In case you have no idea what on earth a Soap Nut is….read this first. I have been doing laundry with soap nuts for years, and I love them. You can also make liquid soap with these versatile little buggers and use it all around the house. Soap nuts liquid is also the best shampoo I have ever used!
Soap Nut Liquid
6 cups water
12-15 soap nuts (or pieces)
Bring water to a boil. Add soap nuts and turn down to low. Simmer for 30-45 minutes. You will end up with about 4 cups of concentrated soap. You have extracted every bit of soap when the soap nut shells turn very light tan or gray. (If you are super frugal you can take the used up soap nuts and puree them. The paste is an excellent, high-powered cleanser)
Because Soap Nut Liquid is a botanical tree fruit and free of all preservatives, PABA, sulfates, lanolin, parabens, phthlates, phosphates, formaldehyde, petro-chemicals, fragrance, dyes, alcohols, chlorine, and talc, it can be stored at room temperature for 4-5 days. Soap Nut Liquid will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. I keep mine in a small jar in the door of the fridge, and I pour the rest into an ice-cube tray and pop it in the freezer. One cube is perfect for one load of laundry, one load of dishes, or one mop of the whole floor. I also fill my small plastic shampoo bottle (an old ketchup dispenser with a tiny nozzle that I got at Walmart for .98 cents works perfect!) and keep it in the shower.
I buy my soap nuts from Naturoli, and I highly recommend them. Check out these suggestions from www.naturoli.com:
For Jewelry: 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 eons. There’s no need for harsh, toxic chemicals!
For Pets: Superb for pets! Your little loved ones will never feel and smell this fresh again! They’ll appreciate it, too! (note from Heather: this soap does not strip the natural oil from your pets fur/skin, thus reducing dander)
For Shampoo: Use soap nuts liquid to shampoo hair. Leave in for about 5 minutes. Rinse as usual with warm water. If you prefer more suds, add a little of your favorite shampoo. We know it’s hard not to want more suds, but trust us it really is cleaning your hair. You will be amazed at the results. AND you don’t need hair conditioner, because soap nuts are a natural conditioner and anti-static.
For Dishwashers: 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.
For Hand Wash: Add about 2 tbsp of soap nuts liquid to wash water and stir, or make a tea with your soap nuts muslin bag. Simply hand wash as usual.
For Steam Cleaning Carpets: Soap nuts work exceptionally well in carpet cleaners because they are so low sudsing and odor reducing. Add about a quarter cup of soap nut liquid to hot water in the portable cleaner. Great for urine stains!
For Household Cleaning: Pour soap nuts liquid into a spray bottle. Use full strength or dilute as desired. Use for sinks, counters, floors, etc.
For Windows and Glass: 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.
So what do you think? Worth a try? I had a really hard time at first, because of the lack of suds. I found it really difficult when I was hand washing dishes! We are so used to suds, that it just doesn’t feel clean enough when there aren’t bubbles!
My shampoo bottles. Because soap nuts shampoo is runny, these dispense just the right amount of soap. I keep one in the fridge and one in the shower.
I was really sold when I started washing my hair with this liquid. My hair has never been softer. The cool part is you can wash your hair, body, face and the shower, all with the same soap. Talk about frugal. I also think this would be a great alternative to the no-poo method, because it does not strip the natural oils from your hair, and leaves it very soft and moist. Zero hair conditioner is needed! I will never have to buy shampoo again.
I pay $46.00 for a 5 lb bag of soap nuts from Naturoli. (keep in mind that ONE pound does 160 loads of laundry. That’s 0.5 cents per load of clothes) so this soap nuts shampoo costs me just under .02 cents per head wash. Not too shabby….considering I don’t have to buy conditioner anymore either.
P.S If you don’t want to hassle with boiling the soap nuts, and the fact that the liquid spoils quickly, you can grind the dry soap nuts into a powder in a coffee grinder and put the powder directly on your head, or directly into the washing machine, or use as a scouring powder etc.