Natural sustainable bath sponge brown color on a white background.

What is a natural bath sponge?

A natural sponge is an organic material that grows in the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean and Mediterranean seas. These organic materials have been harvested and used for a variety of cleaning purposes, specifically bathing, from as early as 600BC. 

Our ancestors saw the value and amazing benefits of using this material and no modern, manmade sponge can ever replicate that! Today, to create a natural bath sponge, experienced divers hand harvest the sponges before they are processed through a labor-intensive method. This method of hand-harvesting and processing the material into a bath sponge or natural shower pouf has been passed down through the generations in the Greek community.

Here’s how it works.

How an organic bath sponge is made

A natural loofah bath sponge is made with dried plant material and it’s a common misconception that all natural bath sponges are made this way. But that’s not true. The traditional natural bath sponge favored by our ancestors is made from a sea sponge, one of the most common being Spongia officinalis. This organism grows on rocky and sandy surfaces on the seabed, up to 100 meters below sea level.

The Ancient Greeks may have used sponge diving as a sport at the Olympics, but collecting sponges wasn’t just for fun. As well as using the sponges for bathing and cosmetics, they were also used for wall painting and surgeries.

At Naroa, our method of harvesting an organic bath sponge follows the traditional method closely:

  • Our divers descend to depths of 60 meters in the Caribbean and Mediterranean Sea to reach the seabed,
  • The naturally forming sea sponges are expertly cut from the root so they can regrow sustainably,
  • We remove the outer skin and gurry layers, exposing the intricate channels within,
  • Once thoroughly cleaned, the sponges are left to dry in the sun, 
  • The sponges are then soaked overnight in a special traditional cleaning solution passed on from generations,
  • Finally the sponges are cut to size, trimmed, inspected and categorized.

Processing a natural bath sponge with this method honors the traditional way our ancestors processed sponges and also reduces our environmental impact. The sea sponges that are cut at the root grow back healthier than before, allowing us to harvest more sponges without depleting the sea sponge population.

The luxuriant qualities of a natural bath sponge

Natural sponges are a rare product of nature, which gives them unique properties that manmade sponges cannot replicate. For skincare in particular, a natural shower pouf or bath sponge has many advantages.

For example, each natural sponge has a network of intricate channels that water can flow through freely. This key feature makes them much more hygienic than manmade alternatives that become a trap for excess dirt and grime to cling to. Over time, a plastic manmade sponge will continue to hold onto this dirt and grime, while a natural sponge can be cleansed. Furthermore, while the plastic puff sponge will continue to rot in landfills for centuries, a natural sponge will biodegrade to nourish the environment further.

For your skin, a natural bath sponge is superior for exfoliation, a gentle massaging effect, and creating a luscious lather. There are also numerous types of natural sea sponges, each with a unique quality. This allows you to find the perfect sponge for your skin type, whether it be combination, dry, oily, or sensitive. 

To learn more about natural sea sponges and how they can nourish your skin, explore the full range of Naroa natural sponges.

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