64 Responses to “From Soap Nuts to Liquid : Natural, Nontoxic Cleaning”


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  1. Hi Leslie,
    I use a deconcotion of soaproot in my cleansers. This is not identical to soapnuts, but from the look of the liquid on your recipe here, I’m thinking we have the same effect. Soaproot in Latin: Saponaria Officinalis. I buy this as a dried herb, then measure out a portion into a couple of tea filter bags and staple them shut (be sure to leave expansion room in the bags). I use demineralized water instead of tap water. I wonder if it is feasible to do a soaproot batch this way? Save filtering perhaps? I am most definitely on my way to do a bit of research on soaproot contra soapnuts.
    As for the pips, they look like beads to me.. can they be drilled through and used for necklaces?

  2. Monica

    I read in a natural beauty book how the author used avocado pits to make scrubs for the skin. She let the pits dry in the sun, smashed them with a hammer, and put them in a grinder to make a finer powder and then mixed with other natural ingredients to make various scrub recipes. I don’t know if that would work with the soap nut pits, but could be worth a try.

  3. This is AWESOME! I must get some of these.

  4. Soap nuts are very cool! I have a lot of sun and a four year old, so now all I need is a little tree. Yet another thing to add to my list of things to get. And the ice cube thing is brilliant.

  5. Send the soap nuts pits my way. We shall paint them Easter colours and they will be much more hardy then blown out eggs. Or we will use them as decorations in the garden.

  6. I totally want to eat one, especially since you mentioned the migraine thing.
    Ok,I won’t but still..they are so cool!

    I like the idea of rilling holes in the nuts too, they’d make a neat necklace.

  7. The Pits? Use them as decoration in a plant, or bead them together on a string (maybe figure out how to get a hole through them first) or put them in a bowl for candles, put a bunch of them in a big enough bowl and roll your feet around in them and see if they some how massage your feet,,, I think I would probably put sand in there too,,,I love sand in my toes, stick them in nifty bottles with pretty marbles too, and decorate the top. Glue a bunch of them to a wooden box and have a “Nut Box”,,,need more ideas? Feeling inspired? Okay, now I’m going to go finish reading the article.

  8. Yeah, bead’em together and have Crunchy Christmas Tree!! Awesome!

  9. I just got some soap nuts and my daughter is now hoarding the pits :) They’re fun! I put them in a little cloth bag for her and they’re some kind of treasure.

  10. Katie

    I ordered some soap nuts and when they arrived the package said you have to wash your laundry in warm or hot water to activate the nuts, it won’t work in cold water. Well, this seems to defeat the purpose of being eco friendly by wasting energy heating the water. I figured I would make some soap nut liquid, but I want to be able to keep it by the washing machine, so the fact that it goes bad relatively quickly causes quite the conundrum. What I’m wondering, can I mix the soap nut liquid with some vinegar for a super laundry cleaner that will also have a longer shelf life?

    • Lucie

      If you soak the little mesh bag of nuts in hot water for about 5 min before putting it in the washing machine, that will help

      • Kellie

        I just run my bag of nuts under warm water for a few seconds and you can then see the soap start to come out, after that i throw them in my cold wash and they work a treat. If i do several loads in a row i only rinse them before the first one as once they are wet they seem to keep working.

  11. @Katie, it’s my understanding that if you give them a little jumpstart by soaking them in hot water for a couple of minutes, they work just fine in cold water. I also like the idea of freezing the liquid and using a couple of the cubes in the laundry.

  12. Linda

    Does the liquid work better as a laundry detergent? Also, I read somewhere the liquid can be stored at room temperature for 3 weeks, otherwise you should refrigerate it.

    • Robyn

      I use 100gm (3.5oz) to make up 3 litres of liquid (100 oz) at a time. I prefer the liquid as I wash in cold water. I tend to keep it in the laundry (by the machine), but put it in the fridge when I remember. I’ve never had any problem with it going off, and I live in Queensland, Australia where it gets quite humid. Household of only 2 adults and I wash twice a week. Hope this helps.

