As unlikely as it sounds, the major environmental problem of laundry soap can be easily solved with this , easily grown, economical, reusable but ugly berry. In India, these berries are called Reetha and are used to wash clothes, people and hair. I sell a hair product called No-Poo Shampoo as an herbal powder using soap nuts (Reetha) that is gentler than using just the berries alone. When the berries dry, they are more like hard nuts.
If you are curious about how to clean your clothing naturally, I sell a small bag to get you started on your path to fixing the world. These hard soap berries are naturally high in saponins and can be reused about 5 times. The gently clean your clothes by breaking the water tension and lifting dirt out of mildly dirty clothes.
How to Wash Laundry with Soap Nuts
The bag I sell has 3 oz of soap nuts to a bag which should be good for approximately 30 small loads of laundry.
All you need to do is pop about .5 oz of these little berries in a sock or muslin bag and secure opening by tying up (or use a rubber band) and throw in laundry. You will know when the soap nuts are spent when they lose their color.
Liquid Soap Nut “Detergent”
Or you can boil the soap nuts and make a liquid detergent but it isn’t necessary for average washing machines. Store any liquid in the fridge or freezer. Make 5 loads at once using 1/2 an oz of soap berries (2.5 tablespoons) to about 6 cups of water. Boil for at least 20 minutes or longer. Strain. Use a cup per load of laundry. This solution can also be used as a cleanser. It does wash hair as well but it is stronger than one would expect a natural detergent to be and will be fairly drying (keep out of eyes).
Ratio is about 1/2 an oz of crumbled soap berries (mine are crumbled) or 5 whole soap berries for 5 loads of laundry. Mine do not come with seeds but if you purchase them with seeds, keep in mind, the seeds can stain if left touching laundry.
1/2 an oz works out to be 2.5 generous tablespoons if the pieces are fairly small. Use more if the pieces of soap nuts are larger.
Soap Nuts Allow Use of Grey Water in Garden
A personal study done and published for the CALIFORNIA SCIENCE & ENGINEERING FAIR showed the impact over three years of using grey water from laundry that used only soap nuts:
After the three year study, I now conclude that soapnut greywater does not significantly affect the environment, and can be used for irrigating landscapes and vegetables. In addition, Soap nuts are affordable and cheaper than organic laundry detergents which makes them an ideal solution in drought stricken areas of the world including California and Cape Town.
Organic Soap Nuts or Soap Berries (Reetha)
Perfect for people who:
- want to recycle their laundry water directly into their garden.
- Have sensitive skin
- Are allergic to detergent
- Concerned with detergent pollution
Great for Cleaning Laundry
- Children’s Clothes
- Sensitive Skin
- Baby Clothes
- Wool and Silk
Soap Nut Tea
- Non-polluting all-around soap.
- Hiking and Camping
- Washing Your Dog
- Washing delicates by hand
- Washing Hair
- Cleaning Dishes
Anonymous (verified owner) –