Introduction to Soapnuts
Soap Nuts or soapberries are a popular way to do the laundry for environmentally conscious people. They have gained popularity due to being a natural, sustainable and eco-friendly way to clean your clothes and various other cleaning tasks around the house.
Soap nuts are produced naturally (grow on trees), biodegradable, economical and reusable and do not involve any chemicals or synthetics in their production
In this article, we will give you a complete breakdown of soap nuts, their origin, uses and tips for using them.
What are Soap Nuts?
Soap Nuts belong to the lychee family and grow on the Tree named Sapindus mukorossi (Soap Berry) tree in warmer climates of India and Nepal.
The “soapnut” is actually berry of the tree and it takes 9 years for the tree to start yielding fruit. It yields fruit for 6 months a year and can be harvested for approximately 90 years.
Disadvantages of commercial laundry detergents
We use chemically-laden laundry detergents for cleaning our clothes which has several negative impacts.
- They are not green and sustainable.
- They cost high
- They cannot be reused or recycled
- They contain harmful chemicals that reduce the life of our clothes
- They also pose a problem to people with sensitive skin or with multiple chemical syndrome
Hence, soapnuts are a great natural alternative that works just as well without all the negative effects.
How soapberries works
When soapnuts come in to contact with water, they produce a cleaning agent called “Saponin.” This is the agent responsible for cleaning the clothes.
It works like a surfactant, penetrate the fibres of your clothes and getting rid of the stains and impurities
How to use soapnuts?
There is no rocket science involved in using these amazing natural cleaning agents. Using the soapnuts is simply popping a few soapnut shells (6-8) in to cotton bag and placing them in the washing machine. Do your laundry as usual without adding the laundry detergent.
Using warm water produces more lather than when using cold water. If this is a concern of yours , you can boil a cup of water before hand and place the soapnuts in them for few minutes and add this to your load instead.
You can use the same soapnuts for 4 to 6 loads. After, that they lose their effectiveness and you should discard them and use newer ones.
How to utilise soapnuts in various ways?
You can use the soapnuts in their original form as a laundry detergent. You can also turn it to liquid and use it for any cleaning that you would use a liquid detergent for. You can also use it as a shampoo. The process for turning soapnuts in to soapnut liquid detergent is as follows
- Use around 100 grams of nuts and crush them or break them in to smaller pieces
- Add them to 6 to 8 cups of water and heat it till it boils.
- Simmer it for 15 to 20 minutes and leave it over night.
- You can pour the liquid in a bottle and use it when required.
You can use it as a dishwashing liquid in the dishwasher too or use it manually to scrub kitchenware. Don’t be alarmed at the lack of bubbles as there is no foaming agents like in the commercial detergents. So, the soapnut liquid will work just as well as your regular liquid detergents even though it won’t foam as much.
Benefits of using soapnuts
No Harmful Chemicals
Soap Nuts are a completely natural and organic way to do your laundry and other cleaning. There are no chemicals used in the production either. So, it is great for people with sensitive skin and babies, people suffering from MCS (Multiple Chemical Syndrome)
Versatile cleaning agent
You can use the soapnuts for various purposes like laundry, shampoo, dishwashing liquid. It is as effective as the commercial cleaning agents without their disadvantages
Soapnuts are eco friendly and sustainable product with zero wastage. They are 100% biodegradable. You can simply toss them in your compost after you are done with them.
You save money over the long run as they are much cheaper than commercial detergents. They are also reusable which increases their cost effectiveness.
Increase clothes life
They do not damage clothes and effect colors like some of the harsher detergents. You will increase the life of your clothes as soapnuts are delicate on clothes.