Soapnuts (Sapindus Mukorosse) are 100% natural and contain no chemical additives, which make them a great choice for anyone with sensitive skin. They work because their shell contains a substance called “saponins” which when added to water reacts like soap.
They will protect your coloured garments but as they contain no bleaching agents you may find, after repeated use, your whites may become greyish and will need a bleaching agent to put the whiteness back. I find Ecover laundry bleach great for this.
You will find them cheaper, saving at least 50% compared to normal detergent. There’s no need for fabric conditioner as garments remain remarkably soft saving you more money.
As soapnuts contain no perfume, you may prefer to add some essential oil such as Lavender, Tea Tree or any fragrance you like (if using on children or have sensitive skin please be aware some essential oils may not be suitable).
Once finished with, either add them to your compost or reuse when making the recipe below.
Add 6 to 7 half shells into the included small cotton bag and tie or use a sock and knot at the top. Then add the bag/sock to your washing machine drum. You will not need to add any other detergent.
As soapnuts have no fragrance you may wish to add a few drops of essential oil in to the bag/sock.
You can re-use the shells 2-3 times (maybe more) for best results do not allow to dry between washes. You will know they are used up as they will go blacker and soft.
There are many uses for soapnuts all made from this basic recipe:-
Fill a medium sized saucepan with some water. Add a handful of soapnut shells (used and unused) bring to the boil, cover and simmer for minimum of 30 minutes, then allow to cool till safe to handle and strain into appropriate container.
The liquid that is left can then be used for shampoo, all purpose cleaner, car wash, liquid soap, pet shampoo, washing up liquid and many other uses.
Why not experiment by changing the soapnut shell to water ratio to alter the concentration depending on its use and adding essential oil if appropriate, also a longer cooking time will make the liquid more concentrated.