What are Soap Nuts? | How to Make Shampoo from Soapberries

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For the past 18 months, I have not washed my hair with “normal” shampoo and rarely use any products on my hair. On my no-poo journey, I discovered something beautiful: soap nuts.

Soap nuts, also knowns as soapberries, are naturally occurring nuts found on trees that are cousins of the Lychees. These little gifts from nature have multiple uses, both in personal hygiene and in cleaning the home.

I buy my soap nuts on Amazon, but Amazon adds some unnecessary plastic packaging when they ship. I’ve been looking for a place to buy them that involves less packaging but am struggling to find one. If you know of a place that has a low- or no-waste alternative, let me know!

Today I am going to share some of my favorite ways to use soap nuts with a few tips and tricks on making the perfect soap nut shampoo + face cleaner + body wash!

Uses for Soap Nuts

As I mentioned, you can actually make soap from just soap nuts and water. How cool is that? Keep reading for the step-by-step instructions for this. It is sooo simple.

The reason that many people opt for soap nuts instead of more traditional products is that they generally require less packaging, they include no chemicals and are very affordable.

In addition to cleaning my own body, soap nuts can be used to wash your clothes and dishes. I use the same “soap” in the dishwasher as I do on my hair. You simply swap your usual detergent with this liquid and you’re good to go!

Side note: I typically like to use white vinegar as a rinse aid with this solution, which can also be poured right into the rinse aid slot of your dishwasher.

Using Soap Nuts to Wash Clothes

If you want to use soap nuts to wash your clothes, all you’ve got to do is put four to five of these magical nuts into a little cloth sack and toss the sack into the wash with your clothes. No detergent. That is all!

When you transfer your clothes over to the dryer, you don’t have to dig through to find the sack among your wet clothes. The soap nuts actually have anti-static properties that mirror those of the dryer sheets. The soapberries replace both the detergent and dryer sheets.

You can reuse the same little sack of nuts a few times. I use the leftover nuts from making my multi-purpose soap/shampoo/liquid. The clothes still come out fresh and clean!

Making Liquid Soap + Shampoo from Soap Nuts

So, here it is: the natural solution to all of your skin, scalp and kitchen needs. Well, maybe I am exaggerating, but this soap nut extract definitely is a great alternative to shampoo, body wash and even all-purpose kitchen cleaner.

All you are going you going to need is a pan that you can boil at least six cups of water in, a slotted spoon, water and about six to eight soap nuts.

How to Make Soap Nut Shampoo

  1. Boil four cups of water
  2. Add 6-8 soap nuts to boiling water
  3. Let boil for 10 minutes, stirring periodically
  4. Add another cup of water
  5. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the liquid becomes a dark yellow
  6. Remove soap nuts with slotted spoon (and save them to be reused)
  7. Transfer liquid to airtight container for storage

Storing your Soap Nut Shampoo

Since I use my homemade soap a lot, I don’t usually store it for very long. However, one time I made a huge batch and forgot a bottle at the back of the fridge and it was still good after about three weeks.

A lot of people use mason jars to store their soap, but since I take mine in the shower with me, I store mine in reusable plastic water bottles. I store mine in the refrigerator when I am not using it.

If you clean out old shampoo, conditioner or body wash bottles, you could use those, too! Just make sure you get all of the old product out.

Using Soap Nut Shampoo

I have to admit, one of the weird things that I missed about traditional shampoo was lathering my hair. With soap nut “shampoo,” all you’ve got to do is give the bottle a shake and it fills with suds and you can lather away!

Since a little bit goes a long way, I usually use two bottles. Depending on the amount I make, I typically have a storage bottle and a shower bottle. I pour the amount I plan to use in the shower into the second bottle. This way, there is plenty of room in the bottle for suds to “grow” when you shake up the liquid.

Make sure to rinse your hair thoroughly.

The extract from the soap nuts is safe for everything but your eyes. If you get any in your eyes, rinse with clean water.

Order Your Soapberries Today

My soap nuts are from Greenwill and can be purchased on Amazon. They came with the little sack that is used to for laundry and they were around $11 for 12 ounces (which lasts a looonngg time).

I would love to hear about some of your soap nut experiences. I have read that the liquid soap (that I gave the recipe for above) helps in treating eczema and psoriasis. I don’t have experience with either, so let me know if any of you have tried soapberries to treat these conditions.

Best of luck to all of you in your soap making!

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4 Comments

  1. I actually ordered my soapnuts from Amazon and plan to boil them tomorrow. I’m glad you gave the details for the amount of water/nuts to use. I’m definitely going to try them on my laundry (starting with a load of towels) just to see how they react with our type of water. My sister has psoriasis and I’m planning on boiling some for her. That would be amazing if it would help her. I plan to let you know how everything turns out. Excited to try!!!! Thank you again for the useable information.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I bought my soap nuts from India and they came with paper bag packaging. Just finished boiling my soap nuts for shampoo, waiting for it to cool and store for usage

    Liked by 1 person

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