that the bacteria are trapped in the fibers of the loofah and that these sponges are used to exfoliate the skin, the risk of infection is much higher.
Towels are considered to be a ‘fomite’ that can transmit disease as well. Not only can they hold bacteria, viruses are also known to be transmitted by contact as well. Molluscum is a type of virus that can cause small papules on the skin and last for over a year in some cases. It’s spread amongst families has been linked to shared towel use in some cases.
Our hands can be easily cleaned! I recommend avoiding devices for our skin as the ability to effectively clean these after each use is limited. If you are seeking some exfoliation that these can provide, try using scrubs that rinse down the drain. Sugar scrubs, apricot scrubs, or any kind of gritty cleanser can achieve the same results. The benefit is that these are not reused as they rinse down the drain!
Loofahs and washcloths are commonly used to clean and exfoliate the skin. Many people love the ‘polished’ feel of their skin after use. I can completely understand this! Especially if you struggle with dry flaky skin or conversely excessively oily skin. If you are determined to use a loofah or washcloth, then some measures should be taken to keep these clean.