Soap Nuts, the Safe Detergent

From the Green Virgin Products  or GreenerLiving Store:


Soap nuts are an organic laundry detergent that have been used for hundreds of years.  They grow on the sapindus mukorossi tree in tropical climates. The most prominent areas that they are grown are in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains in India & Nepal.

With laundry detergent as their main use, organic soap nuts, also known as soap berries, are often boiled down into an all-purpose cleaner to clean just about anything. For instructions on how to make the liquid, visit

Like any product, there are varying qualities of soap nuts on the market. For our Greener Living Soap Nuts, we searched through many suppliers until we found the highest quality possible. We could have purchased lesser quality products at a cheaper price, but we wanted to provide you with the best ones available.

There are two main groups of people who love and promote soap nuts:

1. People who care about the environment are very interested in them. With no chemicals and all natural processing, they are the greenest detergent on the market.

2. People with sensitive skin are a huge advocate. Without a doubt, the biggest praisers of soap nuts are people with sensitive skin. Although we cannot make any claims for legal reasons, we can tell you that we have had numerous customers write to tell us how their skin conditions reduced greatly, or even cleared right up within a short time of using our products.

Soap nuts are also great for smelly clothes, musty towels, people with multiple chemical sensitivity, and many other things.

Start making a difference in your life and environment and buy some today.

See below to make liquid detergent out of soap nuts.


From Wikipedia:

Sapindus saponaria
Sapindus saponaria (Photo credit: Mauricio Mercadante)

The drupes (soapnuts) contain saponins which are a natural surfactant. They have been used for washing for thousands of years by native peoples in Asia as well as Native Americans.  Soapnuts are being considered and used for commercial use in cosmetics and detergents as well as many other products.

Soapnuts have historically been used in folk remedies as a mucolytic agentemeticcontraceptive, and for treatment of excessive salivation, epilepsy, and to treat chlorosis. While they do exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, the effectiveness of some of these folk-remedy treatments have not been subject to extensive scientific scrutiny. However, modern scientific medical research has investigated the use of soapnuts in treating migraines.

Investigation of the contraceptive capability of plant saponins have shown some spermicidal capacity for certain extracts. While the Sapindus saponins have not been proven be as effective as more commonly used spermicides it has been shown that they are less irritating than chemical alternatives.

Soapnuts, such as those of Sapindus mukorossi, are used in Ayurveda. They are a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic shampoos and cleansers. They are used in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment foreczemapsoriasis, and for removing freckles. Soapnuts have gentle insecticidal properties and are traditionally used for removing lice from the scalp. Soap nuts have become increasingly popular as a nontoxic laundry detergent.

Sapindus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) species including Endoclita malabaricus. Kernel extracts of soapnut disrupt the activity of enzymes of larvae & pupae and inhibits the growth of Aedes aegypti, a mosquito that spreads viral diseases.


How to Make Liquid Detergent Out of Soap Nuts:

Recipe I – Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of soap nuts (weight of soap nuts are about 2 ounces)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar (natural preservative)


  1. Measure and pour all ingredients into a large pot.
  2. Bring to a low boil and then reduce to a med-low heat to simmer with the *lid on* for 30 minutes.
  3. Stir and mash the nuts occasionally with a slotted spoon.
  4. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue to simmer at a low heat for 30 more minutes to remove excess water. Continue to stir occasionally.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat
  6. Strain the liquid into a clean glass bowl with a mesh strainer and let cool.
  7. Pour into a water tight jar or jug for storage.  Use glass; dark glass is preferable.

Yield:  About 2.5 cups of liquid which will we about 20 loads in a standard washing machine.  Yield may vary depending on heat settings and how much you use per load.

To Use:

Use two (2) tablespoons per regular load.  Pre-treat any soiled or tough spots.

To Storage:  

The shelf life of the liquid detergent is indefinite unless the batch was contaminated with mold or the like.

This laundry detergent should last you a while on the shelf but you won’t want to make up a year’s supply at once if you plan to store it that way.  If you want to create a larger batch of detergent, freezing is a great option. Wsing ice cube trays, you can store this indefinitely and simply pop out a cube each time you need to do a load of laundry. (For reference, an ice cube is generally two tablespoons.)


Recipe II – Ingredients:

  • 12 -15 whole soap nuts
  • 8 cups (2 quarts) water
  • 1 Tbsp table salt (to preserve liquid)
  • 1/4 cup Borax or washing soda (optional, used as a cleaning boost)
  • 15-20 drops of “Thieves” essential oil (some precaution may be necessary since the clove ingredient in “Thieves”may stain white clothes or certain fabrics)


  1. In a large pot, add the soap nuts and the water.
  2. Turn it on to medium high heat, and once it starts bubbling, let it boil for 30 minutes.
  3. When it has cooled a bit, add the salt and Borax or washing soda if using.
  4. Stir to dissolve.
  5. Remove the soap nuts and either compost, or use again for another batch of soap nuts laundry liquid.
  6. When it has cooled completely, add the Thieves essential oil.
  7. Pour into a recycled laundry detergent bottle or glass mason jar.
  8. Shake before use.
  9. Use 1/2 cup liquid per regular size load of laundry.


The “Thieves” blend serves as a disinfectant.

TIP:  Add 2 or 3 drops of Thieves essential oil on a damp washcloth or rag and throw into the dryer with your laundry. Your clothes will smell wonderful! You can also use a large sheet of tinfoil wadded up to help get rid of static.

To make a liquid concentrate for cleaning purposes, make the following recipe:

  • 12 – 15 whole soap nuts
  • 4 cups (1 quart) water
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. In a medium pot, add the soap nuts and the water.
  2. Over medium high heat, let it boil for 30 minutes.
  3. When it has cooled a bit, add the salt and stir to dissolve.




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From a Yellow Canary of the 21st century, living in our disabling biosphere

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