Quite rightly so, there’s lots of talk at the moment about reducing our single use plastic consumption and using more natural products. I’m conscious of our desire to travel whenever possible, so at home, I’m trying to make some eco friendly swaps where I can.
I think it was an ad on Facebook that has led me to the latest product that I’m giving a whirl, soap nuts or Indian soap nuts. From my googling, youtubing and reading up on them, from what I can gather, they’re not actually nuts but the berry of the Sapindus Mukorossi tree that grows in the Himalayas. They are sold dried out but when you get them wet and agitate them a little, a natural soap called saponin is released!
So far I’ve done around 4 loads of washing. The nuts come supplied with a few little fabric bags that you pop a few in, tie the top and chuck them in with the wash. I’ve used each bag of nuts twice and thrown the shells in the compost bin, apparently you can use them a few times to extract all of the saponin but I’m still at the experimental stage. Initially they smell a lot like vinegar but the finished wash doesn’t really smell of anything at all. Apparently there’s no need for fabric softener either, I’ll give an update on instagram as to how the ironing goes!
I’m really hoping that we’re going to ‘get on’ with them as the potential savings are massive, at around £10 per kg, I estimate if we used them on washing alone that they could last around 4-6 months (family of 4).
I’ve also tried my hand at making a multi-purpose wash, this can be used for everything from wiping down the kitchen sides to washing your hair. The wash is really simple to make, just boil up around 5 nuts in a pan of water, I’m currently experimenting with the desired strength, let simmer for around 15 minutes and strain and cool, couldn’t be simpler. As this is a natural product though, I’m aware that it will go off after a week or so, so I’m not going to make too much at one time. With it being so easy though, I could manage to make it regularly. This morning’s was made 15 mins before stepping out the door on the school run. There are lots of methods of use on youtube, adding essential oils etc.. for scent. I can see a lot of experimentation coming on!
For a foamy wash, I whipped mine up with the hand blender.
I’m not sure I’ll stick with using the soap nuts exclusively, for everything that we’ve tried but so far I am pleasantly surprised. I can definitely see them being integrated into our lives at least partially and if that cuts down on our use of plastic bottles and unnecessary chemicals then that can only be a good thing. I bought my soap nuts here. I would love to hear any tips you have for usage or what you think of them if you give them a try.
© Sarah Taffe 2018 // Mind Body Soul Evolve // ST Freelance