  13. Jen

    Soap nuts are awesome! I bought a bag several years ago and I’m just now finishing it up. Way cheaper than commercially made laundry detergents. I have one suggestion for you if you’re overwhelmed by the amount of seeds you have. If you buy soap nuts from Naturoli.com they come deseeded. Companies sell them with the seed because it allows them to sell less of the actual berry for the weight. I’ve only found 2 seeds in the entire bag I ordered.

    • About that… I read that the seed inside knocks against the outer husk while in the laundry machine helping to agitate and release the saponins thus helping to scrub your clothes clean.

    • thats where i ordered mines from. i took advantage of their sale on the soap nut pieces. this is my first time using soap nuts and so far its doing great. i just have to make sure to seperate my whites because the soap nuts dont get out all of the stains that my kids make. but it did get out bbq chip stains out of my daughters blue shirt. im trying to figure out how long 15lbs of soap nuts would last a family of 8.

    • Robyn

      In Australia, it is illegal to bring the seeds into the country, so all our soapnuts come deseeded. If by some chance we find a seed, I was told we are supposed to return it to the place of purchase. If this is correct I’m not sure. The first part is though, about being illegal in Australia, I looked it up on the Customs website.

  14. Wendy

    I have read many differnet ways to make soap nuts but what I have never seen is how much to use with a load of laundry? I just dump some in but how do you know if it’s too much or not enough??

  15. Mel

    I should have known you had a post on soap nuts! I have just started to use them and trying to get the hang of them….anyway, you could use the pits for home gardening – instead of gravel at the bottom of jars/pots for drainage (i seem to recall a post about this…?) plus i think you can use a spray on your plants of soap nut liquid to deter bugs, although i have yet to try this :)

  16. Daniel

    I make washing up liquid among other things but I’d love to be able to thicken the mixture so that it is similar in consistency to washing up liquid. how could I do this, naturally of course?

    • Emilia

      I use soap nut for a diy shampoo and I thicken the mixture with xanthan gum – or I think some people use guar gum. Xantham gum doesn’t sound all that natural – I’d never heard of it outside scarilky long ingredients lists and I admit I was dubious at first – but it’s actually a food grade thickener. And all it is is the product of fermenting glucose – not nasty chemicals there! (I’ve just realised you’re comment is a year old, but I’m thinking maybe other people have wondered the same..?)

  17. I have been using soapnuts for a while now for my laundry. It ever occurred to me to keep the pits. I’m wondering if they hold heat. I have a cherry pit pack that you put in the microwave like you would a rice pack. I think I will try packing a pack similar using the pits of the soapnuts. Just wanted to throw that idea out there for anyone else. Thanks for the post.

    • i think that would make a great idea. or u could even make a rolling back massager with the pits. I’ve never seen the pits before because i ordered just the soap nut pieces on sale at naturoli. it was 40% off. it came out $40 for a 5lb bag shipped to hawaii. the stores over here wanted $10 for 4 ounces. i think i got a great deal.

  18. I’ll be putting the pits from the soap nut liquid I’m making into the diffuser I’m making, for decoration and to keep the rods in. :)

    • Oh, and I’m now regularly using soap nut liquid for handwashed dishes. I have highly sensitive skin, and once my hands recover from the heat, I have no lingering pain from the cleaner afterwards—and soap nuts nicely soak into things like egg and help it get off the pan. :)

  19. Nirvana

    Hi. You added 9 cups of water in total but how much of soap nut liquid did you end up with? I tried it and got maybe 3 cups of liquid at the end

    • Becky

      Nirvana, I followed the same instructions and got less than 1/2 cup of liquid, so I will not be using these anymore.

      • Nirvana

        Hi Becky. I tried a modified method and it works quite nicely.

