How to use soapberries or soapnuts

How to use soap berries or soap nuts

How to use soapberries or soapnuts

How to use soapberries or soapnuts

I’m a massive nerd at heart.

Nothing gets my little heart beating more than experimenting with something that I don’t really think will work, only to have it work brilliantly.

Over the years I’ve been on a bit of a quest to ditch the chemicals in our lives.

Skincare was relatively easy. There are so many options out there now and you don’t have to spend a fortune.

Cleaning – well there’s not much that good old bicarb and vinegar can’t fix is there?

It’s washing clothes that I’d given up on. Well not the actual washing (wish I could give up on that), but the whole finding a natural solution that didn’t cost a fortune and actually did the job.

I tried making my own washing detergent and yeah it was good, but way too much effort for this self-professed lazy girl.

Enter… soapberries or soapnuts.

I’d never even heard of them until a couple of months ago (so don’t beat yourself up if you’re thinking why would anyone want to eat a berry that tastes like soap!)

But… I’m nuts for soapnuts. Yep I totally just went there.

What are soapberries or soapnuts?

I did a little Facebook live in the group last week showing how to use soapberries or soap nuts but if you missed it – in my words, they’re these little, totally natural berries that resemble hollowed out, dried, hard, round dates that wash your clothes!

In more technical terms – they grow on a tree, drop to the ground, dry naturally and are ready to use to wash your clothes. They’re rich in saponins – a fancy word for a natural soap – which helps the water to release dirt, grime and oils from fabrics.


How to use soapberries or soapnuts

Why are soapberries or soapnuts so awesome?

Where do I even start. I’ll give you a list:

  • they’re all natural
  • they’re 100% biodegradable (reducing landfill)
  • they can be added to compost so break down into a natural fertilizer
  • they look a lot prettier than a bottle of washing detergent on display
  • they’re really effective at cleaning clothes
  • clothes actually smell clean
  • they’re ridiculously easy to use
  • they’re really inexpensive – I bought a 1/2 kg bag of soap nuts which does 180 loads of washing for $25 = 14c/wash
  • they don’t foam up so you can use them in front and top loaders
  • you can use them for a lot more than just washing clothes

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How to use soapberries or soapnuts

How to use soapberries or soapnuts

Washing clothes

  • For washing clothes, you just pop 5 soapberries or soapnuts in a little calico bag and throw it in the wash. You can add essential oils for scent. One little bag will do you for 5 loads

Stain remover spray

  • Make a master mixture – naturally antibacterial and antifungal:
    • Add about 10 whole shells (or equivalent) per litre of water and boil for 15-20 minutes.
    • Use the back of a large spoon to gently press the soft berries to squeeze out extra saponins. Be careful not to break them
    • Strain the cooled liquid through a cloth (I just used a chux)
    • Optional but to preserve the liquid (it’s all-natural remember), add 1 tsp citric acid (you can get it at the supermarket) per 500ml of water while it is still hot.
  • To use as a stain remover, pour it into a spray bottle and spray on any stains, rub it in and then throw the item in the wash.

How to use soapberries or soapnuts

Handwash/body wash

  • Add a tablespoon of oil (jojoba, olive or fractionated coconut oil) per 100ml of the master mixture to make a liquid soap or body wash.
  • To thicken, add 1 tsp of guar gum per 500ml of liquid and then blend the mixture.
  • I add essential oils to make it smell nice.

In place of dishwashing liquid or tablets

  • Pop about five soap berries in a tea strainer or in the cutlery basket of your dishwasher and run it as usual with no dishwashing liquid or tables.
  • Add white vinegar to the rinse aid section if things are a bit streaky.

As an all-purpose cleaning spray

  • Pour the master liquid into a spray bottle and add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to clean bench tops, showers, stainless steel and sinks.


How to use soapberries or soapnuts

Where to buy soapberries or soapnuts

I buy mine online through Flora and Fauna (they call them soap nuts) but there are a few online retailers who sell them.

I guarantee you’ll love them. Seriously, I am obsessed!

I keep mine a recycled glass jar. Here’s how I take the labels off quickly and easily!

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