What Are Soap Nuts?

In recent years, I've been on a quest to go green in my home, so that I do not come into contact with chemical residues left on surfaces nor by inhaling potentially harmful fumes. the transition has been gradual. I've replaced my bathroom and kitchen cleaners and made my own scrubbing paste, I've made my own dishwashing liquid, and switched to baking soda for hairwashing, and I'm now looking to replace any remaining cleaning products in my home.

On my quest for a laundry detergent that doesn't damage the environment, I came across soap nuts, also known as soap berries, and decided to create this Hub to explain what soap nuts are, where they grow, what substances are in them that make them ideal for cleaning, and how they can be used instead of laundry detergent to clean clothing.

As unbelievable as it may seem, soap nuts actually grow in the wild and they've have been used for centuries as a cleaning agent.

When you think about this, it is a bit of a revelation to realize that people washed their clothes for centuries, long, long before supermarkets offered packaged laundry soaps. They used what they had to hand, usually natural ingredients. And we can do this too!

What Are Soap Nuts?

Growing in tropical climes, soap nuts grow on shrubs and trees that form the genus Sapindus in the Lychee family. This genus includes deciduous and evergreen species. These plants produce a fruit known as soap berries or soap nuts. The nuts are not very large but the contain powerful cleaning agents.

Why Do Soap Nuts Clean?

Soap nuts contain substances known as saponins, natural surfactants and highly effective cleaning agents, which make the nuts ideal for cleaning. They could be said to be a 100% natural laundry soap and are a safe, hypoallergenic, biodegradable alternative to laundry detergents that imperil ocean waters and harm the environment.

They work in much the same fashion as the usual laundry soaps, minus the harm of chemical-laden detergents.

How to Use Soap Nuts for Cleaning Clothing

To use soap nuts for laundry purposes, one usually places the nuts into a bag. The bag containing the soap nuts can be used for multiple loads of laundry. Most retailers that sell soap nuts, also sell small bags for use in conjunction with the nuts. Soap nut kits contain both items.

Normally you place 5-6 soap nuts into a bag, which you then place in your washing machine. You retrieve the bag and use it for subsequent loads of laundry. how many uses you get per bag depends on the size of the load, water hardness or softness, degree of soiling and so on.

What Are Soap Nuts?

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Changing our home environment starts with baby steps, replacing products we are used to using and adopting new habits that can protect our health and the environment. Using soap nuts is a natural way to clean clothing and one that North Americans are embracing.

© 2012 Athlyn Green

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Comments 1 comment

Carlos 4 years ago

There are a lot of sites out there these days that have green and homemade ceelnars. I enclosed some.I clean for the most part with Rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, baking soda, borax, salt, and lemons. I refresh my air with a boil of spices (I add pumpkin pie spices to boiling water which perfumes the air naturally as the spices give off an odor in the steam of the boiling water.) I use old t-shirts and old towels as rags. And I use shredded newspapers, shredded junk mail, shredded school homework, etc. in the bottom of my house trash cans to collect any drips etc to make their clean up less toxic on my nose.

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