Environmental Benefits of Soap Nut
They thrive in regions with few other agricultural opportunities, and some species of soap nut tree flourish in poor soil and help prevent erosion on steep slopes.They eliminate the packaging needed for plastic detergent bottles and are concentrated enough that a small box can replace the need for many bottles of commercial detergent. The nuts are also usually are shipped in biodegradable cardboard boxes, not plastic.Because they are 100 percent biodegradable and don’t contain the toxic chemicals found in conventional cleaning products, soap nuts are a perfect option for gray-water systems. Because our Appalachian homestead runs only on rainwater, we need to be conscious of what enters our water system.
Laundry. Using soap nuts for laundry couldn’t be easier. Just put 4 to 5 nuts in a cloth bag and toss them in your washing machine. Run the machine as usual and remove the nuts with the clothing at the end of the rinse cycle. You won’t need to use fabric softener or to take the nuts out early. Hot water will release more saponin, but the nuts will work with any water temperature. Your nuts will last for up to ten loads. After that they will get limp, papery thin, and begin to disintegrate. At this point they can be composted and replaced with new nuts.
Dishwashing. When using a dishwasher, put 2 to 5 berries in the silverware rack, add a bit of white vinegar and run as usual. For hand washing, you can make a detergent by soaking one cup soap nuts with four cups water overnight and then liquefying the mixture in your blender. Alternatively, you can bring the nuts and water to a boil, turn off the heat and let them sit for an hour. Next strain the mixture with a fine cloth. This liquid detergent will work as well as any dish soap, just without the bubbles.
Shampoo and Body Wash. Make a detergent as specified above and mix one ounce detergent with 12 ounces water. Add any scent you wish, and wash your hair or body as you would with a commercial product. This basic formula can be tweaked in many ways and is limited only by your creativity./p>
Where to Buy Soap Nuts
Soap nuts can be bought at a variety of health food stores or ordered in bulk online. My personal supplier is Eco Nuts because their nuts are organic and the quality is consistent between batches.
Read the complete article – Source: Using Soap Nuts as a Chemical-Free Cleaning Solution – Homesteading and Livestock – MOTHER EARTH NEWS