        In a large pot I soak 100 g of soap nuts (make sure there are no seeds) in 3 cups cold water overnight.
        Then I blend it well with a stick blender.
        Add 6 cups of boiling water.
        Bring to the boil and lower the heat a bit and simmer for about 30 minutes (watch the pot because it can boil over). I’ve seen some websites say that if the water level has dropped too much you can add some boiling water into the pot to bring the level back up but I haven’t had to do this.
        Blend again.
        Strain and allow to cool (You can freeze the strained pulp and add
        it to the pot the next time you make soap nut liquid. I see that makes the next batch of soap nut liquid extra “rich”).
        Add 2 teaspoons citric acid to the liquid to preserve it if you wish and mix well.
        You should be left with 1.5 liters (50 loads) to 2 liters (66 loads) strained soap nut liquid at the end.
        Use 2 tablespoons (30 ml) per
        large load (I have a 9 kg machine) of laundry
        I freeze mine in bottles (I put enough to each bottle to last about 2 weeks of washing) and I keep the bottle I’m currently using in the fridge.

        • Nirvana

          Sorry I forgot to say that the liquid will separate after standing a while so just gently shake the bottle before use

        • Becky

          Thank you so much for taking the time to write this out; I’m going to definitely do it!

          • Nirvana

            Hi Becky

            Sorry for the late reply. The update didn’t show up in my email. Sorry I’m from South Africa so we deal in grams. I have a scale so I just weighed it out. Should be 3.5 oz or so. I would take a guess and say its about 30 or so soap nuts but I think they can vary in size so I will stick to weighing it out. By the way with the last batch I made the final volume was a bit less (think I had the stove too hot) so I just strained it and then topped it up afterwards with boiling water so I had 1.5 liters at the end.

        • helen

          Nirvana, i love your recipe and marked it for thefuture use. I just made soap nut aloe vera shampoo and put tree oil and other cosmetic natural preservarives for longer shelf-life.

  20. i put 6 cups of water and 15-17 soap nuts in a pressure cooker for about 45 minutes and it came out pretty dark. and most of the nuts turned grey. so to stretch the soap nuts even more i put the mushy pieces in a drawstring bag and im going to let it dry to either use it for laundry or to clean up the sink. im going to make sure i get my moneys worth

    • Nirvana

      Hi Hiipoi. Did you not have a problem with the liquid foaming out of the pressure release valve?

      • hiipoi

        Yes bubbles and liquid did come out. But i just used a sponge to absorb it. And cleaned my counter top with it. It was no big deal.

  21. Becky

    I followed these instructions exactly and this process yielded less than 1/2 cup of liquid. I live in a very dry climate so I’m not sure if that’s why. I’m glad I tried soap nuts but they are not economical for me at all so will not be using them any longer. For me there are much more economical ways to do toxic-free cleaning.

  22. Carrie

    Becky I saw that you said soapnuts aren’t econimical. You do know you can wash witht he soapnuts and not make liquid out of them. I put 4 soapnuts in a little muslim bag, soak then in a little bowl of warm water while I am sorting laundry and then toss the bag and the water in the bowl into the washer. I reuse that little bag for 4 loads of laundry. Between loads I hang it up to dry. To get out stains I will rub the wet bag on the stain and usually it takes the stains right out.

    • Becky

      Thanks Carrie, I just saw this. I’ve used them like you described but haven’t soaked them beforehand so I will definitely do that. I appreciate your reply

  23. Anand Parashar

    The pits? one of my friend told me that the inner pith of the pit is a wonderful remedy for piles.Take 10-15 pits. Remove the outer hard shell carefully. Take out the pith, crush it.Mix sufficient linseed oil to make a thick paste. Apply to the affected area daily for 3-7 days.See the result.

  24. sofia

    Hi Betty: Do you reuse this after being boil to make the liquid soap?

  25. beverly

    Hi Betty, do you have a recipe for making bar soap with the soap nut berries?

  26. Kasha

    hi betty, im wondering if i can use soapnuts to replace lye in making shampoo bars?

  27. Gina

    Our soap nuts came today and my kids just made washing up liquid. It works fine. I know because there is always something to wash in this house! The strained soapnuts are now in the washing machine being tested. Always something. I will dry them out and try them in tomorrows washing. Because there is always something. I plan on making them go along way!! Excellent post. Thanks.

