Ingredients Soap Nuts
Qualities Biodegradable, Renewable
Our soap nuts are the dried fruit from the Ritha (sapindus mukorossi) tree. There are other types of trees that produce a poorer grade of soap nuts. The ones we import contain very high amounts of saponin. Saponin is the substance which gives the soap nuts their green cleaning power.
Did you know that once used, soap nuts break down completely leaving no toxic chemical residue behind? You can throw the used shells in the compost.
Soap nuts are ready to use with no chemical processing! Straight off the tree they can be used for laundry, replacing both your laundry soap AND fabric softener. They can also be boiled to make an all purpose natural liquid cleaner. Soap nuts are great for anyone with chemical allergies or sensitive skin.
- Place 4 or 5 soap nuts in a small cotton pouch or a sock tied at the top. Put this into your washing machine load with temperatures up to 90ºC.
- Soap nuts will leave your clothes fragrance free. If you'd like to add a fragrance, just add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the wash.
- Shells can be used for more than one wash but the number of washes per shell bag will depend on the water temperature used. Washing at lower temperatures, the soap nuts can be used more often. You will know the soap nuts need to be replaced when they become thin and dull with no shiny pockets of saponin left in them.
All Purpose Detergent
- Add about 50g (a handful - or about 8 to 10 soap nuts) soap nut shells to approximately 6 cups of water. Crush the shells into smaller pieces before adding - this aids in the release of the saponin.
- Bring to boil, then simmer for approximately 30 minutes. The boiling process extracts the saponin from the nut shells and combines with the water. You can use the liquid immediately, or let it steep overnight.
- Strain into appropriate container and compost the remaining shells. You now have a concentrated, chemical free detergent that can then be used in a multitude of ways:
- All Purpose Cleaner Keep the liquid in a spray bottle and use to clean the bathroom, kitchen, floors, etc. Add a few drops of essential oil if you prefer a different scent.
- Laundry Use 2 to 3 tablespoons for a large load of laundry. If your laundry feels a little stiff upon completion of the cycle, you've used too much!
- Produce Cleaner Soak your fruit and vegetables for approximately 10 minutes in the soap nut liquid. Rinse off and enjoy this food free from harmful chemicals and residue. The soap nut solution can then be reused for household cleaning.
- Windows & Glass Cleaner Fill a clean spray bottle with 1.5 cups water, 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1 tablespoon soap nut liquid. Spray and wipe windows or mirrors clean. Polish with a dry cloth or newspaper.
- When making soap nut liquid it is important to remember that, because soap nuts are actually a fruit and the liquid therefore a 'fruit juice', if left at room temperature for more than a few days, it will begin to mold. If stored in the refrigerator the liquid should last a couple of weeks. Another great idea is to pour the liquid into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, store in the freezer in a well marked container! Each frozen cube will be approximately 2 tablespoons.
Note Soap nuts absorb moisture very easily. They become dark & sticky in a very short period of time if left exposed to air. Ideally the nuts should be packed in an airtight container or a plastic bag tied tightly. However, sticky soap nuts do not mean that they have gone bad. They will still wash & clean perfectly.