When I first saw these little round hard nuts in a basket I had no clue what I was looking at.
Reading the information card next to them was an eye opener because although they might be called “soap nuts” they are actually the dried fruit of the Sapindus Mukorossi tree which is found in the Himalayas.
Apparently these fruits/soap nuts are an excellent cleaning product, since they are natural, organic, biodegradable (in that they can be composted after use) and have the added bonus of having antibacterial properties.
Wow, talk about nature’s basket of tricks and wonders!
A little further research tells me that using these nuts in your washing machine will get your clothes clean, using them in your dishwasher will get your dishes clean and there are even on-line recommendations for use as shampoo and as a general household cleaning product.
The one thing to get used to is that this stuff doesn’t produce all the bubbles and lather that we are all familiar with our modern cleansing products, but that’s more of an advertising tactic in synthetic compound formulations to convince consumers that the product is “working”. Therefore a little patience to get used to seeing less bubbles and change of mind-set is needed on the part of new Soap Nut users.
I also read that the nuts can be used as is, a few at a time out of the bag and then composted, or a bulk amount can be boiled down to make a concentrated liquid that you could then use as you would other washing liquids.
Your soap nut liquid can then be diluted for use as shampoo or left concentrated if you want to use it as a household cleaner and then perfumed as/if you wish with the addition of essential oils.
Another thing that really interests me are soap nuts anti-insecticidal properties: apparently the soap from Soap Nuts repels mosquitoes and other insects. (I love this if it works, because both Kiwi Daughter and myself are allergic to mosquitoes).
Since both Himself and my families were unwillingly genetically well-endowed with a long list of allergies, I’m also delighted to see that Soap nuts appear to be excellent for people with allergies, sensitive skin issues or skin diseases such as dermatitis or eczema,
I’ve long since given up trying beautifully perfumed soaps and entire commercial ranges of cosmetics because after trying a tester (or a product if it happened to be a gift) I’ve often been left with bright red, blotchy, irritated and painfully itchy skin.
Whilst commercial ranges of cosmetics available for those of us with allergies and eczema have grown amazingly in recent decades I still especially struggle with laundry powders, especially when we are away from home and the product used is beyond my control.
I know that it’s not realistic for us to try and bring Soap Nuts back to the Netherlands in our already bulging suitcases, but I will add them to my list of things to find back in The Netherlands and give them a go for myself. We are however on our way to visit a friend who I know is really into organic products and trying to live a healthier, greener lifestyle so we pick up a bag of Soap Nuts as a gift for her, along with some other natural soaps here in the holistic shop.
Isn’t it amazing the wonders that Mother Nature serves up? … not only in the big and powerful as in the geothermal area we are staying in but also packing an organic clean punch in little round, soapy packages, that quite literally grow on trees.