Soap Berry Sapindus

The Sapindus Mukorossi tree is one of several that bear fruits that are commonly referred to as soap nuts, of them the soapnuts from the Sapindus Mukorossi tree have the highest saponin content. Saponin is a natural detergent commonly used for cleaning among many other things. Soapnuts have been used medically as an expectorant, emetic, contraceptive, and for treatment of excessive salivation, epilepsy, psoriasis, head lice and migraines. Studies have shown that saponin from soap nuts inhibit tumor cell growth.

They are a popular ingredient in shampoos and cleansers. They are used as a treatment for eczema and psoriasis. Soap nuts have gentle insecticidal properties and are traditionally used for removing lice from the scalp. Soapnuts have long been used in the Western world for soap production, usually together with many chemical additives which are not necessary for the actual washing process and are damaging to the user as well as our environment. Soapnuts have become a very popular environmentally friendly alternative to these manufactured chemical detergents.

You will find experimentation will be the best way to find how soap nuts will best suit your needs. When using them in the laundry make sure you take the following things into consideration; type of water you have hard or soft, size or your washing machine, size of the load you are washing, how soiled the items your washing are and the temperature you are washing at. For an average load of laundry you will use 3-4 shells (or equivalent in pieces), larger and dirtier may require 5-8 shells and smaller loads may only need 2-3, harder waters may require more. Muslin/Cotton sacks are the most common things used for doing laundry with soap nuts and usually come with any soap nut purchase, but contrary to popular belief you don't need to buy one if you don't have one. Chances are you can use something you  already have like an old mismatched sock, an end piece of tights or stockings, a bandana or hankie or if your crafty sew one out of an old t shirt, rag or piece of cloth (cotton, canvas and hemp all work well). Once you have your pouch situation figured out, put the shells in it, tie it shut, and drop it in the washing machine with your dirty laundry. You will not need to add any other detergent. Soapnuts wash most effectively between 30 and 60 degrees c (86 and 140 f) and will last on average about 2-4 washes. When the Saponin has been exhausted from the shells for laundry use they will look dark and feel soggy, at this point you can safely throw them on your compost heap or put them aside for making a mild soap nut liquid (see making soapnut liquid instructions below). They also make a great hand soap, just toss them in your blender with some water and viola hand soap. Doing laundry with soap nuts leaves your clothes incredibly soft without the need for fabric softeners or conditioners, so usage of fabric softener is no longer needed. However cleaning your laundry with soap nuts doesn't leave your laundry with much of a fragrant scent, so if you prefer laundry with a scent, you can add a few drops of essential oils to the wash. You can apply a few drops directly to your soap nut pouch before adding it to your washing machine or alternatively you may add it to some water and pour it in you softener tray or ball.

Soapnuts are highly-effective and gentle at the same time. It will leave your laundry fresh and clean and compared to other detergents, its mildness will keep colors bright, and maintain the fabric structure of your clothes for longer periods. It can be used on all fabrics including delicates like silk, cashmere and wool. Soapnuts are all natural, hypoallergenic, biodegradable, ecological, and economical!
If you prefer soapnut liquid use approx. 3 tablespoons (or 45ml) per laundry load (see making soapnut liquid instructions below)

If you are interested in buying it from Indonesia, you can go to our online shop here

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