If you haven’t heard about soapberries then you need to know about this 100% natural, eco-friendly laundry wonder. Soapberries are the dried shell of Sapindus mukorossi tree fruit and are from the same family as lychees. In fact, because they resemble unpeeled lychees, they have been affectionately nicknamed ‘Laundry Lychees’.
Although soapberries are technically berries, they are also known as ‘soap nuts’, which is understandable since we’ve gone a little nutty for them here at HealthPost. Why? Well, there are so many reasons to use soapberries around the home, which is why we have professed our undying love for them. Plus, there’s these awesome reasons too:
8 reasons to love soapberries
- 100% natural & plant derived – no chemical residues
- Hypo-allergenic – great for sensitive skin, even babies
- No residues – no need to rinse
- Eco-friendly – no plastic waste or environmental pollutants
- Septic & grey water safe
- Biodegradable – just add them to your compost
How do soapberries work?
Soapberries are great for home cleaning because they are full of natural saponins, or plant compounds with a soap-like action. In other words, they produce suds just like regular cleaners and clean dirt and grime from surfaces and fabrics. Plus, they are super-efficient and odourless, so what’s not to love about the humble soapberry?
Soapberries for cleaning around the whole house
OK, we won’t go as far as to say that we LOVE home cleaning, but now that you know how soapberries work, you can understand our excitement for the versatile soapberry and why it’s so darn handy to have some in the house.
11 soapberry uses
- Laundry- find instructions on our product page
- Dishwashing liquid
- Mould treatment
- Shampoo (including baby shampoo)
- Baby body wash
- Shaving gel
- Laundry pre-treatment stain remover
Soap nut liquid basic cleaner recipe
This is a great soap nut recipe to have up your sleeve as it can be used as dishwashing liquid as well as to clean kitchens, bathrooms, floors and even as a mould treatment. Just put into a spray bottle and use like any other cleaner – it’s completely non-toxic so there’s no need to rinse!
Soap Nut Liquid can be modified for different jobs, but essentially the base for all recipes is below.
- Put 10 whole shells (or equivalent) in 1 litre of water
- Boil for 15-20 minutes
- Gently press the Soap Nuts with the back of a large spoon to squeeze out extra saponins, carefully to avoid breaking them
- Stir 2 tsp citric acid into the hot liquid to preserve it.Citric acid is a natural preservative available in the supermarket baking section, it extends shelf life to 4 weeks
- Strain the cooled liquid through a muslin or the small cotton bag provided, to prevent sediment from clogging your spray bottle
- Discard the Soap Nuts in the compost
- Store in the fridge to extend shelf-life.
Soap nut shampoo, handwash and bodywash
Create a ‘Thickened Soap Nut Liquid’ using a blender. Mix 4-8 tsp of guar gum per 1 litre of Soap Nut Liquid. Guar gum is available from supermarkets and health stores. It will froth initially, and the bubbles will disappear when left to stand. 4 tsp per litre will give the viscosity of shampoo.
Soap nut shaving cream and baby wash
Using a blender, add 1 tbsp oil to 100ml of your Thickened Soap Nut Liquid. Try Almond, Olive, Apricot, Jojoba or Argan Oil. This moisturising formula is perfect as a baby body wash or shaving cream.
Pre-wash stain remover
Add 20 drops of Eucalyptus Oil to 50 ml of Thickened Soap Nut Liquid. Apply directly to stain, leave for 10 mins, agitate and wash as normal.
Tips for Laundry Use
To get the best out of your amazing soap nuts:
- 40 deg Celsius is ideal
That’s around the temperature of a warm bath. It gently draws saponins out of the shells - too cold and the saponins won’t be released - too hot and the soap nuts won’t last as long.
- Store them dry
Air dry soap nuts between uses, this prolongs their life– store them on a hook with good air circulation.
- Soak them
Cover them with hot water from the kettle for five minutes before tossing them in the washing machine to help activate and release saponins.
- Don’t leave them sitting wet
Remove them from the washer promptly after the cycle is done – this avoids wet soapberries discolouring any whites if they are left sitting.
- Add essential oils
To add your own fragrance. Orange gives a sweet citrus scent, eucalyptus adds a clean fresh scent, lavender gives a soothing earthy scent. Or try our natural laundry tonics in Clean Linen, Earth Spice, Sweet Orange, and Citrus Fresh .