Soap nuts are found in both the eastern and western hemispheres, but are native to India and Nepal. They have recently become a popular environmentally friendly alternative to chemical detergent, and are a gentle option for those with allergies to chemicals in regular detergents. They have traditionally been used as an expectorant, and in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for eczema and psoriasis. Soap nuts contain saponin, a natural detergent. The soap nut shell absorbs water and releases the saponins which circulate as a natural surfactant in the wash water, freeing dirt, grime, and oils from clothing. Mountain Rose Herbs
Soap Nuts come in paper packaging and do not include a wash bag unless requested (no extra cost but there are limited available).
Available in sample size (30g)
Clothes washing: Put 4-6 Soap Nuts in a muslin bag (or you can make one out of fabric scraps) and place in washer. Wash as usual with cold, warm or hot water. After washing, remove bag and let dry. Dry clothes as usual. Soap Nuts may be re-used several times until the shells start to become soft and grey, and then they should be composted.
Dish Washing: Put 10 Soap Nuts in a pot with 1 cup water. Bring to the boil and then cover and reduce to simmer for 1 hour. Let cool and transfer to sealed container. Use as you would dish liquid.
There are numerous other recipes available online too. Please be aware that once boiled into a liquid, this does not keep for long so aim for 2 weeks max per batch.