DIY Soapnut Detergent

Have you used soapnuts so far? They are very versatile, you can wash your clothes with them, shower or wash your hair to name a few purposes. I like to have soapnuts at home, just in case. Once in a while I make a fluid soapnut cleanser and washing detergent.

DIY Soapnut Detergent
DIY Soapnut Detergent

I take 50 soapnut shells and cover them with 350 ml boiling water. I let them soak for half an hour and pour the liquid in a 1.5 litre container. Now I pour another 350 ml very hot water over the soapnuts, this time I use a blender to mix the soapnuts into the water. This will foam a lot! After another half an hour I pour liquid and foam into the container. After that I will soak the soapnut fibres in boiling water twice, 350 ml at a time.

After two hours you have nearly one and a half litre of soapnut fluid. Filter the fluid through a cotton cloth to hold back fine residue. Fill up to 1.5 litre with water.

Voilà, here you have your soapnut cleanser. You can wash your hair with it or take a shower, use it as hand soap or wash your dishes. Store it cool and use up within a week.

To make it a more powerful detergent for washing clothes, I add a tablespoon of baking soda and some essential orange oil (like 5 ml) to the fluid. Shake well to blend everything together, and also shake gently before every use. I take 150 ml for a single use, so the 1.5 litre last for about 10 machines.

Why do I take the time to boil and mix the soapnuts?
Hereby I use heat (boiling water) and physical power as well as soaking time to get the saponins out of the nut shells and into the fluid. This makes the detergency more powerful! In this way I do not have to use high temperature for the washing and can take a shorter and more gentle washing programme to get my clothes clean.


How do you use soapnuts? Do you have other alternatives to common cleansers and detergents?