Soapberries, or soapnuts, are a fruit that can be used as a natural alternative to laundry detergent. They’re naturally high in saponins, nature’s soap. In a recent blog post, I talked about how soapberries are grown and harvested, and how they work to keep clothes clean.
But laundry isn’t the only thing you can clean with soapberries! Using soapberries, you can mix your own base liquid solution that can be used to clean just about anything. Here is the recipe for the liquid, as well as lots of other ways to use soapberries for everything from shampoo to glass cleaner.
Soapberry Liquid Base
Start by making a liquid base. Once you’ve got the base, you can add other simple ingredients to make lots of great household and personal cleansers.
- 10 whole soapberry shells
- 1 litre of water
- 2 teaspoons citric acid (optional, available in supermarkets)
- Large pot
- Cloth soapberries bag or old sock/stocking
- Spray bottle or other storage container
- Combine the soapberry shells and water in the pot.
- Bring the water to a boil and let it boil for 15-20 minutes.
- Optional: Add the citric acid to the hot liquid and stir until dissolved. This will act as a preservative to help your soapberry liquid last longer.
- Allow the liquid to cool.
- Once cooled, strain the liquid through the cloth into a container for cleaning or storage. We recommend a spray bottle for easy cleaning.
- Store your liquid in the fridge to help it last longer. It should last for up to 4 weeks.
For a simple household cleaner, add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to your liquid to give it a fresh scent. Eucalyptus works well, and so does tea tree, but my favourite is lemongrass or bright, citrussy lemon.
You can use this liquid base as a laundry liquid. Or try adding a few drops of essential oil to the soapberry liquid, and spraying it directly onto stains as a pre-wash stain removing treatment.
Soapberry Glass Cleaner
- 1 tbsp. soapberry liquid
- 2 tbsp. white vinegar
- ½ cup water
- Eucalyptus essential oil (optional)
- Combine soapberry liquid, white vinegar and water in the spray bottle and shake well.
- Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil, or lemon oil for a fresh scent.
- 250ml soapberry liquid
- 1/2 to a teaspoon guar gum (available at health food shops)
- Essential oils
Handheld blender or mixer
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of guar gum to your soapberry liquid. We recommend 1 teaspoons for a consistency similar to conventional shampoo. If you can’t find guar gum, try cornflour or agar agar.
- Mix the guar gum into the liquid with a handheld blender or mixer until smooth.
- Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil and mix. We recommend lavender or tea tree oil.
- Let the mixture stand until the bubbles disappear.
Be careful not to get soapberry shampoo in your eyes when using it, or it will sting.
This same mixture can also be used as an antibacterial hand wash, or as an ingredient in soapberry shaving cream (see below).
Don’t make too much of this, and keep it in the fridge. There are no preservatives, so it will go off.
Soapberry Shaving Cream
- 100ml soapberry shampoo
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Tea tree oil
- Add olive oil to soapberry shampoo.
- Add a few drops of tea tree oil. This is great for shaving because it’s soothing and antibacterial.
- Mix all ingredients in the blender to form a cream.
There are lots of other ways to use soapberries! For a moisturizing body wash that’s perfect for babies, use a couple of drops of lavender oil instead of tea tree oil. Remember to keep the body wash away from baby’s eyes.
Soapberry Facial Scrub
- 1/2 cup soapberry liquid
- 1/4 cup finely ground oats
- 1/4 cup finely ground almond meal
- Grind up the oats and almonds separately, then mix together well.
- Mix the oats and almonds with the soapberries until blended.
Choose your skin type below and mix in the ingredients for a customised scrub.
For oily skin:
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon dried peppermint and/or 5 drops rosemary essential oil
For dry skin:
- 1 tablespoon powdered milk
- 1 tablespoon finely ground calendula and/or 5 drops roman chamomile essential oil
For combination skin:
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon finely ground dried chamomile and/or 5 drops lavender essential oil
Why not use the scrub base and add some larger salt flakes and a few drops of cooling peppermint oil for a cooling foot scrub?
Again, don’t make this in large quantities, and keep it in the fridge. There are no preservatives, so it will spoil.
If you’re looking for soapberries, Hello Charlie stocks That Red House Soapberries. They’re certified organic, and sales support the Grow Nepal initiative.
Are there any other ways that you use soapberries around the house? Let us know and we’ll add them to the list!