Soap Nuts

Discussion in 'General Homesteading & Building' started by Journey, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. Journey

    Journey Junior Member

    I am wondering if anyone on here uses soap nuts. If you do, what do you think of them? We're getting closer to the end of our big jug of Gain we got a year ago at Costco, and I'd like to get using something with less chemicals and still inexpensive. Apparently the soap nuts can be used not only for laundry but made into dish soap, shampoo and other cleaners which would be handy.

    There is a market around here where someone sells them. I haven't been, but I stumbled upon their website yesterday. They offer wholesale deals, the smallest deal of which is 5kg (up to 20kg or contact them for more). Their 250g bag does about 120 loads, so about 2400 loads with the 5 kilos. 5 kilos is $115.

    They are supposed to have an "endless" shelf-life, you just want to keep moisture out of them.

    It seems like a good deal for what we want. Anyone tried 'em?
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
  2. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    I haven't but some of the gals at Idigmygarden and Sufficient Self do and they love them.
    I just make my own with the baking soda, washing soda, borax and fels naphta soap... really cleans well and takes out the stink.

  3. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    What are soap nuts? :scratch: Never heard of those.

    Emerald, what's your measurements for making laundry soap with the above-listed ingredients?
  4. catsraven

    catsraven Meoww

    What are Soap Nuts?

    They are actually not nuts at all. They are berries (also known as Soap Berries) that grow on trees in India & Nepal. There are two main varieties: sapindus trifoliatus (The Small Soap Nut) and sapindus mukorossi (The Large Soap Nut). The Large Soap Berry is the most commonly used in cleaning, but both varieties are quite effective.

    Powdered Laundry Detergent

    1 cup grated Fels Naptha Soap

    1/2 cup washing soda

    1/2 cup 20 mule team borax

    Mix and store in airtight container or bag. For light or small loads, use 1 tablespoon. For normal loads, use 2 tablespoons. For heavy loads, use 3 tablespoons. Cost per load .15.

    one for liquid

    Liquid Laundry Detergent

    3 Pints Water

    1/3 bar Fels Naptha Soap, grated

    1/2 cup Washing Soda

    1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax

    2 Gallon bucket to mix it in

    1 Quart hot water Hot Water

    Mix Fels Naptha soap in a saucepan with 3 pints hot water and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. Add 1 Quart Hot Water to 2 gallon Bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill bucket completely with additional hot water, and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture thickens. You may add additional HOT water if the mixture becomes too thick. Mix Well before each use. Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011
  5. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    Wow, thanks, catsraven! I've copied & pasted the info so I can print it. Very useful.

    These soap nuts/berries, do stores sell them, or does a person order them? ...?

    I know the berries of the Wild Lilac in southern California contain saponins and can be used just as they are for soap. I've gathered and used them. I'm not aware of anything native to where we live in NW Montana that can be used for soap. :(
  6. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    My laundry soap is pretty much as Catsraven posted it.
    I just make a bigger batch tho.
    1/2 bar fels naphta soap grated finely
    2 cups washing soda
    2 cups baking soda(for stinky underarm odor remover)
    2 cups borax
    I bring the soap to a simmer with about one gallon of water(I have an old stock pot that is a soap only pot) once the soap is dissolved I add the powdered stuff stirring to dissolve them in. then I pour three more gallons of very hot water in to make a heavy duty 4 gallon batch..
    Now I do use a couple tablespoons of oxyclean(just the dollar store brand) for my whites once a month. got to stock up on that. The dollar store brand seems to work as well as the expensive one.
    Now if you don't like the smell of the fels you can use ivory or Irish springs or they have a few other soaps that are for laundry in different parts of the country like Zote . I also like Dr. Bronner peppermint soap but that is super expensive. you can also put a few drops of your favorite essential oils in too -I sometimes will put a few drops of lavender in when I do my sheets.
    A good fabric softener is just a couple shots of white vinegar in the rinse cycle. Once it drys you never smell it.

    For spot cleaning I have also taken just a bit of the homemade laundry soap and a toothbrush and rubbed it in the spots and then toss them into the laundry till laundry day.. works pretty well too... Oily stains do okay with dish soap too.
  7. Journey

    Journey Junior Member

    You can find the soap nuts on Lehman's for one. That's where I started then decided to look for who might sell them in Canada. Here's the link: Home Goods | Laundry | Washing | Laundry Soap Nuts -

    From what I have been reading I would want to turn them into a liquid soap to use with the front loading machines. A lot of people rave about them, and some don't like them (they don't get real sudsy) so I think the best thing to do is just give 'em a try and see how they work for us.

    I remember I stumbled across a site where someone was trying to see if they could grow some of the "soap nut" tees in the US but I think they had just started. They are native to Asia.

    We started using vinegar instead of Bounce sheets and it seems to work just fine as a softener and anti-static. I can't stand to be anywhere near the fabric softener sheets so I am so glad to have tried the vinegar.

    Thank you for the laundry soap recipes. I think I need to start getting a little notebook together with such things. I always end up having read something somewhere and never being able to find it again. :p
  8. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

    Live and learn ... :D

    (and well read ... lol)
  9. lhalfcent

    lhalfcent Supporting Member

    I make our own laundry soap with borax and fels naptha etc.
    Also for keeping down static cling and softening clothes I made wool balls that I ran through the wash so they felted real good and use those in the dryer. they bounce all over the clothes gently but also amazingly they don't cause static!
    been using the dryer wool balls for years now.
    Just either roll wool yarn into a tight ball or balls (i made four of them and use two for a regular load but for heavier items like blankets and such i use all four)
    after rolling the balls secure tightly and toss into hot wash a few times with other clothes. what I did was run a hot load and toss the balls in the washer then toss them in the dryer with the same load. did that until my wool balls were felted real good. Now i just keep them in a basket on the dryer to use only with the dryer.
    You can dampen them with a few drops of downy liquid if you want or use natural scents if you really like soft scented clothes.