Learn how to use soapberries or soapnuts in place of washing detergent – an all-natural, biodegradable, toxin-free option. Soap berries can actually be used to replace many chemical-filled items around your home.
How to use soap berries or soapnuts in place of washing detergent
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. Plus these days I make most of my own.
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… soap berries.
I’d never even heard of them until about 18 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 soap berries or soap nuts?
I did a little Facebook live in the group a while ago showing how to use soap berries 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.
Why are soapberries or soapnuts so awesome?
Where do I even start. I’ll give you a list:
- Soap berries are all natural
- Soap berries are 100% biodegradable (reducing landfill) – when I’m finished with them I just throw them out into the garden.
- Soap nuts can be added to compost so break down into a natural fertilizer.
- Soap berries look a lot prettier than a bottle of washing detergent on display – I keep mine in a pretty glass jar above the sink.
- Soap berries are really effective at cleaning clothes.
- Clothes washed with soap berries actually smell clean.
- Soap berries are ridiculously easy to use.
- At about 14c per wash (I bought a 1/2 kg bag of soap nuts which does 180 loads of washing for $25) soap berries are really inexpensive.
- Soap berries don’t foam up so you can use them in front and top loaders.
- Soap berries are very flexible and you can use them for a lot more than just washing clothes.
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How to use soap berries or soapnuts
So, now you know how awesome they are, let me show you how to use soapberries or soapnuts in 5 different ways.
- For washing clothes, you just pop 5 soapberries or soapnuts in a little calico bag and throw it in the wash.
- You can add pure essential oils for scent. One little bag will do you for 5 loads
Stain remover spray made with soap berries
- 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.
Handwash/ body wash made with soap berries
- 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.
Using soap berries in the dishwasher
- 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.
Use soap berries to makes 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.
Where to buy soap berries or soap nuts
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!
If you’d like some more simple steps to start removing the toxins from your home then check out Low Tox Home.
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