What are soap nuts?

Thinking about how you can reduce your carbon footprint in the New Year?


Soap nuts are a fabulous and sustainable natural resource that cleans your clothes without chemicals. Even better, they can be composted for the garden when you have finished with them and are even inexpensive to buy.


Grey water produced after a load of washing with soap nuts is gentle on the garden and completely harmless allowing you to recycle water too.


Soap nuts grow in Pakistan and India and are actually sun-dried berries. When placed in water and shaken they release saponins which have soap like effect. The water becomes sudsy and cleans!


They are good for the frugally minded too as once they have been used for 4-6 loads of washing they can then be boiled with water to produce a liquid soap concentrate. This concentrate can be used as a general purpose household cleaner, body wash or even shampoo. Essential oils can of course be added to create your own favourite scented products.


The cost of a load of washing done with soap nuts equates to about 10 cents per load. The cost to the environment is almost zero as the fruit is harvested from trees that supply the berries for over 90 years. There are no chemicals involved which is also good for the environment (and you) and once you have exhausted all of their cleaning possibilities they can be composted in the garden.


Try not to look too smug when someone complains about the cost of their latest grocery bill….


By Fiona Joiner

Natasa Zaric