Soap nuts – an organic all-purpose cleaner


I recently stumbled across these beautiful dried fruit shells that sort of resemble the colour and stickiness of dates.

Native to Nepal and India, these have numerous uses and have also been used for centuries as an ancient treatment for eczema. These beauties grow on trees and are nature’s natural detergent. This eco-friendly option is also naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial and a very powerful alternative to chemical cleaners.


So I hear your scepticism,  but they do work I promise! Soap nuts contain saponin, a natural detergent – just run them under  warm water and you’ll see that they begin to foam up!

I’ve been using them in my washing machine for the last week, they’re super easy to use (I’m not about to tell you that they need to be hand picked from trees!).  Luckily they can be bought in bulk/online and usually come with a mini muslin bag that you pop a few in and chuck into the drum of your machine.

Also, one of the major benefits is how cost effective they are if you want a more natural way of doing your laundry/ react to chemical liquid and powder detergents. One handful of soap nuts can be used for multiple loads, and even after you can soak them in warm water to extract the goodness and make an all purpose cleaner.

If you’re obsessed with fragrances and synthetic smells unfortunately these won’t deliver on that front, but I feel so satisfied knowing these are 100% natural and gentle (definitely doesn’t smell weird). You can always add some essential oil to your drawer if you want a strong scent.

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I ordered mine online in bulk and if you’re about to do a cold wash with the machine, my advise is to pour some hot kettle water over the soap nuts to plump them up and throw in 5-6 for a normal wash. A few extra if your water is hard. It’s so easy and because they’re not nuts (actually berries), they’re even great for anyone with nut allergies!


To make an all purpose cleaner:

  • 20 soap nuts
  • 10 drops of essential oil of choice
  • 2 mugs of water

1. Simmer the soap nuts for one hour on a low heat in two mugs of water.

2. Strain and add this liquid to a spray bottle with the essential oil.

(Compost the nuts or throw away).

Store in the fridge to last a few months (with all non-toxic and natural solutions these will go rancid  if you don’t use them for a while unless refrigerated).

For a gentle shampoo/body wash (this is great for people with very sensitive scalps/eczema):

  • 5 soap nuts
  • 5 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 3 cups water
1. Boil the soap nuts in a muslin bag, or if you don’t have one just throw them into a medium saucepan with 2 cups of water. You could always use a clean sock and tie a knot at the top!
2. Let these simmer for half hour and add the final one cup of water.
3.Strain the soap nuts and reserve the liquid. Once cool add the essential oil and decant into a bottle.
Clean, the au natural way!