In my quest for finding useful eco-friendly and cost effective products to use in my home I came across the wonder that is Soapnuts. I had a small sample some time back when they were launched here by Fancypants Products www.fancypantsproducts.co.za but in all honestly I only tried them in a few wash loads and didn’t commit to finding out all their potential uses, and there are many. I was recently lucky enough to be blessed with an entire 500g bag of Soap nuts by somebody, to do with as I so wished and decided to give this second try a little more thought. I did what I do best and contacted my friend Google. What popped onto my screen were far many more household uses than I could have ever dreamed. From laundry to hair washing and compost. Fascinating!
So what are Soap Nuts?
Abstract taken from the Fancypants Products website.
“A soapnut is a 100% bio-degradable, all natural berry that is an antibacterial and mild foaming cleanser containing high levels of saponins. Soapnuts are not actually nuts at all – they are berries. Soapnuts are highly effective as a laundering agent and do not contain any chemicals. These natural wonders allow you to wash your nappies without using substances that are harmful to babies or to the environment.
So here is what you need to get started.
15 Soap nuts
6 cups of water plus 3 more while boiling
Essential oils of your choice
A large pot
Colander or strainer
A spray canister
And a sterile lidded glass container.
first place the nuts into the pot with 6 cups of water and bring to the boil. Boil for 20 minutes all the while squishing the nuts with a spoon to release the sapponians into the liquid.
After boiling for 20 mins add another cup of water and let boil for a further 10 mins and squish the nuts some more. After 10 mins add an extra 2 cups of water and continue to boil for another 10 mins. You should notice the Soapnuts have or are starting to lose some of their colour and this is a good indication of your liquid being ready.
One you are finished with the boiling process you can strain your liquid into a suitable bowl or container to cool down.
I poured it into this dish and left it to cool. Once it had cooled I added about 5 drops of 2 different essential oils into the liquid. It is totally up to you what blend of oils you would like to use (I used Rosemary and Clove due to their disinfectant properties) or even if you would like to use any oils at all. I find the Liquid in it’s natural state as a pleasant but “Raw” smell which I didn’t like and the oils helped.
Next it was time to decant it into it’s storage containers. I used a Large Glass sealable container but you could use any glass jar with a lid. I also decanted some into a spray canister for easy cleaning around the house.
Once I had done all this I put the glass jar and spray canister’s into the fridge to store but not before I used them to test.
So what did I do with my first batch of Soap Nut liquid?
The spray canister is used to clean kitchen counters, stove tops, Microwaves and even the Tiled Floor with a Mop. It is also used in the Bathroom and I found it rather effective in the Toilet Bowl too. It also has other uses but these are just a few. I suggest you do as I did and google all it’s many uses.
with the Liquid I stored in the large container I decided to use as a Laundry liquid instead of throwing the nuts in their little bag into the machine. I added 1 Cup of Liquid to 1 Medium Load of Pre-rinsed super stinky Diapers that had been in the bucket for a while. In my opinion this cleaned the diapers a lot better than using the nuts in their natural state in the provided bag and I will certainly be doing this from now on. The diapers smelled very good after and were rid of most of the staining. ( From this batch of liquid I should get about 6 washes loads done).
I believe the liquid can be used instead of a body wash and hair shampoo too but I am yet to try that. It is apparently quite beneficial to those suffering with skin allergies as it is 100% Natural/soap free and Organic.
So as you can see one batch of Soap Nut Liquid could potentially eliminate the need for most other cleaning agents in your home. It seems to be particularly good at cutting through grease as well which makes me happy as it means I do not need to buy anything commercial to clean my stove top with.
According to the instructions on the packet using the soap nuts as is in the little bag provided (Re-use the same few nuts up to 5 washes) Should yield around 100 laundry washes from a 500g bag. making liquid however would use your nuts up faster as you use 15 nuts per batch and then it’s ready to be turfed into the garden so it’s only single use.
And the left over boiled nut shells?
Well, these apparently make a very good compost and so I threw them into my Garden. There is also the possibility of using the Grey water from your washing machine into your garden as the dirty water after using the Soap nuts is very safe to send into your garden thereby further saving you water and therefore more money as well as our precious scant natural resource.
Well as you can tell I am quite impressed with these powerful little “berries” and and will certainly buy them again when the time comes.
You can buy your very own bag of Soap Nuts here for just R75 per 500g bag.http://www.fancypantsproducts.co.za/index.php?comp=product&op=view&id=2
*This is not a review, it is a tutorial on how to make Soap Nut liquid. I have not been paid to write this blog post. These are all my own experiences and do not reflect the opinion of Fancypants products.