Soap Nuts (soap berries) are the fruit of the Chinese Soapberry Tree. These amazing berries are harvested and then sun dried. Soap nuts are found in both the eastern and western hemispheres, but are native to India and Nepal. They have recently become a popular environmentally friendly alternative to chemical detergent, and are a gentle option for those with allergies to chemicals in regular detergents. The drupes (soap nuts) contain saponins which are a natural surfactant. They have been used for washing for thousands of years by native peoples in Asia as well as Native Americans. The soap nut shell absorbs water and releases the saponins which circulate as a natural surfactant in the wash water, freeing dirt, grime, and oils from clothing.
Investigation of the contraceptive capability of plant saponins have shown some spermicidal capacity for certain extracts. While the Sapindus saponins have not been proven be as effective as more commonly used spermicides it has been shown that they are less irritating than chemical alternatives.
Soap nuts are used in Ayurveda and are a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic shampoos and cleansers. They are used in Ayurvedic medicine to promote healthy, nourished skin. Soap nuts have gentle insecticidal properties and are traditionally used for removing lice from the scalp. Soap nuts have become increasingly popular as a non-toxic laundry detergent.
There is considerable discussion as to what variety of Soap Nuts is preferable for use as a laundry soap alternative and any Soap Nut from the genus Sapindus will work just fine as they all have Saponin producing properties, hence the genus name Sapindus.
Some possible benefits of our Raw Organic Soap Nuts (without seed) may include:
- Works great with our Large Cotton Muslin Bags
- Excellent multi-purpose cleaner
- Reusable up to 4-6 times for laundry
- Hypoallergenic, fragrance free, eco-friendly, biodegradable & organic
- Low sudsing- perfect for high efficiency washers
- Free of synthetic chemicals, fillers, toxins, dyes & perfumes
- Ideal for cloth cotton diaper laundering
- Natural insecticide when sprayed on your garden plants
- Used soap nuts can be composted
- Traditionally used in Asia as an expectorant
- Helpful for psoriasis & eczema
- Possessing spermicidal qualities
Suggested Use: 8 oz cleans about 80 loads of laundry. Soap nuts can be used for anything that you would normally use detergent for, including washing the car, windows, fruit, vegetables, pets and yourself! Some people have used them as a base for shampoos and hand lotions, and as an all purpose cleaner for around the home. They can be used as an antimicrobial for septic systems. Jewelers in India and Indonesia have used them to remove tarnish from jewelry and other precious metals for centuries. Just a few nuts (about 8) in a wash bag (cotton muslin bag or sock) should work for an entire load of laundry. There will be little or no bubbles during the wash cycle, and it will smell lightly similar to apple cider. They can be used several times and then composted afterwards. They will look mushy and grey when they need to be changed. The best way to tell if your soap nuts are used up is to put your used soap nuts in a jar with a lid and a few ounces of water and shake them up. If you get suds, you can get another load out of them. Pour the sudsy water in the washer and put the soap nuts back in the wash bag and toss them in for another load. They can also be used in a powder form as a cleansing cream by adding a small amount of water. Remember that the hardness of water has an effect on all cleaning products. Water hardness and other factors are different all across the country. So start with our recommendations and then experiment. Try using fewer soap nuts, then more and see what works best in your area.
Laundry Directions (traditional method):
Put 8 soap nuts or equivalent amount of pieces, (about 1/2 ounce), in some type of wash bag. Tie bag securely. Toss directly into washing machine before adding clothes. Remove from washer at end of wash. Allow bag to dry unless doing another load. You may remove them prior to the rinse cycle to extend usefulness. They are not harmed by drying in the dryer. Re-use 4 to 6 times. Note for cold water: Soak soap nuts in a cup of hot water for a few minutes to expedite saturation. Pour water & bag in the laundry or simply allow to soak longer during pre-wash. Contrary to what some think, raw soap nuts work fine in cold water. Being very well saturated is the key. See "tips" about conditioning water and more. Soap nuts are no longer effective when they stop producing soap, turn soft, mushy, grayish in color and become very thin.
Laundry Usage Tips:
Don't overstuff loads! Good water flow, circulation & agitation are musts for achieving best results.
