7 steps to making a luffa sponge
Harvest luffas when they have matured on the vine, leaving them as long as possible. If the fruit are not ripe by the first frost, they will need protection from frost to mature properly. 1 If necessary, leave ripe luffa to dry for a few weeks after harvest, until the skin is brown. Fruits that are still green produce soft, fine-textured sponges that don’t last. The fruit are ready when they are light, with dry, dark yellow or brown skin. 2 Open the larger end of the luffa and shake out the seeds. 3 Peel off the thick outer skin and clean the interior – if the luffa is mature, seeds and skin should come off easily. 4 If necessary, use water pressure to remove the seeds and pulp and to wash out sap colour. It may be necessary to soak it for a few days to completely remove all pulp and skin. 5 Stains or dark spots can be bleached out by soaking it in a bucket of water with a cup of bleach. Only bleach long enough to remove stains. 6 Let the gourd dry completely in the sun, or in a warm spot indoors, rotating to make sure drying is even. Sunlight will lighten and change the colour, and over time the texture will become rougher. This may take a few weeks. Sponges should be completely dry before storing to avoid mould growth. 7 Once dried, luffas will store for years if they are kept dry and dust-free.