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Soap nuts: a good ecological alternative to washing powder?

The soap nut is a must for zero waste. The reason ? It is a great alternative to washing powder! To learn more about the soap nut, a nut native to India and Nepal, then continue reading this article without further delay.

Soap nuts: what is it?

Soapnuts come from Sapindus Mukorossi, the soap tree, present in Asia, more precisely in the regions of Kashmir and the Himalayas. Once ripe, soap nuts have the particularity of containing saponina natural cleansing agent, released on contact with water at 30°C.

Used for millennia for wash the laundry and clean the hair, soap nuts are an ecological alternative to washing powder. But that’s not all: it is also possible to use it as a natural home softener! The saponin present in the nuts has, in fact, softening properties.

Once in contact with water, the soap nuts release a low-foaming but very soapy substance, ideal for degrease, to clean and clean up. It is worth emphasizing that soap nuts are natural products. They are therefore not necessarily calibrated. This is why the saponin content can thus vary from one nut to another.

In principle, soap nuts can be used until they contain more saponin. To find out if a nut still contains saponin, simply rub the shell with a wet finger. If foam appears, then there is still active product in the nut.

natural laundry concept

How to use a soap nut?

In the washing machine

As an ecological detergent, soap nuts are used on all fabrics, from cotton to silk and wool. The amount of nuts needed to run a machine depends on various factors. You have to take into account the dirtiness of the laundry, the quality of the water and the size of the drum. In general, 5 to 7 half-shells enough to do laundry. To use the soap nuts, nothing could be simpler: just place them in a small bag, then put the bag containing the nuts inside the machine.

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Soapnuts not only make it possible to wash clothes, but also to:

  • Process Tasks : if they are combined with an organic label stain remover or with natural products such as lemon, walnuts can overcome even the most stubborn stains;
  • Soften the laundry : nuts are, in fact, a good eco-friendly and zero-waste softener. On the other hand, they do not perfume the laundry! To perfume its textiles, it is thus necessary to add a few drops of an essential oil, on the bag containing the nuts, for example.

Good to know : Soap nuts can, in principle, be reused up to 3 times at 30°C, 2 times at 40°C, 1 time at 60°C and 90°C.

At home

The use of soap nuts is not limited to the washing machine. Quite the contrary! Soapnuts can, in fact, be used at home, in particular, for wash the dishes. To do this, simply place 3 to 4 half walnut shells in a small bag and slip it into the cutlery basket of the dishwasher. Note that the regular use of soap nuts considerably reduces the lime deposits inside the machine.

In addition, soap nuts can be used to clean floors and surfaces of the House. To do this, it is enough simply to prepare a decoction of nuts, more or less concentrated. Furthermore, soap nuts as natural pesticides, to repel insects and fight against fungi. Here again it is necessary to concoct a decoction of nuts. Even more surprisingly, soap nuts can be used for animal grooming.

For hygiene

To wash your hair, there’s nothing like a decoction of soap nuts. And for good reason, nuts are simply perfect for replace shampoodue to their cleansing properties.

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But that’s not all: soap nuts can also be used as liquid hand soap ! It is then sufficient to fill the soap dispenser with a highly concentrated nut decoction.

woman using soap nuts

Soapnuts: why use them?

The benefits of soap nuts

  • Natural product of plant origin : Soap nuts are a renewable resource. Unlike conventional detergents, soap nuts do not contain additives. They are also fragrance free. Soapnuts can be composted. However, it is true that their degradation is difficult and takes time. Note that it is possible to find Ecocert, Cosmebio or Oxfam certified soap nuts;
  • No industrial transformation : Walnut shells are used raw. The preparation is manual and consists simply of removing the nuts and drying the shells;
  • Recyclable packaging : most of the time, the nuts are packed in cardboard or fabric, which considerably limits plastic at home.
  • harmless to health : detergent with soap nuts is rather well tolerated by fragile people, such as children, for example;
  • Economic return : Nuts can be used multiple times. It is also worth pointing out that only a few nuts are needed per wash.

The disadvantages of soap nuts

  • Efficiency : according to certain studies carried out by consumer protection associations, using soap nuts would amount to doing laundry only with water;
  • Transportation : Soapnuts found on the market come mostly from India and Nepal. We are therefore entitled to wonder about the impact of transporting soap nuts to Europe. Preferably, it is better to favor transport by boat, which, in general, is less polluting. It is still necessary, however, that the information be specified on the packaging;
  • Social aspects : Soapnuts are produced in distant countries, where respect for human rights and local populations is, unfortunately, not always guaranteed. While some organizations, such as Oxfam, offer fair trade certified nuts, the information is not necessarily given by all manufacturers.
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Take care of yourself and the planet;