What Are Soapberries?
Berries aren’t normally something that you might associate with soap! Soapberries are a very effective natural alternative to conventional laundry detergent. They’re sometimes called soapnuts, but they are actually a fruit that grows on that Sapindus Mukrossi tree, which is found mostly in the Himalayas. The fruit is picked, shelled and dried for use. The shells contain a substance called saponins, nature’s soap. These saponins release dirt and grime by reducing the surface tension of water.
Hello Charlie is now stocking That Red House Soapberries. These soapberries are grown and harvested in Nepal, and help support small Himalayan communities through the Grow Nepal initiative. Once harvested, the soapberries are transported to Australia by sea keep a low carbon footprint. They are certified organic by EcoCert, and they’re completely biodegradable and eco friendly. They’re suitable for septic tanks, grey water and they can be composted.
Why Use Soapberries?
That Red House organic soapberries are not only all natural and sustainable, they’re also perfect for people with sensitive skin, allergies or skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. They’re hypoallergenic and gentle enough to use on baby clothes and cloth nappies. You can even use them to make all natural shampoo or bath wash. They’re antibacterial and antifungal, so they kill germs and remove odours, but they’re completely fragrance free.
If you do prefer a bit of scent to your laundry, you can add a few drops of essential oils.
At about 10c per wash load for a 1kg bag, soapberries are also more economical than traditional detergent. Five shells can last for up to five washes, and unused soapberries stay fresh for as long as two years. When you’re done with your Soapberries, you can compost them in your garden, so they create less waste than traditional detergent.
Do Soapberries Work?
Soapberries leave your clothes clean and fresh, and they work well in any type of washing machine. They leave no residue on clothes, so they can be used without a rinse cycle, which helps conserve water. They also clean well at any temperature, although they are most effective in warm water (about 40 degrees).
How Do They Work?
To use soapberries, add five whole shells to the small wash bag and throw it in the wash. If you’re using cold water, soak your bag in hot water for five minutes to release the saponins more quickly and get a better clean.
You can add a little baking soda or lemon juice to your laundry to get your whites that bit whiter, too.
For a great natural bathroom and kitchen cleaner, you can boil soapberries, then strain them and put the liquid in a spray bottle. Add a little eucalyptus or tea tree oil for a fresh scent. Their antibacterial and antifungal properties will help remove mould and germs from surfaces throughout your home.
That Red House has heaps of ideas for using soapberries all around your house.
We reviewed soapberries here at Hello Charlie. I used them in my normal laundry load, and I added a few drops of essential oil. I did three or four loads, and they worked as well as my normal laundry powder. Even my sceptical husband was happy with them.
Christine, our lovely customer service lady, used them on her baby’s white Wondersuits. One of them had a three day old orange stain, and she said that it was mostly gone after washing with just soapberries. She did say that she would normally have pre-treated these stains, so she was pretty impressed.
A friend tried them on her kids’ white school shirts. One of them had a tomato sauce stain, that she would normally have used stain remover on. She said that the sauce stain was faded, but not completely gone. The rest of the shirt was clean, and if she’d have used a stain remover it would have been fine.
We all thought that soapberries worked as well as normal laundry powder. Given the cost per use (cheap!) and the fact that these are so eco friendly, I was pretty damn impressed. Go soapberries!
Shop That Red House soapberries here at Hello Charlie.
Images: That Red House