Pre-soaking & use of pre-soak cycles can improve results dramatically. Soap nuts aren't for tough stain removal. Pre-treat as usual if needed. Don't expect lots of suds. Suds will dissipate quickly. There are no commercial chemical foaming agents added that create suds. Heat simply accelerates saponin release. It is not required. Allow soap nuts to dry between wash days. Best if re-wet before use. Hard water may require more soap nuts. Also try softening salts, washing soda and/or vinegar to help soften water. No need for softeners or dryer sheets. Laundry will be very soft. Soap nuts have a light vinegar like smell, but your laundry will smell clean & fresh with no scent at all. If you prefer a scent, add an essential oil of choice on an absorbent cloth & use it like a dryer sheet. For bright whites & colors, try an oxygen bleach. Occasionally a standard bleach may be desired for super whites. Great for cotton cloth diapers. Fibers will remain free of residue, therefore increasing absorbency. Contact manufacturer or customer service about diapers and specialty fabrics & materials. Start fresh. Run a couple of loads with rags to purge washer of old residue. Above all, have realistic expectations. Soap nuts are an alternative to harsh chemical detergents. Nothing does everything.
Multi-Purpose Powder Cleaner:
Grind soap nuts in a blender or coffee grinder. (A coffee grinder works great.) Grind to a very fine powder for laundry, Make a courser, more abrasive grind for scouring and scrubbing needs. This may require a couple grindings. Remove unground pieces.
Multi-Purpose Liquid Cleaner:
Simmer 1 cup of soap nuts in 4 cups of water on your stove, then allow the liquid to cool. Mash the soap nuts by hand (squish them around to get out all the saponins), then drain the resulting liquid through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag. The ratio of soap nuts to water, plus "cooking" time will affect the liquid's concentration and potency. Experiment until desired are acquired. There is no wrong way of cooking them into a liquid. Liquids will vary accordingly. The saponin (soap) is extracted from the nuts when they turn very light tan/gray, are very mushy, and lack a slippery, soapy feel. Spent shells are great for compost, or to add nutrients into the soil of garden or houseplants. They are 100% biodegradable. Store your homemade liquid in an airtight glass jar in a cool place away from direct sunlight. As with any unpreserved, water-based botanical extract, soap nut liquid has a limited shelf life. Freeze or refrigerate to extend shelf life.
Other Soap Nut Uses:
- Non-streak glass & window cleaner
- All-purpose kitchen and bathroom cleaner
- Perfect for washing fruits and vegetables
- Gentle dish detergent. Not recommended for most dishwashers
- Excellent for stainless steel, polished granite, tile and countertops
- High sheen jewelry cleaner
- Low sudsing carpet cleaner for ultra-soft carpets and rugs
- Conditioning hair & skin treatments
- Wash water is excellent for watering yard and plants
- Effective plant spray for a non-toxic pest deterrent
- Gentle car wash (won't remove wax)
- Biodegradable soap - a camper's dream. Even helps ward off insects
- Gentle, non-irritating, chemical free washing and bathing
- Excellent for eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, dandruff, itchy scalp & other irritating skin conditions. An initial patch test is recommended
Pet Care: The ultimate pet shampoo. Leaves coat with a healthy sheen and skin is soft and nourished. Also helps deter fleas, ticks and other common pests.
Botanical Name: Sapindus Trifoliatus.
Other Names: Sapindus mukorossi, Soapnuts, Sapindus trifoliatus, Soap Berries, Sapindus saponaria, soapberry, soap pods, Soapberries, wash berries, wash nuts, Ritha, Reetha, Aritha, Dodan, Doadni, Doda, Kanma, Thali.
Ingredients: Raw Organic Soap Nuts (without seed).
Origin: Grown in India. Packaged with care in Florida, USA.
Certifications: USDA Certified Organic.
Z Natural Foods strives to offer the highest quality organically grown, raw, vegan, gluten free, non-GMO products available and exclusively uses low temperature drying techniques to preserve all the vital enzymes and nutrients. Our Raw Soap Nuts are certified organic and pass our strict quality assurance which typically includes testing for botanical identity, heavy metals, chemicals, and microbiological contaminants. ZNaturalFoods.com offers Raw Organic Soap Nuts packaged in airtight stand-up, resealable foil pouches for optimum freshness.