How to Use Soapnuts…

I use soapnuts and love them, they come in a cloth bag (no plastic!) and work really well and are non-toxic.

There are a ton of amazing things about soap nuts.

They are 100%, totally natural. They are organically grown and are free of harsh chemicals, so they are incredibly gentle on clothes AND skin. They are especially great for those with sensitive skin — including babies and those that suffer from allergies, eczema, and psoriasis! They’re totally biodegradable, so they’re better for the environment than regular detergent, and they’re antimicrobial, so they’re even good for septic and greywater systems

From Fake Plastic Fish;


Have you ever done your laundry with soapnuts or been curious to find out how they work? Soapnuts grow on a tree called Sapindus mukorossi (Chinese Soapberry) and contain saponin, a natural surfactant which foams just like soap. I’ve wanted to try soapnuts since I first spotted them in a natural grocery store a couple of years ago but have always been deterred by the plastic in the packaging. Although they are imported, the idea of using a laundry soap that contains only one, minimally-processed natural ingredient (the soapnuts are harvested, de-seeded, and sun-dried) appealed to me.

soapnuts 1 Soapnuts only release their saponin in warm or hot water. I wash in cold to save energy. But never fear, there is an easy solution. Mix up a batch of Soapnuts Soak by bringing a pot of water to a boil, removing it from the heat, tossing in 6-8 soapnuts, and letting them sit covered over night. In the morning, strain into a couple of glass jars. The used soapnuts can go in the compost. Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup per laundry load.

lullwater soapnuts

By the way, I’ve noticed that another major distributor of soapnuts is now selling a liquid version in plastic bottles. Look how easy it is to make without the plastic. Easy as boiling water. Of course, if you’re like me and forget about pots on the stove, this procedure might not be as easy as it is for most. Still, I can deal. Because one batch of Soapnut Soak will do at least 8 loads of laundry. You can also use it for cleaning, windows, soaking jewelry and then polishing. 

So, after adding the Soapnut Soak to my cold water load of light colors, and watching in amazement at the amount of foamy bubbles produced, I felt compelled to sniff every item as it came out of the washing machine. And you know what? They just smelled clean. Fresh. That’s the only way I can describe the scent. It was nothing like the smell of the soapnuts.

Some people prefer to add scent to their laundry, and to that end, you can add a few drops of essential oils. For me, the oils were completely unnecessary. I like my clean to smell like clean.

7 Comments on “How to Use Soapnuts…”

  1. christina says:

    I wondered how much water you’re using to boil the soapnuts to create the ‘soap nut tea’ for laundering? I definitely want to try this!


  2. Steph says:

    I found this post through your comment on Re-Nest. Now that I know that I can use soap nuts with cold water I’m going to order a bag. I’ve been interested in soap nuts since I hears of them 5 years ago but I didn’t want to switch to hot water laundry. Thank a lot for the tip.


  3. Soap Nuts says:

    I love soap nuts and would never go back to using chemical filled detergents.


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