Soapnuts are a natural, non-polluting, compostable, alternative to conventional laundry detergents and synthetic soaps. No fillers, foaming agents, bleach, phthalates, phosphates or parabens.
Soapnut fruits actually contain a natural soap called saponin, which is released when they come into contact with water. They help free dirt and grime from clothes and help carry it away. This is how all synthetic detergents work…
So how do Soapnuts work? Firstly, you need to add fragrance to your Soapnuts wash.
Soapnut shells are completely hypoallergenic and scent-free. They are also a natural softener, so no artificial fabric conditioner is needed. But to add a fragrance to your washing follow you will need to add your favourite essential oil.
You can add essential oils to your wash by adding a few drops onto the washbag before it goes into the washing machine with your laundry. Or you can add it directly to your homemade Soapnut laundry liquid (see below on how to make this). 10ml of essential oil is enough to scent 1 litre of homemade Soapnut laundry liquid.
How to use your Soapnuts purchase from One Little Company
Put 5 – 7 Soapnut shells/or equivalent half shells into the muslin washbag, tie bag securely. You can also use a bag clip to secure the washbag.
(Optional step) Place washbag into jar with warm water for 3 minutes. This helps to release the soap.
Load laundry into machine, place soaked washbag into drum of the washing machine with clothes. Wash clothes as directed by fabric care instructions.
Save used shells, as they can be reused up to FOUR more times.
Soapnuts and Travel
Soapnuts are phosphate free so they won’t pollute water systems, so they are great to take on camping trips or if you live on a boat!
How to make homemade Soapnut liquid
Put 15-20 shells/50g of Soapnuts into 2 litres of water and bring to the boil.
Switch off heat, cover and let the liquid cool down.
Once the liquid is cooled, strain the liquid into a jar or bottle and put the Soapnuts back in the pan. Your Homemade Soapnut Laundry Liquid should be stored in the fridge.
These boiled Soapnuts can be re-boiled up to 3 times with 2 litre each time. This should give you between 7- 8 litres of homemade Soapnut liquid.
How to use your homemade Soapnut liquid
Load laundry into machine. Pour ONE cup / 250ml of home-made Soapnut liquid into detergent drawer of washing machine and wash as directed. Use TWO cups for larger or dirtier wash loads.
No boil recipe: Alternatively, you can add 10 Soapnuts to a Kilner / plastic jar and 1 litre of hot tap water. Shake and leave to soak and when water turns brown the soap has been extracted. Use liquid as needed and when jar is empty replenish with hot water. You can keep doing this until no soap is present in the soap nuts.
Handwash: Pour 1 cup / 250ml of home-made Soapnut liquid into basin. Wash and rinse as usual.
Treating stubborn stains before your wash using Soapnuts
Prewash: Soak stubborn stains, greasy clothes and textiles overnight in bicarbonate of soda or soda crystals overnight, before washing normally. Use cold water as hot water will set stains. You can also Use our stain removing bar: Wet stain and bar then work bar into stained fabric. Treat both sides of the stain. Wash as directed.
During wash: Add 2 tablespoons of soda crystals in the powder drawer along with your Soapnut detergent (Soapnut shells, homemade or Soapnut liquid. For softer clothes, linens and towels add vinegar to the wash instead of fabric softener.
Disposing of your Soapnuts
The same washbag of Soapnuts can be re-used 3 – 4 times. Exhausted Soapnut shells start to break up in the bag. When Soapnuts reach this stage compost them. When the saponin/soap is completely exhausted from the Soapnuts, simply throw them in your garden to ward off slugs and snails or put it in your green recycling / bin or food waste. Soapnuts are 100% biodegradable and compostable.
And finally… Watering the garden with your washing machine water using Soapnuts
Soapnuts are totally organic and as stated earlier, a mild insecticide. It is safe, even beneficial to put your waste water from your washing machine on your garden. The residual soap/saponin in the grey water will ward of any insects. As a guide your washing machine uses about 50 litres (12 gallons!) of water per wash, which you can collect and save loads of money and the environment.