I discovered soap nuts several years ago and I decided to give them a try. I remember my first question was “What on earth is a soap nut?” I had never heard of such a thing, and my curiosity got the best of me.
Soap Nuts (Sapindus) are a genus of 5 to 12 species of small trees and shrubs in the Lychee family. They are native to warm, temperate climates and tropical regions. Members of the genus are known as soap berries or soap nuts because the fruit is used to make soap. The soap nuts contain a saponin which is a natural surfactant and have been used by native people for thousands of years.
So now that you know what they are, what do you do with them? Well there are hundreds of uses, but in my house I mainly use them for laundry. The process couldn’t be easier. You take 4-5 soap nuts and place them in a small, cloth bag and tie it closed. You throw this bag in the washing machine with your laundry. This replaces your normal detergent, and it is also a natural fabric softener. Wash the laundry in warm or hot water. You will really be surprised by the results. The laundry comes out perfectly clean and soft. You can reuse the same bag of soap nuts for 5 loads of laundry! I figured it out once and each load of laundry costs me .11 cents. My previous detergent was costing me .67 cents per load.
I have purchased soap nuts from 5 companies. The only company that I can recommend is Naturoli. They presort the nuts, and only send you the highest quality pieces. They also select nuts from regions that are sustainably farmed. I have called their customer service twice and they are very helpful and friendly. (i don’t make a penny if you buy from them, just a simple recommendation)
The other uses for soap nuts are vast. They can be used in the dishwasher, boiled to make a liquid soap, ground into a powdered detergent, as shampoo and much more. I like to make the liquid soap because it works great in a cold water wash. Isn’t it amazing that soap grows on trees?
This post is part of Fight Back Fridays sponsored by Food Renegade