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Eco-friendly Soap Nuts

A question we get asked a ton is: what the heck are soap nuts!?

Soap nuts aren't actually a nut, but they are a dried berry! Soap nuts are traditionally found in the Himalayas and the mountains between India and Nepal. 

Once the berries are picked and dried, when they are agitated in water (ie shaken) they release a natural cleaning product called saponin! They make a great cleaner and soap, and once you are done with them they can be composted as they are just a berry!

eco friendly soap nuts sit in a bowl

The most common use we see folks buying soap nuts for, are in place of liquid laundry detergent. We recently crunched the numbers on using soap nuts as laundry detergent, and they are unbelievable cost effective, working out to be about $0.05/load of laundry!

(some of ) the many uses for soap nuts
  • laundry 
  • all purpose cleaner
  • shampoo
  • dish soap
  • + more!
a washing machine filled with pink clothes
How to use soap nuts as a zero waste laundry detergent
  1. grab 2-4 soap nuts and place them in a cotton pouch – an old sock works great, just tie it closed.
  2. toss the pouch with the soap nuts into your washing machine and turn it on
  3. after the load of laundry is done, find the pouch (just to make sure it doesn't get added to your dyer) and leave it in your machine if you can, or pull it out and leave it aside for your next load.
  4. the soap nuts can be used over six times, and when they're done, just compost the soap nuts and reuse the pouch.

Tip: if you're doing a cold wash, put the soap nuts in a small bowl with hot water for a few minutes, and then dump the pouch and soapy water into your machine.

How to make soap nut concentrate (two ways)
the lazy method:
  1. In a large container add 2 litres of water and about 20 soap nuts. Let it sit for eight hours or over night 
  2. Strain out the soap nuts and reserve the liquid. 
  3. The concentrate will keep for about 1 week.
the quick method
  1. In a large pot add 2 litres of water and about 20 soap nuts. Bring it to a boil and the reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes.
  2. Strain out the soap nuts and let the concentrate cool.
  3. The concentrate will keep for about 1 week.
How to use soap nut concentrate

Laundry detergent: use about two cups of the liquid and add it to your wash, you can add some vinegar if you want as well to help deodorize.

All purpose cleaner: mix 1 cup of the concentrate with 2 cups of water (optional: add a few drops of essential oils).

Dish soap: add a few tablespoons to your water and rinse well. It won't get as sudsy, but does the trick!

Clean your floors: add 1 cup of concentrate to a mop bucket with hot water.

Shampoo: rub some concentrate into your hair and rinse out.

Body wash: squirt some concentrate onto a luffa or your hands and scrub!

a person mops their floors

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