When using SOAP NUTS in your laundry, please make sure you keep the following things in mind: what type of water you have (hard or soft); the size of your washing machine and the load you are washing; how dirty the items are that you’re washing; and the temperature at which you are washing.
Experimentation will be key to finding the best use for your soap nuts. An average load may need 3-4 shells (or equivalent in pieces), a larger and dirtier load may require 5-8 shells and smaller loads may only need 2-3. Harder water may require more. We have included a cotton bag to be used for doing laundry with the soap. Otherwise you may use something you already have like the toe of tights or stockings, a bandana or maybe you can sew one out of an old t-shirt, rag or piece of cloth.
Just put your shells in your pouch, tie it shut, and drop it in the washing machine with your dirty laundry. You will not need to add any other detergent. SOAP NUTS wash most effectively between 30-60oC (86-140oF) and will last an average of 4-5 washes. When the Saponin has been exhausted from the shells for laundry use, they will look dark/grey and feel soggy. At this point, you can safely throw them on your compost heap or put them aside for making a mild soap nut liquid (see below). They also make a great hand soap - just toss them in your blender with some water and you get hand soap.
Doing laundry with soap nuts leaves your clothes incredibly soft, without the need for fabric softeners or conditioners, so no need to use fabric softener anymore. However, it doesn’t leave your laundry with much scent, so if you prefer laundry with a scent, you can add a few drops of essential oils to the wash, to your soap nut pouch, or to your dryer balls when drying.
SOAP NUTS are highly effective and gentle at the same time. It will leave your laundry fresh and clean and compared to other detergents, its mildness will keep colors bright, and maintain the fabric structure of your clothes for longer periods. It can be used on all fabrics including delicates like silk, cashmere and wool. SOAP NUTS are all natural, hypoallergenic, biodegradable, ecological, and economical!
If you prefer SOAP NUTS liquid use approximately 3 Tablespoons (or 45ml) per laundry load:
Making Soap Nut Liquid: SOAP NUT LIQUID (or juice) - Add about 100g (about 2 handfuls) of Soap Nut Shells to approximately 12 cups (3L) of water. Crush the shells into smaller pieces before adding. Bring to boil, and simmer for approximately 30 minutes. The boiling process extracts the saponin from the nut shells and combines with the water. You can use the liquid immediately or let it steep overnight. Strain into appropriate container and compost the remaining shells. You now have a concentrated, chemical free detergent that can then be used as a laundry detergent, shampoo, all-purpose cleaner, car wash, liquid soap, pet shampoo, dishwashing liquid or any other things you would normally clean with a liquid soap. Experiment with longer boil times and water-to-shell ratios for stronger and weaker concentrations.
DISH WASHER: Use soapnut liquid for washing your glasses, dishes, cutlery and pans as usual. Don’t be deceived by the lack of bubbles on the effectiveness of the cleaning. There are no artificial foaming agents so there will be very few if any lasting bubbles. Alternatively, just put 3 shells in the bottom of the cutlery holder and some vinegar in the rinse aid dispenser and your dishes will come out sparkling clean. (for more info see soapnut liquid making instructions below)
CLEANING & DETOXIFYING FOOD: Soak your fruit and vegetables for approximately 10-15 minutes in the soapnut liquid. Rinse off and enjoy this food free from harmful chemicals and residue. This soap nut solution can then be reused for household cleaning
CLEANING JEWELRY: Soap nuts are commonly used in Indian households for cleaning and shining jewelry. Jewelry is soaked in soap nut liquid and then rubbed with a cloth to give it a shine.
NATURAL PESTICIDE: Using soap nuts is an effective and natural alternative to repel insects off your plants and around the house. This easily replaces chemicals. This is a great use for left over soap nut liquid from washing or laundry.
SHAMPOO: Simply use soap nut liquid in place of your regular shampoo! Since soapnut liquid does not foam like regular shampoo its easy to use to much liquid. If you find your hair is feeling dry or greasy you probably used to much. For best results reuse a shampoo bottle with a pump to help determine how much you need. It will naturally help prevent dandruff and keep your hair soft and strong. When using to treat dandruff apply the liquid soap nut on your scalp and leave on for 5-10 minutes. Make sure the liquid does not get into the eye as it will burn. Rinse hair with water. Also works well as a body wash!
Storing Soap Nuts: Soap nuts absorb moisture very easily. They become dark & sticky in a very short period of time if left exposed to air. Ideally the nuts should be packed in an airtight container or a plastic bag tied tight with a rubber band. However, sticky soap nuts do not mean that they have gone bad. They will still wash & clean perfectly. Soap nut powder, however, if not stored perfectly in air tight conditions, will become lumpy very easily. Once in lump form, the powder is difficult to use, even though it still retains all its original washing properties.