Archive for ways to use soap nuts

Soap Nuts

Posted in Fruits of our labor with tags , , , , on December 8, 2010 by PickMeYard

A friend of mine  told me how wonderful her hair would feel after she washed it when she was a child in India.  She explained to me that her entire family would wash everything, including their bodies, hair, clothes and house with one thing… soap nuts.  I practically jumped out of my chair as she described them.  Why have I never heard of them?  They sound so incredible and I’ve never even heard of them.

I don’t like the crazy ingredients that are in modern shampoos, but I sure like the way they make my hair feel.  Natural shampoos strip my hair color and make it feel like straw.  It’s a terrible feeling to me.  However, it doesn’t stop me from always trying the latest shampoo that doesn’t use the endless list of chemicals.  I was really hoping that soap nuts (Sapindus) were the shampoo I’ve been waiting for all my life.

Turns out, soap nuts can be used to wash our faces, bodies, hair and especially clothing.  They can be used in modern washing machines.  All this without a single weird chemical or additives of any kind.  It seemed too good to be true.  I ordered some.  Okay, I ordered a lot.  I had a good feeling about them.

A bag of soap nuts from Greener Living.

The back of the soap nut bag.

I’ve been using them  for a while now.  They don’t work well on my hair.  They turn my hair into the horrible straw hair that I dislike.  However, I have permanently damaged, fine hair.  If I had thick, uncolored and undamaged hair, it might be a different story.  I didn’t love them as a skin detergent either… too drying.  I really like the way they smell though.  Although, I’ve read their aroma is offensive to some.  I don’t understand that.   

The easiest way to use soap nuts is to tie them in a bag.

A handful of soap nuts.

They hit the sweet spot with our laundry.  To be honest, I didn’t use them on my clothing for a long time.  I felt unsure about using them in the washing machine even though I’d read it was perfectly fine.  It took being out of  laundry detergent for me to give them a try.  I’m so glad I did.   Our clothes feel so clean and strangely soft.  I didn’t think they would work well on my husband’s dirty work clothes, but they proved me wrong.  For another perspective on soap nuts in the laundry, click here.

I wish we were tropical enough to grow one of these trees.  They’re actually a fruit even though they’re called nuts.  You’ve got to admit they’re pretty cool.

A close-up.

Inside a soap nut.

Come grow with us!