Eco Home Living

Published on September 10th, 2011 | by Lynn Fang


Soapnuts: Plastic-Free, Hypoallergenic Cleaning

Most conventional laundry detergents contain numerous hazardous chemicals that are not listed on the label. If you want to make your own non-toxic version, you still need a number of ingredients that come from plastic containers.

Is there a plastic-free way to do laundry?

A little tree fruit called the soapnut is full of a soapy detergent-like substance called saponins. They come dried, and when you soak them in water, they release saponins. Bubbles and suds appear from the soapnuts to clean just about anything you want.

What’s the benefit of soapnuts, aside from being plastic-free?

  • hypoallergenic
  • mild detergent is soft on your hands
  • good for people with skin conditions like eczema or rosacea
  • compostable
  • all-natural, no chemical processing

Soapnuts Liquid

You can make a soapy liquid from boiling soapnuts in water. This mild detergent can be used for laundry, dishwashing, or even soap and shampoo.

Boil 12-15 whole soapnuts in 6 cups of water for 30 minutes. You should be left with 4 cups of soapnuts liquid, a concentrated chemical-free detergent. You can compost the leftover soapnuts shells.


To do laundry, throw about five of them in a little cotton muslin bag, and throw the whole thing in your washer. You can reuse a batch of soapnuts for laundry about 4-5 times before the saponins run out.

Or, if you prefer using soapnuts liquid, use 3 Tbsp of soapnuts liquid for each load of laundry.

Dishwashing Detergent, for washing by hand

  • 2 cups soapnuts liquid
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice [optional]

Dishwashing Detergent, for a machine:

  • 1 part soapnuts liquid
  • 1 part baking soda
  • 1 part borax (or salt)
  • 1 part lemon juice

Vinegar in the rinse box

Mix all ingredients except vinegar together and pour into detergent cup. Don’t forget vinegar in the rinse!

In liquid form, soapnuts can clean just about anything. You can use it for soap or shampoo, and even as a multipurpose or window cleaner.

They are as affordable (buy organic soap nuts with muslin bags here!) as regular chemical detergents, and you get all these amazing benefits to boot!

Get the Green Living Ideas book in softcover or PDF for as low as $2.99!

Please follow and like us:

Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author

is a compost consultant and educator, eco-conscious writer, and intuitive artist. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Back to Top ↑

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial