Soap Nuts: Soap Grows On Trees?

I had never heard of soap nuts until recently, but this is simply nuts!

Nature has provided us with a natural soap alternative to chemical soap and detergents. We know them as Soap Nuts and that means, soap grows on trees.

Although they are called soap, there isn't any lye in them and they are not technically soap. These nuts are actually berries. They grow on a tree known as the Sapindus Mukorossi in the foothills of the Himalayas. Chinese Soapberry and India Washnut are names they are also known as.

Soap Nut Source

Mountains of Nepal in the Himalayas

After harvest, the seed is removed from the berry and it becomes a soap nut. The soap nut contains the compound of saponin which has natural cleansing properties, and therefore the soap nut can be used as a cleanser for hair, skin, and clothing for just a start.

The greatest benefit of all is that the source of these jewels is completely renewable. After approximately 9 years of growth, a Sapindus Mukorossi tree can be harvested every 6 months for 90 years. This helps with greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

That is an insane amount of soap nuts!

A bunch of soap nuts.

It is completely biodegradable as well. Once the nuts begin to break down, they can simply be tossed into the compost. That is a huge win for our planet.

Now, most know you cannot measure a good soap by its lather. While lather is a major plus to soap, it isn't the lather that cleanses. These nuts have a low lather that makes them ideal for high-efficiency washing machines. Standard washers will also work.

All of this is great for the person with sensitive skin too. These are hypoallergenic and perfect for that allergy sufferer that can't do harsh chemical and detergent filled commercial cleansers.

 

ARE THERE ANY CONS TO SOAP NUTS THAT GROW ON TREES?

From what I have found, there are a few but I will let you weigh them out.

First off, you have to operate your washer with fewer clothes. That means no more overpacking that machine. I know we all do it. I AM GUILTY TOO! Since the soap is milder, fewer clothes at a time help to cleanse better. But a plus is there are claims that these nuts also act as a natural fabric softener. (No it won't stop static. Turn down your dryer's temperature for that because high heat causes static.)

Next, it will not clean heavily soiled clothes well. However, once again there is a solution for that. Make an infusion of soap nuts and water. To do this take 5 nuts and soak in 8 ounces hot water for 10 minutes. Remove the soap nuts and pour this infusion into the wash with the usual muslin bag of soap nuts. Problem solved.

Lastly, soap nuts will not work well for heavy oil stains. Pre-treatment with a stain remover product prior to washing cloth with soap nuts is required.

I also use wool balls in the dryer to help soften and reduce static.

It is plain to see that these crazy nut's benefit outweighs their cons. Who would have ever thought that nature made soap and of course with her humor, they are called nuts? That makes me laugh every time.

Now that we know soap indeed grows on trees, it is time to go find that money tree.

Soap Nuts Money Tree

The rare money tree. Location UNKNOWN

Grab a bag of soap nuts on our site (coming soon) and get a nut bag with each purchase, to use in the wash. (Yes, I said nut bag...oops)

Once again, Scrub Butter is making bath-time fun again. I mean laundry.

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