This article, entitled Cleaning With Fruit: Let’s Talk Soap Berries (or Soap Nuts) comes from Amanda Hearn at The Eco-Friendly Family.
Ahh, Sapindus Mukorossi… or soap nuts… or soap berries… Wait! Which is it?
In America we like to call these super soap-packed fruits “nuts” because well, they look a lot like nuts – and a popular brand is "Eco Nuts". These are actually a berry – or if you want to get technical – a drupe, a fruit that has an outer fleshy part that surrounds a pit, like mangoes, cherries, peaches or plums. Have no fear, high end soap nuts (like Eco Nuts) do not include the pit, so you aren’t paying for that extra weight. We’re just going to go ahead and call them soap berries for the rest of this post just to drive home that they are indeed allergen safe and not a nut.
Bottom line: these are not nuts and they are completely safe for those with nut allergies.
Okay, so what exactly do they do and how do they do it?
Soap berries are a very special little fruit. They naturally produce high concentrations of a soap called saponin. They are great for cleaning and because of their high soponin levels these berries taste awful to bugs, so they are naturally organic as a result! They are great for cleaning and are gentle on both clothes and skin, making them ideal for those with sensitive skin. Because they are so gentle, and completely natural, they are perfect safe for both septic tanks and grey water systems.
Soap berries are ideal for laundry. Unlike chemical detergents, which can be hard on fabrics, soap berries clean gently and effectively. To wash with soap berries you simply place 4-5 berries into a little bag (to keep them contained) and drop it into the washer. When wet and agitating in the wash, these little berries will begin to release small amounts of soap – this natural soap actually acts as both a cleaner and natural fabric softener. Because this soap is so pure and simple, it won’t leave residues on your clothes and you don’t have to worry about it going through the rinse cycle – it’s perfectly okay!
I personally love Eco Nuts. They have a proprietary sorting and sterilization process that ensures both the highest quality berries and a product that is free from organic, but harmful, contaminants that may be left from being in the wild. Just as I wouldn’t eat an organic apple without cleaning it, I’m happy to know that this company takes this extra step to ensure that the product that reaches my home is completely safe!
While great for laundry, soap berries can do so much more than that. The soap can be mixed into household cleaners easily. Try these recipes to get you started!
Simple Soap Berry All-Purpose Cleaner Recipe
Grab and old spray bottle, combined the ingredients and give it a shake. This mix is a gentle, but effective, all purpose cleaner!
Soap Berry Natural Pest Control
Mix these ingredients into a clean spray bottle, give it a shake and then spray onto your plant. Be sure not to do this when the sun is shining on a hot day, and it’s best to do when it won’t be raining for a while since this will wash away.
Want to know more? Head over to the Eco Nuts “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Soap Nuts” page.
For more information and great stories like this one please visit The Eco-Friendly Family