TYPICAL PREPARATIONS: Just a few berries (4-6) in a cotton muslin bag should work for an entire load. 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 discarded. They can also be used in a powder form as a cleansing cream by adding a small amount of water.
Soap berries can be used for anything that you would normally use detergent for; washing the car, windows, etc. Some people have used them as a base for shampoos and hand lotions, and as an all purpose cleaner for around the home. Jewelers in India and Indonesia have used them to remove tarnish from jewelry and other precious metals for many centuries.
Soap berries can be used to make a natural, homemade all-purpose cleaner for just about everything in your home – from laundry to dishes to floors to toilets.
Making an All-purpose Cleaner with Soap Nuts
You will need:
- 20 soap nuts (find soap nuts here)
- 2 cups of water
- 10 drops of essential oil (find 100% pure essential oils here)
- Combine soap nuts and water in a medium pot.
- Bring to a gentle boil. (Watch the pan carefully so suds doesn’t boil over!) Reduce heat, cover, and allow to simmer for 1 hour.
- Allow the liquid to cool, then strain and add essential oils for scent. Transfer liquid to a sealed container. Compost or discard soap nuts.
Note: I should warn you that your house will smell a little funky while your soap nuts are boiling on the stove.
Tips for Storage:
Like any other botanical water-based liquid, your soap nut liquid cleaner will go bad after a period of time. If keeping at room temperature, store in a small bottle that you can use up within a week or so. The refrigerated liquid will keep for a few months. If you make large batches, simply freeze portions of your concentrated cleaner to ensure freshness.
More About Soap Berries:
Also called soap nuts, they’re really not a nut at all. They are a berry that is grown on a tree native to Himalayan regions of Nepal and India. This berry is generally referred to as the Soapberry because it produces a natural soap, called saponin. Saponin is a natural surfactant that foams when dissolved in water, removing dirt and odors from surfaces.
These Soapberries are normally wild-harvested from trees that have never been sprayed with any chemicals or pesticides – there’s no need because pests don’t like the taste of the fruit.
Once harvested, the Soapberry is dried and de-seeded. They end up looking like a little brown nut – hence the name.
Since they don’t really belong to the nut family, they are absolutely safe to use around family members with nut allergies!
Soap nuts are extremely gentle, 100% natural, and chemical-free, making them perfect for even the most sensitive skin or delicate surfaces. This eco-friendly option is also naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial and a very powerful alternative to chemical cleaners.