Soap nuts or Wonder nuts?
Chemicals have invaded every nook and corner of our life. Everything we use nowadays is ready made, store bought and synthetic. Natural solutions for simple things have been replaced by complex, factory produced and heavily packaged products.
We all know how about the infamous frothing lake at Bellandur in Bangalore. The primary reason this lake is in this state is because of Home cleaners.
All cleaning solutions available commercially are full of harsh chemicals and highly toxic. They are extremely hazardous to the water bodies as most unchecked sewage systems seep into lakes, rivers and seas.
All plant life and fish are severely affected and the water turns into a toxic cesspool.
Not only are we exposing ourselves to unnecessary chemicals, we are generating trash which isn’t going anywhere for thousand years.
For instance, just a few decades ago we used natural shikakai powder or soapnut to wash our hair. Methi paste, hibiscus leaf paste and other natural ingredients were used as conditioners. Practically no garbage was generated and more importantly the water wasn’t contaminated with chemicals. The scenario now is altogether different. Every family goes through at least two bottles of shampoo a month . The amount of trash we are generating is staggering. Also the chemicals in these shampoos aren’t suited for everyone. Many people are allergic to the artificial scents used in them.
Store bought cleaners can be replaced by Bioenzymes and soapnuts. These are completely natural and cause no damage to water and soil.
Bio enzymes are very easy to make at home and the recipe can be found on our blog post on the Bio enzymes.
Most commercial detergents contain chemical surfactants, some of which such as Dioxane have been proven to be carcinogenic. Where as soap nuts are all-natural and have been used for centuries. These artificial soaps and shampoos are harmful to pets too.
Soap berries, also called soap nuts, are the berry like fruits that grow on the Sapindus Mukorrosi tree, native to India and the Himalayas. These berries produce a soap called saponin which produces lather when scrubbed with water.
Soap berries can be used as shampoo. They are completely chemical free, natural and biodegradable. Insects are naturally repelled by saponin present in soap berries so no pesticides are used in their cultivation.
Soap nuts are antimicrobial, safe gentle to be used on hair. The berries themselves have a mild fragrance, but leave no fragrance when used in hair. It does not take away the natural oils present in our hair like harsh shampoos do.
Soap berries are great for the hair and the environment.
Here’s a simple DIY anti dandruff shampoo using soap nuts.
Boil soap nuts, shikakai and neem leaves for 20 minutes.
Once cooled strain and store the concoction in a bottle.
Add three drops of lavender essential oil as it soothes scalp irritation.
Shake well and rub it through your scalp, leave it for a few minutes before rinsing it off.
You can follow it up with a shampoo rinse though it isn’t necessary.
If you can’t get neem leaves you can use neem powder or replace it with six drops of natural tea tree oil.
This potion takes a couple of weeks to work but the results are amazing and the thrill of using a completely natural and chemical free product without polluting the environment is very gratifying.
South Indian Soap nuts or Sapinduc Trifoliatus
Soap nuts are gentle on both clothes and skin, making them ideal for those with sensitive skin, eczema, allergies and psoriasis. Because they are so mild, they are perfect for baby clothes and even cloth diapers.
Cleaner Lakes: Soap nuts are great for septic and grey water systems. Unlike commercial soaps, that have artificial foaming agents, soap nuts do not produce lots of bubbles or foam. While commercial detergents and soaps have marketed heavily around that visual, foam simply is not an indicator of cleaning power.
Himalayan Soap nuts give higher foam, South Indian Soap nuts have better smell. Both are equally effective. Since we prefer local produced where possible, this contains South Indian variety in this bag.
Directions:take a fist full of dry Soap nuts, put them in a small small cloth pouch, soak it in a cup of boiling water, and pour it in washing machine along with the pouch.
Do check out these links for more on Soap nuts.
The benefits of soap nuts are numerous.
We have tried to list as many as we can.
- Soap nuts are great to be used in natural dish washing soaps and can also be used to wash clothes.
- They leave no harmful chemicals behind as the store bought shampoos and cleaning products.
- They are great for washing pets as they are antimicrobial and hypoallergenic.
- Soap nuts are a renewable resource grown organically making them a sustainable product.
- All Natural- completely natural and chemical free.
- Eco-Friendly product comes without processing or packaging.
- Highly economical and easily available option.
- Soap nuts can be used up to 5 times before they can be thrown.
- it's Hypoallergenic, non toxic so users don’t experience skin or respiratory irritation.
- Totally safe for people with nut allergies.
- Hassle free usage. Can be used directly in the washing machine and very easy to make a simple detergent.
- Does not impart any odour. If you want a scent you can always add natural essential oils.
- Soap nuts are mild and hence won't damage delicate clothing or surfaces.
- These wonder nuts are used by many women to wash Gold jewellery due to their mild non reactive properties.
- They are a natural fabric softeners.
- Clothes washed using soap nuts require very few rinses thereby saving lot of water. Power is also saved when you use fewer rinse cycles.
- Versatile nature of these berries enables them to be used in hot, cold and warm water.
- Used shells can be thrown in your compost bin as they are completely biodegradable.
We don’t need more reasons to switch to these amazing soap berries. Take the plunge, ditch the chemicals and go for the all natural soap berries.
- Malini Parmar