They’re really not a nut at all. They are a berry that is grown on a tree native to Himalayan regions of Nepal and India. This berry is generally referred to as the Soapberry because it produces a natural soap, called saponin. Saponin is a natural surfactant that foams when dissolved in water, removing dirt and odors from surfaces.
These Soapberries are normally wild-harvested from trees that have never been sprayed with any chemicals or pesticides – there’s no need because pests don’t like the taste of the fruit. Once harvested, the Soapberry is dried and de-seeded. They end up looking like a little brown nut – hence the name.
Since they don’t really belong to the nut family, they are absolutely safe to use around family members with nut allergies!
You will need:
Note: I should warn you that your house will smell a little odd while your soap nuts are boiling on the stove.
Like any other botanical water-based liquid, your soap nut liquid cleaner will go bad after a period of time. If keeping at room temperature, store in a small bottle that you can use up within a week or so. The refrigerated liquid will keep for a few months. If you make large batches, simply freeze portions of your concentrated cleaner to ensure freshness.
This liquid cleaner is perfect for HE washers because it produces very little suds, but works in any type of washer. This concentrate is great for ANY temperature wash cycle and is the preferred method when washing with cold water. (The whole nut works well in warm/hot water, but sometimes cold water won’t release the saponins needed to clean laundry.) Use 2-3 TBSP of your homemade concentrate for large loads of laundry. Your soap nut cleaner is free of chemicals or perfumes, so it’s perfect for cloth diapers or even hand washing delicates.
Add your soap nut cleaner to a squeezy bottle and use about 1 TBSP per sink of dishes or fill a dish wand with the liquid soap for hand washing dishes. They come out sparkling clean without any residue.