Species: Sapindus mukorossi
Other names: Chinese soapbery, washnut
Origin: Soapnuts originate from India and Nepal. The nut is actually a berry forms a hard shell when dry. The shell contains a natural surfactant called saponin. Surfactants work by reducing the surface tension in the wash water. This helps release dirt and clean fabrics and surfaces. When the soap nut shell absorbs water, this surfactant is released.
How to Use: Use in laundry in lieu of standard detergents. Usually 1/2 cup of shells are sufficient for a normal-sized load. Place the nuts inside a cloth bag and tie shut. You will see few to no bubbles during the wash cycle, but this doesn't mean it is not working. Add a few drops of essential oils to the cycle if you prefer fragrance. Lavender, orange, or lemon essential oils work nicely. The soapnuts naturally smell similar to unripe/sour berries. These are safe to use in energy efficient washers.
When to replace them: Soap nuts can be reused several times before they begin to disintegrate. Once the shells appear gray and soft, you can discard or compost them.
Fragrance: They do not have a smell when dry. When using in laundry, they may cause the wash water to smell slightly of vinegar. You can use essential oils if desired.
Other uses: Jewelry cleaning, washing the car, shampoo, surface cleaner, pet shampoo.
Soap Nuts for Cats & Dogs
Soap nuts are a gentle chemical-free non-toxic soap that can be used on cats, dogs, and other animals. It has a natural insect repellent property, so not only will your pets be naturally cleaned they’ll be less likely to attract various pests such as fleas, ticks, and lice. The natural antifungal properties of soap nuts are perfect for pets with skin irritations, rashes, and hot spots. Soap nuts liquid is also perfect for washing pet bedding.
Make Soap Nuts Liquid Concentrate
Place 12 to 15 soap nuts (about 1.5 ounces) in about 6 cups of water. For best results, bring to a boil and simmer for approximately an hour or until the soap nuts turn very light tan or gray and are mushy. Allow to cool and strain. Store the soap nuts liquid concentrate in an airtight glass jar. Like all botanicals, the infused soap nut liquid is best stored in a cool place away from direct sunlight. This 100% pure soap nut liquid solution has absolutely no preservatives of any kind; hence it has a limited shelf life of a few days, unless stabilized. Refrigeration will extend its shelf life.
Green Multi-purpose Household Cleaner
Pour soap nuts liquid into a spray bottle. Use full strength or dilute as desired. Use for sinks, counters, floors, and to wash your dishes by hand.
Chemical Free Window and Glass Cleaner
Fill a spray bottle with about 8 oz of water. Add a half-ounce of soap nuts liquid and a half-ounce of vinegar. Spray and then wipe clean with dry cloth.
Chemical Free Dishwashing Detergent
Fill the dishwasher soap dispenser with soap nuts liquid. Wash as usual. Tip: For extra sparkle, add a half-ounce of vinegar to the rinse dispenser or during the rinse cycle.
Chemical Free Carpet Cleaning Liquid
Soap nuts liquid works exceptionally well in carpet cleaners because it is so low sudsing and odor reducing. Add about a quarter cup of soap nuts liquid to hot water in the portable cleaner. Great for urine stains.
Chemical Free Jewelry Cleaner
Soak jewelry in soap nuts liquid for a few minutes. Use an old soft toothbrush to remove debris. Rinse with clean water and polish with a soft cloth. Soap nuts have been used as a fantastic jewelry cleaner for centuries.
Chemical Free Shampoo
Use soap nuts liquid to shampoo hair. Leave in for about 5 minutes.
Rinse as usual with luke warm water, or diluted vinegar. If you prefer more suds, add a little your favorite shampoo.