What the devil are Soap nuts and why is everyone loving them?
Soap Nuts are a berry shell related to the lychee and they contain a cleaning agent that works like detergent. They grow on the Sapindus mukorossi (Soap Berry) tree in the Himalayas.
Each berry contains an agent called saponin. The Saponin works as a surfactant, which when agitated with water create a soap that penetrates the clothing in the washing machine.
It works exactly the same as any other laundry cleaner, lifting stains from the fabric, and leaving dirt suspended in the water that is rinsed away. It’s no different to normal washing liquids and powders but they have a chemical surfactant whereas these are totally natural and do not contain any foaming agents that make us feel that the clothes are being washed better.
The planet will thank you for using them
The bonus is that there is no plastic residue left behind from the capsules and no soap scum build up in your machine. However the most appealing prospect is that it has no impact on the environment. They are perfect for all skin types and especially for people with allergies or sensitive skin. They are actually berries from fruit and so not actually a nut either so no worries about nut allergies!
The nuts are taken from trees grown in the wild in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and are not grown with any fertilizers or pesticides.
What do you do with them?
It’s so simple; all you have to do is place 3-4 nuts into a muslin bag (usually provided when you buy them) and add a few drops of essential oils of your choice. This is because the soap nuts have no odour and so you will probably need or want to have a fresh smell at the end of your washing cycle although it’s a personal preference.
You place the muslin bag into the machine on top of the washing and put it on the usual wash cycling based on the fabrics you are washing.
The only thing I have noticed is that with white washing you will need to use a natural bleach to add to the wash in order to brighten the whites up as you would expect.
That’s it! Simple and effective and has no impact on the planet.