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Soap Nuts (Soapnuts) - Nature's Natural Detergent

By Matt Johnson

What are Soap Nuts?

Soap Nuts are actually not nuts at all. They are berries (also known as Soap Berries) that grow on trees in India & Nepal. There are two main varieties of Soap Nuts: sapindus trifoliatus (The Small Soap Nut) and sapindus mukorossi (The Large Soap Nut). The Large Soap Nut is the most commonly used in cleaning (probably due to its size & ease of harvesting), but both varieties are quite effective.

How do Soap Nuts Work as a Detergent?

Soap Nuts contain large quantities of saponin in their shells, which acts as a natural, gentle detergent when it comes into contact with water. Without added chemicals, fragrances or dyes, Soap Nuts are safe and gentle for handwashing delicates, yet tough enough for regular laundry. They will leave your laundry soft, clean and fragrance free, without the use of fabric softeners.

Will Soap Nuts Clean Difficult Items?

Yes and No. Soap Nuts are one of the best detergents out there to get rid of bad odors. Musty towels and wash cloths, even cloth diapers, come out smelling fresh and new. When it comes to stubborn stains, though, such as blood & red wine, you will want to use a stain remover to help the cleaning process.

What About My Allergies to Soap?

Most allergic reactions to soap are due to added chemicals and fragrance. Soap Nuts are naturally grown and chemical free. When we began using soap nuts for our laundry detergent, the eczema which I had across my chest and belly cleared up and has been gone now for 6 months. Soap Nuts are 100% non-allergenic.

How do I use Soap Nuts in my Laundry?

For Laundry Detergent, you can use Soap Nuts one of two ways:

1. Toss 2 or 3 Soap Nuts in a small Muslim bag (provided with most Soap Nuts orders) and throw it in with your laundry. (Make sure that you take the soap nuts out before putting your clothes in the dryer). The nuts will do 3 or 4 loads.

2. Boil 100 g of Soap Nuts in 12 cups (3L) of water for 30 minutes. The liquid you have is now a concentrated, chemical free detergent. The leftover shells can be placed in your compost. Use 3 Tbsp or 45 ml of this detergent with each load of laundry. This allows you to do approximately 60 loads of laundry. Not bad for under $10!

Can Soap Nuts be used for More Than Just Laundry Detergent?

Yes. Soap Nuts can be used, in the liquid form, for cleaning just about anything. From dish washer soap, to window & glass cleaner, to repairing oily or dry hair, Soap Nuts are a multi-purpose cleaner. For more information on particular applications visit

The End Product Still Goes Down the Drain. Does That Hurt the Environment?

No. Soap nuts are antimicrobial. This means that they actually help in breaking down the grey water in the septic system. Also, you do not have to do a rinse cycle when you do your laundry with soap nuts. This can save gallons of water every wash cycle. Don't worry, though; if you forget to stop your machine before the rinse cycle the Soap Nuts are just as effective. The amount of saponin left in the rinse cycle will just leave your clothes feeling soft.

Soap Nuts are a Win-Win Situation

With great cleaning power, no harmful chemicals, & prices that rival any other detergents, Soap Nuts are one of the best cleaning agents you can buy.

For more information on Soap Nuts & pricing, visit

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