What is a soap nut?
Soap nuts or soap berries come from the Sapindus mukorossi tree which grows wild in the Hazara district of Pakistan.
The SoapNut Tree’s botanic family includes 2,000 species, with the mukorossi providing the largest fruit, containing a high content of saponin.
This nut/berry synthesizes its own natural soapy lathers when mixed with water.
Once germinated, it takes nine years for the SoapNut tree to begin yielding fruit which can then be harvested for 90 odd years!
After you’ve made soap from your berries the remaining husks can be composted making this a really wonderful sustainable option for soaps and detergents!
There are a few options for using soap nuts.
You can pop them in a breathable drawstring bag straight in the washing machine drying after each use or Make hand soap, washing up liquid or laundry liquid.
So today I decided to use a recipe that includes washing soda. I opted for this over straight soap nuts because with Mr Hunter Gatherer working on farms and two little kids we have a lot of DIRTY laundry and I wanted the extra strength wash.
12 -15 whole soap nuts
4 litres water cups water
1 Table spoon Epson salt
1/4 cup washing soda
A few drops of essential oil if you want scent
In a large pot, add soap nuts and water. Bring to boil on medium heat and boil for 30 minutes.
Take off heat and allow to when it has cooled a bit, add the epsom salt and washing soda.
Stir to dissolve.
Remove the soap nuts and compost then add essential oils
Pour into bottles of choice and remember to shake before use.
Use 1/2 cup liquid per regular size load of laundry.