Soap nuts are known worldwide by many names such as soapnuts, soapberry, washing nuts, soap nut shells, wash shells, soapberry nut husk, Ritha (Hindi) nut shell, Chinese soapberry and many more. Very simply, soap nuts are the dried shells (or husks) from the soapberry (or soap berry nut). These berries are the fruit from a quite unique tree species. These shells contain a substance called saponin that produces a soaping effect. Saponin is a 100% natural alternative to chemical laundry detergent and cleansers. It can replace many chemical detergents such as those containing sodium laureth sulphate (SLS) that are becoming well known by consumers for being a skin irritant and health hazard. Soap nuts have been used for centuries throughout the world as a laundry detergent, as soap for personal hygiene, and as a cleanser with a plethora of other uses. It is most commonly used in India, China, parts of Europe and numerous countries in the eastern hemisphere. There is even a species, Quillaja Saponaria (called a soap bark tree) that grows in South America. However, only in recent years has the soap nut and its many benefits made its way to the shores of the U.S.
I teamed up with Green Virgin Products to try out their Soap Nuts Liquid. Before now I never even heard of the stuff and now I`m finding a variety of uses for it. My liquid was meant to be used as a laundry detergent, but I didn`t care for the smell too much so I searched alternative uses instead! Of course because the soap nuts liquid doesnâ€™t keep, I made mine in a small. It was enough to clean all the windows and mirrors in my house, with some left over. Iâ€™m going to keep it under the sink for a while and test it, just to see how long it lasts. Vinegar is a fantastic preservative, so Iâ€™m betting itâ€™ll go a good month or two before a new batch needs to be made.
Soap Nut Glass Cleaner
- 1 Tbsp Soap Nut Liquid
- 2 Tbsp White Vinegar
- 1/2 c. Water
- 2 Tbsp c. Isopropyl Alcohol (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Use as you would any glass cleaner. This doesnâ€™t streak, and itâ€™s also really great for windows/glass that are particularly messy (like toothpaste splatters or mud on the outside of windows).
General Household Soap Nut Cleaner
- Straight Soap Nut Liquid
- 1/2 c. Soap Nut Liquid
- 2 Tbsp White Vinegar
- 1/8 c. Water
Combine everything in a small bowl or spray bottle, and use as you would a kitchen or bathroom cleaner.
Soap Nut Hand Wash
- 1/2 c. Liquid Castille Soap
- 1/8 c. Soap Nut Liquid
- 5 drops Essential Oil (Lavender, Tea Tree, or Rosemary would add extra antibacterial power)
Mix everything together in a small pump bottle and use as you would any hand soap. Alternatively, you could just wash your hands with a little bit of soap nut liquid, but adding this all together will give more cleansing power, and mixing the essential oils and castille soap in with the soap nut liquid will prolong the life of the liquid.
Soap Nut Jewelry Cleaner
- 3 Tbsp Soap Nut Liquid
- 1/4 c. Distilled Water
Mix the two ingredients together and place jewelry into the liquid. Allow the jewelry to sit for 15-20 minutes. With a small toothbrush, gently scrub your jewelry clean. Sparkly!
Some things to keep in mind is that the Soap nut liquid will sting your eyes if youâ€™re not careful, so if youâ€™re washing your face or hair with it, remember to keep the peepers closed. The stinging makes it perhaps not a viable option for washing your childrenâ€™s hair, as well. Another thing, Soap nut liquid does not taste good (and it could make your stomach hurt if you ingest too much), so keep your mouth closed while doing the aforementioned things, too. Finally, Soap nut liquid does spoil, unless you use a recipe that also includes a preservative (even then, it wonâ€™t last forever) or unless you can it. Also, Iâ€™ve read in several places that adding 1 tsp citric acid to 4 cups of liquid will add weeks to your soap nuts liquidâ€™s life.
For my experiments and "new" product making journey I found that the soap nuts liquid worked out well and got the job done. While I don`t care for the scent straight out the bottle, it`s nothing a little essential oils couldn`t fix. I thought I was going to be trying a new product that I didn`t like for my laundry, but instead found new ways to keep my home clean in a natural and safe way. Just keep in mind to be careful using essential oils around cats as they can be toxic and to do your research. So if you`re looking to make some great cleaners in a natural and safe way, the liquid soap nuts is an awesome product to use in that. As far as the laundry cleaning goes, I`m going to experiment a bit to find a way to make it work for me. I still prefer my homemade laundry powder over it though.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.