  28. Almost Crunchy Erin

    OHHHH!!!!! I am so going to freeze this. Yay!!!!

  29. claire

    Hi, can I freeze it in ice cubes if I want to use it as a shampoo as you said it doesnt last long and since I only wash my hair twice/3 times a week I will have so much liquid left and then it will go bad so I dont know what to do!?
    help please :)

  30. Claire

    Hi, I got soap nuts without the berries are they good?

  31. Jenny

    How much liquid soap nut detergent do you use for a large load of laundry? Likewise, how many ice cubes do you add for a large load?

  32. Kathy

    I know this post is old, but I hope someone can answer my question.
    After freezing the liquid soap nuts are you then able to defrost the cubes and make any of the above recipes, like the window cleaner or shampoo?

    • Katerina

      Hi, I recently started to use soap nuts and my own soap nut liquid and it’s fantastic!After a few good but not very good or perfect results I searched a web a bit and found some ideas how to make them more effective. And this is so far the best read for me! Even these post are dated a while back it’s all new to me NOW. THANK YOU CRUNCHY!
      I just love to preserve my rich liquid as ice cubes! No additives needed and It’s there anytime I need! It works just as great as fresh for things I do with it. I use my soap nuts (seedles) in my washer, dishwasher.I also add baking soda for my light colours and whites, vinegar for extra softness and extra shine. I use liquid as hand soap, washing up liquid and shampoo, waste water for watering plants. (I believe it saved my aloe vera from being eaten by little tiny flies?!)
      I put some used nut shels in my backyard hoping it will keep the slugs away as I read somewhere it might. …
      LOVE CRUNCHY :-)

  33. phyllis

    just want to offer another alternative for preserving homemade soap nuts liquid – add a few drops of (concentrated) oregano oil (the kind sold in little bottles for medicinal use for essential oil). That helps it keep for a few weeks without refrigeration and longer with refrigeration.

  34. teresa

    Warm Hello Angel :)
    how much liquid should be left after boiling the 6 cups then 1 and then another 2 cups added total of 9 cups added how much should remain
    the reason i ask is because i want to get the most for my money

    Now also what do i do with the soapnuts after this boiling process
    mix them with the liquid to create a thick paste?

    or would u mix them with the entire amount of liquid to make your liquid have more body to it

    i do want to do this ecomomically
    i hear the comments of people saying its not ecomomical and i am so interested
    in that process and finding it to be really true or really false either way
    i so want to Know :)
    you girls are the bestest!
    love to all


  35. Holly

    I make liquid soap from the soap nuts and freeze the liquid in cup cake tins. I use 1/4 cup of the liquid, then after they are frozen I wrap them and put them in a zip lock bag and put them in the freeazer. Just grab one for a load of wash. Thanks

  36. Danke fuer die schoene Zeit auf dieser Webseite. Macht weiter bitte so.
    Da kommt man gerne wieder vorbei.

  37. Ryan Clancy

    Could one put essential oils in this liquid. If so, when would you add it.


  1. […] Reetha, the saponin-rich fruit of Sapindus mukorossi has been used by people in the eastern and western world for thousands of years to make soap – giving the tree its nickname: “soapnut.”  The natural cleansers made from reetha have both anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties which may help to heal scalp ailments that cause hair loss.  For more information on making your own soapnut cleansers, check out this great article. […]

  2. […] rufe si e minunat. Mai nou, am fiert nucile si am facut lichidul de nuci de sapun, dupa reteta de aici. Nu am fost mega impresionata in conditiile in care, daca nu il pui la frigider, fermenteaza. Eu […]

  3. […] found Crunchy Betty’s post on soap nuts very informative in the boiling method. You can do this beforehand and keep the liquid in your […]

  4. […] found Crunchy Betty’s post on soap nuts very informative in the boiling method. You can do this beforehand and keep the liquid in your […]

  5. […] which you can learn how to make in this post. It’s this form that’s handiest for most soap nut […]

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