Sunday, November 26, 2017

Using Soapnuts - Quick Reference Chart

Soapnuts are berries that grow on the Soap berry tree (Sapindus mukorossi/Sapindus delavayi/various other species). They contain Saponins which is a natural surfactant that helps in removing dirt and grime. Due to this nature, they make great Natural Cleaners.

Soapnuts are available easily. There are two types of Soapnuts that we get in India mainly – The South Indian variety which is small and wrinkly and the Himalayan variety which is bigger, rounder and more neater looking.
They are wet and clumpy when freshly harvested and become dry as they age. Usually, at shops, we get the dried ones.

Okay, so now let’s see how we can use the Soapnuts as an all purpose cleaner for all our household cleaning needs.


Method 1: Using them as As-is

  1. Take about 10-12 whole Soapnuts (can be deseeded or with seeds; this measurement is for 6-8 kgs of clothes)
  2. Put them inside an old sock and tie the mouth of the socks tightly such that no Soapnuts can escape
  3. Simple throw in this sock along with your wash load and run the machine on full soak cycle. Pls put it along with the clothes and not in the place provided for detergent. Its not a problem if the sock stays till the drying cycle is complete.
  4. Optionally, please add 100 ml of Bio Enzyme for disinfecting and softening the fabrics. Especially, when you have lot of whites, Bio Enzyme is good to include.
  5. After removing the clothes, remove the sock with the Soapnuts as well and keep it out to dry.
  6. You can use it for one more time before opening up the sock and discarding the used Soapnuts. The Soapnut peels can be thrown into your compost bin while you can save the seeds for making seed bombs or other activities or simply throw them into an empty plot.
  7. Please note that when using Soapnuts, you should not overload your machine. Also, when you have really dirty clothes, please pre-soak the Soapnut sock in hot/warm water for 15 minutes and then add the tea of Soapnut along with the Soapnut sock into the machine.
  8. You can also use the same method for soaking in a bucket and hand wash as well. But you may need to soak the Soapnuts in hot water for 15-30 mins and then put them in with the clothes.
We will see the Method 2 (Soapnut Liquid) in a separate blog.

Method 3 –Soapnut Paste

  1. Deseed the Soapnuts
  2. For 1 cup of Soapnuts, use about 2-3 glasses of water.
  3. Cook them for about 20-30 minutes. Alternatively, pressure cook for 2 whistles. Let cool.
  4. Grind it in a Mixie.
  5. Filter the fibers out, if any.
  6. Use the paste for washing vessels, cleaning grime and greasy surfaces. You can apply the paste, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, scrub and then clean (for greasy surfaces/chimney). For vessels, you can just use as you would a regular dish paste.

Method 4: Soapnut powder
  1. Buy Soapnut powder. Or if you intend to powder at home, use a strong grinder such as a coffee grinder or spice grinder
  2. Take about 2-3 spoons of Soapnut powder for about 6-8 kgs of laundry. Put the powder inside a thick cotton cloth/bag (NOT SOCKS) and tie the mouth tightly
  3. Simple throw in this sock along with your wash load and run the machine on full soak cycle. Pls put it along with the clothes and not in the place provided for detergent. Its not a problem if the sock stays till the drying cycle is complete.
  4. Optionally, please add 100 ml of Bio Enzyme for disinfecting and softening the fabrics. Especially, when you have lot of whites, Bio Enzyme is good to include.
  5. After removing the clothes, remove the sock with the Soapnuts and discard the Soapnut powder into your compost bin.
  6. Beware of the cloth bag coming apart and the powder spreading across all your clothes. Its extremely difficult to clean up.
  7. Also, the powder MAY dull your whites over time. If that happens, you can wash the Whites in hot water and Soapnuts.
  8. For Vessels/Chimney/Hair Wash, use the powder as-is or along with other cleaners.

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