Soapnuts ( Sapindus mukorossi ) are an environmentally friendly, sustainably produced, bio-degradable and compostable alternative to commercial laundry detergents. Grown wild in India, for centuries these soap nuts (sometimes called soapberries) have been used for many purposes, from laundry to cleaning jewellery and treating contaminated soil. They are most widely recognised as being an effective and environmentally friendly natural detergent, but can be used for a wide variety of other uses.
A 500 gm bag should wash 200 loads, or 7-10 loads per week for around 6 months before it runs out.
Our soapnuts (also known as soap berries) are imported directly to us in Australia from Asha Handicrafts, an Indian Fair Trade Organisation, giving consumers the added value in knowing the harvesting and production is done under Fair Trade conditions.
Soapnut shells contain a high proportion of natural saponin. When the shells come in contact with water the saponin is released and suds are produced - just like adding normal detergents.
Full instructions for various methods of use are provided, in both top-loaders and front-loaders, cold or hot wash, but the basic method is to simply pop 6-8 shells into a small cotton bag (provided), put the bag in a cup of hot water for a few minutes (if using cold wash), and then place it in your washing machine instead of detergent. They are excellent for cleaning laundry, leaving it beautifully soft and fresh. There is no need to include softeners and they are especially good for colours because they don't contain any whiteners or brighteners, so your colours will stay coloured for longer.
Extremely cost-effective, the 500 gm bag should wash 200 loads, or 7-10 loads per week for around 6 months before it runs out. The nuts can be used for 4-6 consecutive loads and then disposed of in the compost bin or spread around garden plants as mulch. And since the laundry water contains only natural ingredients, it can much more usefully be reused as grey water to reduce water consumption.
Living in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth? No problem. We'll despatch your order from our Adelaide shop within 3 working days - probably sooner - so you'll receive it promptly.
An NI staff favourite - we've all tried them and are hooked!
Asha Handicrafts provides the security of markets to small scale artisan workshops around India, like ANSA, the soapnut harvesters in Tamil Nadu.
Love the Soap nuts, was a bit skeptical to think that these would work, but they do.
Very happy with using them, cloths actually feel better and don't need to use a fabric conditioner, its a win win for all of us and the environment.
You dont need to buy commercial washing powder.
The soapnuts are fantastic, no smells and CLEAN clothes. Couldn't ask for more. Very satisfied customer. Thanks.
Just bought the soap nuts from the catalogue and can recommend them. What a treat for us and the environment.
I just wanted to let you know that I wrote up a blog post directly comparing the performance of soapnuts against ordinary detergent at lifting various stains off a shirt. The soapnuts performed very well in the comparison.
You can find the post here.
This is such a great product: fair trade and eco-friendly, and very economical.
New Internationalist supports Fair Trade producers like The Equitable Marketing Association. Fair Trade promotes a fair wage and fair working conditions, encouraging developing world producers to help themselves.
A little about The Equitable Marketing Association: Leather items are manufactured in the EMA Development Centre in Baruipur, about an hour and half's drive from Kolkata, India.
New Internationalist Australia is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization, which means we have to stock a percentage of Fair Trade products, and also adhere to Fair Trade practices ourselves. Great for supporting producers rights, and also for our staff.
Sign-up for our free monthly email newsletter. We'll update you on new products that have just arrived and sales items.