What are Soap Nuts?

What are soap nuts? | Curiously Conscious

Have you ever come across soap nuts? These little brown balls could be revolutionary to your cleaning routine – and they certainly have been with mine!

What are soap nuts?

Soap nuts are essentially a dried fruit pulp, from a member of the lychee fruit family. The pulp froths up when washed with clothing, generating a natural detergent substance that cleans clothes just as well as liquid detergent. It’s always a great feeling when a green idea works just as well as its common counterpart!

Soap nuts have actually been used for thousands of years in Asia and North America – and seem to be the latest well-kept secret I’ve stumbled across in my quest to live a cleaner and greener lifestyle.

How do you use soap nuts?

Soap nuts are as easy to use as regular clothes detergent or capsules. As they’re quite small, hard, and don’t break up easily, all you need to do is put a handful of them in a small cotton bag and pop it in along with your washing.

Since adding a kilo of soap nuts to my kitchen cupboard, my flatmate has also started using them, finding them easier to use than detergent. If you purchase these from certain suppliers, you’ll also be given a small cotton bag to keep your soap nuts in, and can throw this in a wash with your clothes around six times before the nuts need replacing. Six times! That’s a lot of washing.

You may be wondering about tougher stains, and you’re right in thinking that they aren’t strong enough to remove these by themselves. However, you can add in a scoop of bicarbonate of soda to strengthen their cleaning power, and you’ll have naturally removed stains and deep-cleaned your clothes without synthetic chemicals or fragrances.

Benefits of switching to soap nuts

There’s plenty of reasons why you may want to try soap nuts. They are:

  • A natural alternative to clothing detergent
  • Eco-friendly, coming from a plant
  • Biodegradable, meaning you can put them in your food waste/compost when finished with them
  • Inexpensive – equating to about 3p per wash
  • Suitable for vegans
  • Hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and allergy-free

If you have sensitive skin, these work a dream too. I can’t recommend them highly enough – they’ve helped clean up sweat rash as well as save me money (coming in at around £10 per kilo bag) and also save the environment. Fruit pulp is, of course, biodegradable and compostable.

Without sounding too much like an advertisement, this is one of the green swaps I am incredibly impressed with! Let me know if you are thinking about trying them, or if you have questions!


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