Soap Nuts: A fruit that cleans your laundry and more
Soap Nuts are a FRUIT that will get your laundry clean. It’s TRUE! Soap Nuts are the fruit of a tree (Sapindus Mukorossi), found primarily in the Himalayas, and they are an EXCELLENT alternative to traditional laundry detergents. There are two main varieties: sapindus trifoliatus (The Small Soap Nut) and sapindus mukorossi (The Large Soap Nut). The Large Soap Berry is the most commonly used in cleaning, but both varieties are quite effective. How are soap nuts prepared for use in your wash? They are simply harvested then dried in the sun. They are 100%, totally natural. They are organically grown and are free of harsh chemicals, so they are incredibly gentle on clothes AND skin.They are especially great for those with sensitive skin—including babies and those that suffer from allergies, eczema, and psoriasis! They’re totally biodegradable, so they’re better for the environment than regular detergent,and they’re antimicrobial, so they’re even good for septic and gray water systems! Soapy substances called saponins are found in the outer shells of soap nuts. These saponins have the effect of soap when mixed with water. Each fruit of the soap nut tree contains one, two or three seeds and the fruit itself has a leathery texture and a yellowish or blackish color. They are used frequently, both medicinally and as detergents. If you hear any expert talking about renewable detergents, then it is soap nuts that they are referring to. These tiny fruits that grow on soap nut trees are actually very useful for many purposes.
The End Product Still Goes Down the Drain. Does That Hurt the Environment?No. Soap nuts are antimicrobial. This means that they actually help in breaking down the gray water in your septic system. Also, you do not have to do a rinse cycle when you use them. This can save gallons of water every wash cycle. Don’t worry, though; if you forget to stop your machine before the rinse cycle they are just as effective. The amount of saponins left in the rinse cycle will just leave your clothes feeling soft. They are 100% environmentally safe.
Will They Clean Difficult Items?Yes and No. They are one of the best soaps get rid of bad odors. Musty towels and wash cloths, even cloth diapers, come out smelling fresh and new. Stubborn stains, though, such as blood & red wine, require a stain remover to help the cleaning process. You can also use ½ cup lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide to help brighten your white clothes.
What About Allergies to Soap?Most allergic reactions to soap are due to added chemicals and fragrance. Soap Nuts grow on trees and are chemical free. This may help those with eczema and other skin problems because there are no chemical additives. Soap Nuts are 100% non-allergenic.
How do I use Soap Nuts in my Laundry?For Natural Laundry Soap, you can use them in one of two ways:
- Toss 3 or 5 Nuts in a small muslin bag (provided with most orders) and throw it in with your laundry. (Make sure that you take them out before putting your clothes in the dryer). The nuts will do 4 or 5 loads, (use until they feel squishy).
- Heat 12–15 whole Soap Nuts in 1 gallon of water for 3 hours. Use a lid to cover pot. You do not want this to boil; bring to a simmer, then turn heat down to a low flame. Turn off heat; then let sit in the covered pot until cooled. Strain out the soap nuts. The liquid you have is now a concentrated, chemical free soap. The leftover shells can be placed in your compost. Use ¼ cup of this soap with each load of laundry. High efficiency washers will need less. This allows you to do approximately 30 loads of laundry. Also works great as a pre-treatment for stains.