There are a lot of ways to get the benefit of the cleaning power of soapberries. To get started, here are a few easy ways to use them. You will find what best fits your needs and no doubt discover many more uses than are listed here!
For laundry –Add 1 – 1.5 teaspoons of powder in the wash water before adding the clothes to be washed. Because it is 100% natural it will not totally dissolve in the water, and it will not produce a lot of suds, but it will release a lot of sapponins and get your clothes clean.
OR Place 5 soapberries in a small re-usable cotton or mesh bag (a sock will work), tie closed and place in washer to wash a load of laundry. The nuts may be re-used for up to 5 loads of laundry and do not need to be removed for the rinse cycle. When the shells appear mushy and gray, they can be composted. 1/4 cup of the soap nut liquid can be used for a load of laundry. The soap nuts have an odor slightly like vinegar, but will not leave any odor on the clothes you wash in them. If you desire to have a fragrance, you can add an essential oil
Mild Abrasive Cleaner – use a small amount of powder, with a rag or sponge. The combination of the grit from the powder and the saponins makes this a very effective scrub for kitchen counters, sinks, toilets and tubs. You can use an old spice jar as a dispenser if you want.
Sapindus Saponaria Extract – 2 tablespoons of powder in 4 cups of water. Heat powder in the water to boiling, Remove from heat and allow the powder to steep until cool. Once cooled add salt or baking soda if desired as a preservative, and/or essential oils. Any liquid that is not used immediately should be saved in the refrigerator. The used berry residue can be used as a natural fertilizer.
OR place the equivalent of 12-15 whole soapberries in about 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20-30 minutes. You can add a small amount of essential oil like lavender, tea tree, or peppermint, to add a pleasant aroma. See more uses bellow. Optional: -essential oils like, lavender, tee tree, or peppermint if so desired, 1 teaspoon of salt or baking soda as a mild preservative.
Extract will last 3-4 days at room temperature, and for several weeks in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen as ice cubes to store for an extended time.
Sapindus Saponaria Extract Uses
- Laundry: Use 1/3 to 1/2 cup of extract to do a normal load of laundry.
- General household cleaner for counters, floors, windows, dishes etc. It is excellent for bathrooms and showers as it has anti-fungal properties. In a small jar, combine 1 part extract with 1 part water
(2 – 3 drops of essential oil – optional)
(2 teaspoons of white vinegar — optional)
Keep unused cleanser in the refrigerator
- Body cleanser Combine 1 teaspoon of extract in 1 cup of water.
Pour about 2 tablespoons of cleanser on a damp cloth as a face or body wash
- Foaming Hand Wash In an atomizing dispenser bottle add one part extract to two parts water. (Add a teaspoon of glycerin if you want more suds) Since there are no preservatives only make what you can use a day or two at a time.
- Insect Repellent Combine 1 part extract and 2 parts water. Apply to skin as a natural insect repellent.
- Foliar Plant Spray Add 1-2 tablespoons of extract to a small spray bottle. Fill the bottle with water and shake. Spray the leaves of your plants to help control insects and fungus
Soapberry products are non- toxic, but they are strong natural surfactants. They are not for dietary consumption and should be kept away from the eyes.
A video we made about how to use Soapberries.