RESEARCH

Research has shown that not only do loofahs, sponges, wash-cloths and bath puffs act as breeding grounds for bacteria to spread from one user to another, infections can spread, especially in water. Loofahs are a reservoir and a breeding ground for pathogenic organisms. Loofahs (and other exfoliates) serve as a vehicle for the transmission of bacteria, which can cause serious Staph Infections. Staph Infections occur when the Staphylococcus bacteria infects a wound. They can easily transfer from person to person through personal hygiene products like razors and sponges. Folliculitis, Cellulitis and Impetigo are common types of Staph Infections that can affect the skin.

“The Brio Scrub™ is a great adjunctive treatment in the exfoliation of dead skin cells which will significantly decrease acne,” said Dr. Basima Williams. “This is especially true in the difficult to reach areas of the skin like the upper back.”

-Dr. Basima Williams

SPONGES AND BACTERIA

Bacteria live everywhere, from the surfaces in our homes to the insides of our bodies. Some bacteria are beneficial to human life; others cause harm. Leaving a moist sponge in the bathtub day in and day out gives some of the harmful germs a hospitable place to set up shop.

Loofahs are especially vulnerable to bacterial growth. These natural sponges have many nooks and crannies that — especially when moist — tend to invite bacteria. Additionally, dead skin cells commonly found on loofahs provide food for bacteria, giving them even more reason to move in. In fact, one study found that the amount of bacteria like P. aeruginosa, which causes a variety of infections, grew exponentially in 24 hours when exposed to a loofah sponge.

The study’s authors also found that soaking the sponge in a bleach solution on a regular basis killed off the bacteria, and thus helped to prevent infections [source: Dr. Edward J Bottone].

The same risks apply to other types of sponges, too. Even plastic mesh bath poufs can become infected with bacteria and lead to rashes on the skin. One such rash, called folliculitis, is an infection of the hair follicles. Mild cases of folliculitis often look like clusters of small, red bumps around hair follicles, and symptoms of folliculitis include itching and tenderness [source: Mayo Clinic]. Although such cases normally clear up with home treatment, if the area worsens or does not improve within three days, you should seek medical attention.

Source: The Journal of Clinical Microbiology, February 1994.

SPONGES AND MOLD

Bacteria aren’t the only thing that can grow on your bath sponge; mold can also be a problem. Mold, a kind of fungus, thrives in wet, warm areas like bathrooms. If you don’t regularly dry and disinfect your bath sponge, it could become a haven for mold and possibly help spread the fungus throughout your home.

Fungus reproduces with tiny particles called spores. These spores can be dangerous when people breathe them in. Mold spores trapped in your lungs can cause serious allergic reactions, and many people may have mild reactions to skin contact with the spores, such as redness and itching [source: Bode].

Once mold begins to grow in an area, it can spread easily to other locations [source: Consumer Reports]. Part of the natural outdoor environment, mold spores travel through the air and can begin growing indoors when they land in a moist area that will support them [source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency].

To ensure that this location isn’t the sponge with which you clean yourself, you need to follow some basic hygiene rules.

The same measures that prevent bacterial growth also will prevent mold from forming on your bath pouf, loofah or sponge. Rinse the sponge after each use, hang it to dry and disinfect it with bleach or another method on a regular basis. If you can see mold on your bath sponge, it may be best to get rid of it right away and buy a new one. Most sponges are inexpensive, and the few dollars that you’ll spend are worth preventing the illness you might contract by using a contaminated item on your body.

So to prevent mold and bacteria from growing, the best course of action is to purchase an Exfoliating Shower and Bath Scrub from Brio Scrub™.

Source: The Journal of Clinical Microbiology, February 1994.