A soap that grows on trees and is free of any harmful chemicals and toxic dyes is called a soap nut! Sounds vague, but it is true! Soap nuts are actually the fruit of a tree called Sapindus and have a cleansing property because of the presence of a natural surfactant called Saponin. This Saponin, when it comes in contact with water, cleans the clothes by allowing the water to enter the cloth fabric and remove the dirt. It is eco-friendly and harmless to the environment, as well as having anti microbial properties.
Soap nuts can be used for many purposes. They can be used as laundry detergent or to clean your utensils. They can also be used as a natural pesticide or for cleaning jewelry.
LAUNDRY: Tie 4-6 soap nut shells in a muslin bag (provided with most soap nuts orders) and put it in the washing machine load at a desired temperature. You can use the same pouch for 4 to 6 loads of laundry. When the shells become grayish and mushy, they are ready to be replaced and added to your compost. 100 g of soap nuts can be used for approximately 40 loads of laundry.
DISH CLEANER: You can use soap nuts liquid to wash your dishes. To make the liquid, boil 100g of soap nuts in 12 cups (20 l) of water for approximately 30 minutes. Cool the liquid, remove the shells, and your liquid soap is ready! Storing the liquid in an air tight container helps it to keep longer. Because there are no added chemicals in soap nuts liquid, it can go bad after some time, depending on the storing conditions. You can use this liquid for washing the dishes or even use 3 tbsp for a large load of laundry.
The liquid soap from the soap nuts can be used for many purposes. It can be used as a shampoo, car wash, pet shampoo or anything that you wash with liquid soap or detergents.
You can also use your soap nuts liquid for cleaning and purifying the fruits and vegetables that you eat. Just soak them in the liquid for 10 minutes and your food is clean and germs free!
Soak your jewelry in the liquid and then rub it with a clean cloth. This will give back the shine and glaze.
Use your soap nuts liquid as a pesticide. Spray the liquid on trees or plants and the insects will be repelled.
Applying the liquid on your scalp can help prevent dandruff. Use the liquid as a shampoo, leave it on your scalp for 5-10 minutes, and rinse as normal. This process can also help prevent hair loss due to excess chemicals our scalp is exposed to every day.
Soap nuts have been used for centuries in India & Nepal. We are just now beginning to discover the benefits in North America. Soap nuts are the natural choice for an all-purpose cleaner, and an environmentally friendly detergent.