Cultured Red Cabbage and Apples

Cultured Red Cabbage and Apples

Monday, August 9, 2010

SOAP NUTS: AMAZING ALL NATURAL CLEANER THAT GROWS ON TREES



Almost a month ago I finally decided to try soapnuts. I had seen them advertised on certain blogs but had never really focused in on them to find out what they were all about. I have been having a great time experimenting with them and love them so much that I have been giving samples to all of my friends. Before I talk about my experiences with soap nuts here is a description of soap nuts from the Naturoli Website

What Is a Soap Nut? ......from the NATUR OLI website

Far away, in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, Mother Nature has provided us a great treasure.


Soap nuts are known worldwide by many names such as soapnuts, soapberry, washing nuts, soap nut shells, wash shells, soapberry nut husk, Ritha (Hindi) nut shell, Chinese soapberry and many more. Very simply, soap nuts are the dried shells (or husks) from the soapberry (or soap berry nut). These berries are the fruit from a quite unique tree species. These shells contain a substance called saponin that produces a soaping effect. Saponin is a 100% natural alternative to chemical laundry detergent and cleansers. It can replace many chemical detergents such as those containing sodium laureth sulphate (SLS) that are becoming well known by consumers for being a skin irritant and health hazard.


Soap nuts have been used for centuries throughout the world as a laundry detergent, as soap for personal hygiene, and as a cleanser with a plethora of other uses. It is most commonly used in India, China, parts of Europe and numerous countries in the eastern hemisphere. There is even a species, Quillaja Saponaria (called a soap bark tree) that grows in South America. However, only in recent years has the soap nut and its many benefits made its way to the shores of the U.S.

The first thing I used the soapnuts for was my laundry. I took 6 large pieces and placed them in a muslin bag that ties at the top and then put them in my washer ...at the bottom so they have more time to be wet and release the saponin. If you use cold water to wash your clothes , they say it is best to put the filled soapnut bag into a hot mug of water and let it sit for a couple minutes before pouring the soaking water and the bag of nuts into the washing machine. If you use warm or hot water to wash your clothes you can skip this step. When the laundry is done you simply remove the bag of soapnuts and let the bag dry until the next use. I reuse the nuts about 4 times. I was very happy with the feel of my clothes and with their cleanliness. Soapnut users say there is no smell to the clothes...which is excellent for those who have chemical sensitivities. Before I started using soapnuts, my washer, which is down cellar would often  have a musty or moldy smell coming from the washing mashine. It seemed  that this smell transferred somewhat to the clothing. I didn't know what to do about it since i figured that my washing machine was getting washed everytime I washed a load of clothes.So......after my first washing with the soap nuts, I was thrilled to discover that there was NO smell to my laundry or to my washer and that  the NO smell was actually a good smell to me.....if that makes any sense. Each washing seems to clean the washer a bit more. I have since discovered that others have found the same results....that soapnuts actually dissolve the slimy film that commercial detergents can leave in your washer....and maybe on your clothes?

Soapnuts are not a tough stain remover, per say.....so it is recommended that if you have some tough stains to use a stain remover before adding  the garment to the wash. I don't ever use a fabric softener so I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the clothes came out very soft and supple.

The next thing I tried was using soapnuts in the sink to wash my dishes. All I did was drop 4 nuts into the sink, filled it with hot water and swished the water and nuts a bit as the sink was filling up. I left the nuts in the water the whole time until I finished the dishes. Even though the little bit of visible soapsuds vanished fairly quickly, the grease cutting action lasted till I was done. The only thing I was disappointed with at first was that after the glasses drip dried, they had water spots on them. The next time, I dried the glasses with a towel and they came out beautifully. I don't use a dishwasher anymore but other people have used the nuts in this way. This is what my used soapnuts look like, after I've washed dishes with them a few times and they still have a couple uses left in them. You can see that there is still a shine to them. When they lose this shine, then its time to throw them into your compost. No plastic jugs to recycle......it is just so amazing!
I also wanted to grind some of the soapnuts into a powdered cleanser like I had heard others had done. This was kind of a messy deal but now that I know the tricks...next time should be a bit neater. First I tried grinding the soapnuts in my food processor but for some reason it didn't grind them very well. Next I tried my blender, which did work. Covering the blender with a dishtowel when grinding should prevent most of the nut dust from going into the air. I also ended up wearing a mask. After blending I took the covered glass container outside , took the top off and let the soapnut dust rise into the air....away from me. Then I would come back in and use a metal strainer to separate the fine nut powder from the chunkier particles. You can then pour the chunkier pieces back into the blender and grind a bit more. Here is a picture of  two bowls.....the blue bowl with the chunkier particles and the yellow bowl contains what you want the final product to look like.

I have used this cleanser to clean my stove, counter, kitchen sink and bathroom sink and it does a great job.I  I also like the way it makes my hands feel. I didn't realize that most dish detergents are made with petroleum.....so knowing that soapnuts are totally natural and even good for your skin and hair, is quite exciting. How can something be so simple yet so safe and effective? Soapnuts are antifungal and antibacterial. My next adventure may be soaking my feet in a tub of soapnut solution or better yet a whole body bath would be fun to try.


5 lb bag of high quality dried soapnut berries



These soap nut laundry bags......or for the bath tub..... are very heavy duty and have held up well for me



This product is simply a concentrated liquid.....one hundred percent extracted from soap nuts. I keep a bottle on hand to squirt into my sponge or dishwater when I am short on time. Otherwise I also use my soapnuts for washing dishes in the sink. Don't expect suds...however it is not the suds which does the cleaning

2 comments:

  1. I love your post! Thanks for the info. I just discovered soapnuts and am excited to give them a try!

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  2. hi there!

    I've been using them for oh...maybe half a year now and soap nuts are all I use for my laundry(except for maybe a squirt from stain removers now and then and some oxygen bleach on dingy stuff) and for my dishes. Some people may not want to bother but I feel the soapnuts are much better for my hands.

    I take about 4 or 5 nuts and swish them around in the running hot water and then do my dishes. I take the nuts out when done and leave them in a little saucer on my drainboard for the next use. You can use them over about 4 or 5 times till they lose their shine.You won't see alot of suds but its the saponin that cleans and cuts the grease and that is the shiny stuff on the outside of the nuts

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