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zero waste

Zero-Waste Liquid Soap Nut Laundry Detergent

What if there was one naturally grown thing that could possibly clean everything? There is. It’s a thing called soap nuts, or sapindus, which are actually berries and are used for cleaning around the world. I usually hear about it being used as laundry soap so that’s the first thing I tried out. I boiled 6 cups of water in my electric kettle and poured it over 12 soap nuts to simmer in a sauce pan until it reduced to 4 cups. To try to get the most soap (saponin) out of the nuts I tried to mash them up during the simmering. Then I strained out the nuts and bottled the liquid soap in a glass jar. A 1/4 cup should wash a load of laundry. My clothes seem very clean from the liquid. Some people freeze their liquid in ice-cube trays because it can spoil quickly.

Then I tried to make some shaving cream in my Magic Bullet. I found the recipe here. I made it with the flesh of 12 soap nuts (from after making the liquid), just under 1 tbsp of olive oil and just under 3 tsp’s of soap nut liquid. First I put the flesh (make sure any hard nuts are removed first) into my Magic Bullet. Then I added the oil and soap. It really foamed up! Then I tested them personally and here is my conclusion… if you want to try this don’t use a Magic Bullet. Use a food processor like Crunchy Betty suggests. I still had a bunch of bits and pieces not ground up. They got stuck in my razor so I gave up. Then I tried it as a scrub. Wonderful! I even used it as a 5 minute mask. Be careful if you do that one. Some websites say if you get it in your eyes it can sting. The smell wasn’t that great either so you could add a face friendly essential oil to mask the scent. My face and body feel great though.

It’s amazing that these little nuts create such bubbles.

It makes me want to clean my house! I might not permanently switch to soap nuts but I will give it a real chance.

Is this a little too hippie? Be honest.


“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. ~Confucius


About stephanieough

Wife, mom, concerned citizen of the earth. Striving towards intentional living rather than blindly following. Former Education Specialist for a corporation, I have now taken a step back to spend time with my family and work closer to home. Hoping to reduce our waste through refusing, reducing and reusing so that we will not have to recycle as much. Also, I love to explore zero-waste fast food and take pictures of my sucesses. I'm a fan of British comedies like Red Dwarf and Black Adder, Kevin Smith and his movies, Asian food, documentaries, biographies and going to Las Vegas on vacation. If someone told me I could only listen to the Beatles for the rest of my life I would die happy.


4 thoughts on “Zero-Waste Liquid Soap Nut Laundry Detergent

  1. Cool! I just heard about soap nuts recently, haven’t tried to find them yet. I read somewhere that you can grind the shells after you’ve boiled them for your laundry soap – and use them in the dishwasher. Not sure if it’s true, though.

    Posted by lightlycrunchy | May 22, 2012, 3:15 am
  2. Okay, I am so trying these. I just have to make the trip over to The Soap Dispensary to get some soap nuts! I was researching a zero waste laundry soap, and this will fit the bill!

    Posted by Erin | May 23, 2012, 7:11 pm

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