In researching how to reduce the amount of chemicals we used in our household, I came across soap berries. I was very intrigued as I had never heard of such a thing.
Soapberry also known as a soap nut is a fruit from sapindus tree. The best species is mukorossi which contains the most saponin that produces soaping effect. When contact in water, soapberry releases saponins, work as natural surfactant for water to break up dirt, grease, and grime. Soapberry has been used for thousands of years in China as detergent, cosmetic, and medicine. It is a natural alternative to chemical detergent and cleansers. It can replace many chemical detergents such as those containing sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS that are becoming well known by consumers for being a skin irritant and health hazard.
Sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS, is an additive that allows cleansing products to foam. According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, SLS is a “moderate hazard” that has been linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, skin irritation and endocrine disruption.
I was so happy when my adult son stopped by after having some fun with his friends by mudding in some jeeps! That was the PERFECT opportunity to try my soapberries. I must say I’ve been super impressed!
The Benefits of Soap Nuts
If you’re not yet convinced of their benefits or how to use soap nuts, the following information should answer some of your questions:
* Sustainable: It’s a renewable resource, easily grown organically.
* All Natural: No funky or harmful ingredients.
* Eco-Friendly: Less processing, less energy and less packaging.
* Affordable: They can replace multiple cleaners, and last longer.
* Reusable: Each berry can be used up to 6 times before it’s spent.
* Hypoallergenic: No skin or respiratory irritation and non-toxic.
* Not Actually Nuts: They’re totally safe for those with nut allergies.
* Simple: Throw them in your wash or make a simple liquid detergent.
* Odorless: But you can always add your own essential oils.
* Gentle: Their mild nature won’t damage delicate clothing or surfaces.
* No Fabric Softener: They naturally soften your fabrics!
* Save Water: They rinse easier so require less water.
* Save Energy: You can use a shorter rinse cycle in your laundry, too.
* Front-loading Friendly: No suds are perfect for HE machines.
* Works in Any Temperature: Use them in cold, warm or hot water.
* Non-polluting: 100% biodegradable and safe for graywater systems.
* Compostable: Used shells can be thrown in your compost.
* Self-sufficient: You can even grow a soap nut tree yourself!
* Countless Uses: Look below for a few ideas on how to use soap nuts in your own home.