First of all, I know you’re probably wondering, “what on earth are soap nuts?” Whilst you scratch your head, I will tell you that this is the best natural resource I have discovered. And now here I am – scratching my head – baffled at why I only recently found out that these multi-use gems even exist!
They are nuts (you guessed right!) that grow naturally in India and Nepal – and now perhaps in other parts of the world – and are locally referred to as “reetha”. The Reetha tree starts to produce the nuts only after 9 years of maturation however they produce them for an outstanding 90 years! They have been used in Ayurveda for centuries to make hygiene products due to its natural source of saponin.
One plant can produce 30 – 35 kilograms of fruit per year and its harvesting window is up to 6 months.
250g of soap nuts can serve up to 90 washing loads! If the average person would spend $15 per month on laundry detergents, imagine how much money you can save with using natural soap nuts!
Think of all the toxic chemicals that we discard through the drainage system every single day! From washing our hands, the floors, bathrooms, laundry… it’s never ending! And most of us wouldn’t think twice about what happens after they have exited from the drains.
Did you know that more than 80 percent of the world’s wastewater flows back into the environment without being treated or reused?
Soap nuts are 100% biodegradable. After use, you can throw them into your compost or directly into the soil to degrade naturally. Furthermore, your water waste is clean – free of toxic chemical products – and if gone untreated will not cause the negative pollution impacts in the water systems.
How to make a concentrate from soap nuts
Note: don’t expect any soapy lather. The lather that is usually found in all types of soaps and hygiene products are usually chemical based.
A soap nut concentrate is very easy to do and will be useful when your cleaning product runs out and you need to use something fast.
Grab a full handful of soap nuts (you can buy them from here) and add 4 cups of water to a pot. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes.
Let the concentrate cool (optional: steep overnight).
Drain the nuts and add them to your compost bin. Store the liquid concentrate in the fridge for when you need to use.
How to use soap nuts in the home:
Soap Nuts for Dishwashing Liquid
1 cup soap nut concentrate
A dash of white vinegar
5 drops of peppermint essential oil or a blend of lemon and orange essential oil.
2 drops Vitamin E oil.
Soap Nuts for multi-purpose cleaning spray
1 cup soap nut concentrate
1 cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
10 drops of your favourite essential oil. For kitchen surfaces, I tend to use peppermint or lemon or eucalyptus.
Soap nuts for laundry
Put 5 – 8 soap nuts into a muslin cloth bag. Make sure it closes well so that the nuts don’t escape and clog the drain.
Throw them into the washing machine drum with your clothes. Remove them after the load is done.
These 5-8 soap nuts can be used 3-4 times.
Add 20 drop of Lavender essential oil for scent and fabric softness!
UPDATED: Soap Nuts for floor detergent
1 part soap nut concentrate
3 – 4 parts water
10 drops doTERRA Cinnamon Essential Oil
10 drops doTERRA Wild Orange Essential Oil
You can probably also add a dash of white vinegar OR a teaspoon of doTERRA On Guard Cleaning Concentrate – Especially to help remove stubborn stains on tiles. This recipe works well on wooden floors too.
Soap Nuts for the body & hair
Soap Nut Handwash
My hand wash and body wash tend to vary according to the ingredients I have available at home!
2 cups soap nut concentrate
2 tbs olive oil or coconut oil (or any other carrier oil like almond oil, jojoba etc)
2 tbs honey
1 tsp Vitamine E
30 Drops Lavender Essential Oil.
Soap Nut Shampoo
Add 1/4 of a cup of your concentrate in a bowl and blend with a hand blender until you create a thick foam. Add drops of lavender essential oil to soften the hair. Apply directly to your scalp, massage and rinse.
This can also be used as a shaving foam. Add some vitamin E to protect the skin.
Tip: Rinse the hair with apple cider vinegar – add two tbsp to one cup of water. Massage the fluid through from scalp to ends. Apple cider vinegar helps to seal your hair cuticle, sealing in moisture and making your hair shiny. It also makes your hair much easier to detangle and manage. Rinse off with cold water.
Soap Nuts make a perfect eco and zero-waste addition to your household.
They also make awesome travel essentials – light to carry, re-useable and reduces your waste.
And up your game on essential oils and herbs with the amazing Herbs & Essential Oils Bundle at only $47