Best Natural Laundry Detergent
The Miraculous Little Soap Nut!
A Great alternative to chemical soaps and shampoos.
I came across soap nuts when I was trying to find an alternative to laundry detergent. Little did I know that these small sticky brown berries could do so many things! If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then let me give you the lowdown on the soap nut.
What are Soap Nuts?
Soap nuts aren’t really nuts at all. They are the dried de-seeded shells of the fruit of the soapberry tree. (Sapindus Mukorossi). They are found in areas like the Himalayas, India and Bali.
The shells of the fruit have a high concentration of Saponin. Saponin is basically soap, which is what makes this “nut" act just like a detergent. In the East, people have been using soap nuts for hundreds of years, while in the West, soap nuts are often used in soap preparations, along with other chemical additives.
The best thing about them is that they are gentle and safe to use, even for sensitive skin!
This wonderful little nut ticks all the boxes. It is all-natural, cost effective, environmentally friendly and reusable. When it is soaked in water, it makes soap suds and can therefore be used for a variety of cleaning objectives.
There are two ways of using the soap nut. You can use the whole nut or make a liquid from boiling the nuts in water.
The Best Natural Laundry Detergent
I have used the whole nut as a chemical free alternative to laundry detergent. (Your soap nuts will usually come with a little muslin bag, and you simply put about 5 soap nuts into the bag and pop that into your washing machine. They only need replacing after about 7 loads!!)
A Few Uses of Soap Nuts:
- Soap nuts are said to help with dry skin. Their natural conditioning properties help to keep the skin moisturized and prevent the skin from drying out.
- They are hypo-allergenic. But that being said – it’s always good to test a small patch of skin first, before using any new product.
A liquid made from the soap nuts makes for an excellent facial cleanser. It has a cooling effect on the skin, so it may be helpful for eczema and psoriasis.
You could add a few of your favourite essential oils to the liquid and use it as a face wash. Add a few drops of tea tree oil when that pesky breakout happens. It helps with blackheads and pimples.
It is said that with regular use as a face wash, it can lighten the complexion and even out skin tone.
Apparently the liquid can also stimulate hair growth when used as a shampoo or rinsing agent! It has a soothing effect on the scalp and may help for dandruff. Soap nuts do have an anti-microbial action, so it might be a good option for scalp issues.
- Some have reported that after regular use of the soap nut liquid as a shampoo, the quality of their hair has improved. No more frizzy, dry hair – and it works as a detangler too! Just a note of caution here – it is not a “tears free" shampoo. So if you are using it or you are using it on your children, be careful not to get the liquid in the eyes. It’s not dangerous, but it can sting.
Some other household uses include:
- Using the liquid to clean windows
- Shines up and cleans your jewelry
- Use to wash fruit and veg
- Can be used as a dishwashing detergent (no harmful chemicals!) and is the best natural laundry detergent.
- It can be used as a pesticide and mosquito repellent.
- Soap nuts can be used as a hand wash and a chemical free body wash that is safe for the whole family.
- It can also help treat athlete’s foot!
How to Make Soap Nut Liquid:
(Can also be used as a laundry detergent)
Making a natural laundry detergent
- You will need about 15-20 soap nuts
- 10 cups of filtered water
- A nice clean mason jar or something similar to store your wonder liquid in
- Put 6 cups of water into a pot and add all the soap nuts. Let it come to the boil, but reduce the heat slightly to prevent the liquid from boiling over. Boil for 20 minutes. (Ignore the slightly unpleasant smell).
- When you’ve reached 20 minutes, add in another 2 cups of water and let it boil for another 10 minutes.
- After those 10 minutes, add in your last 2 cups of water and let it boil for 10 more minutes. (So that’s 40 minutes in total).
- Strain the liquid and pour into a clean, airtight container.
- You are ready to clean!
This liquid needs to be stored in the fridge and will last for about 2 weeks before going off.
You can use this liquid directly on your skin as a face wash or hair rinse – but as with all good things - just be careful of the following:
- The liquid can sting if it gets into the eyes.
- Even though soap nuts have wonderful benefits for our skin and hair and it is reported to be 100% hypo-allergenic – always do a skin patch test before using.
Natural Soap Nut Liquid
Facial Cleanser using Soap Nut Liquid:
Wash your face with warm water and then using about 1 tablespoon of the liquid on a face cloth or microfiber cloth; wipe your face.
Soap Nut Body Wash:
Just add a little of the liquid to your face cloth and wash as you would normally. The liquid is both cleansing and softening, so your skin doesn’t feel dry and dehydrated afterwards.
There we go! That’s the soap nut in a nutshell! What a wonderful way to lessen the chemical load on our bodies and the environment!
References and Resources
1. diynatural.com. Best natural laundry detergent. 2. BETTY, CRUNCHY. Crunchy Betty. https://crunchybetty.com/from-soap-nuts-to-liquid-natural-nontoxic-cleaning/.3. Nature soap. http://www.naturesoap.co.za/. 4. Choudhary, Tanya. Stylecraze. http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-soapnuts-for-skin-hair-and-health/#gref. 5. The Hippy Homemaker. http://www.thehippyhomemaker.com
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