Soap Nuts: What Are They and How Can You Use Them?
Soap nuts are not nuts at all contrary to what its name suggests. They are actually berries that are closely related to lychee fruit. What is special about these berries is that they contain a natural cleaning agent called saponin. Saponin gets activated when the soap nuts come in contact with water. It works as a surfactant that assists in the release of dirt, oils and grime.
These soap nuts are versatile and can be used for many purposes. They can be used for household cleaning or as shampoo and body soap even. More commonly used as laundry detergent, it is an effective and gentle alternative to its commercial counterparts. It keeps colors bright and maintains fabric structure longer while still leaving your laundry fresh and clean.
What you’ll need:
- 6 to 8 whole soap nuts
- Muslin bag to contain the soap nuts during the wash (Alternatively, a small laundry net, old stocking/socks, or anything that can hold the soap nuts together after all the tumbling in the washer.)
- Put the soap nuts in the bag and place it into the washer.
- Wash as usual.
- After washing, remove the bag of soap nuts and let it dry. You can reuse it for the next few loads of laundry, top up with new soap nuts if desired.
Each berry can be used up to 6 times. When the shells start to turn soft and grey, know that it is time to replace them. As soap nuts are compostable, the unwanted shells can be thrown into the compost bin after use.