What Are Soap Nuts?

Soap nuts aren’t actually nuts, but berries!

Soap nuts are a berry that has soap qualities to them. Learn about the plant and how you can use them to replace store bought soap.
Soap nuts are a berry that has soap qualities to them. Learn about the plant and how you can use them to replace store bought soap.


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Soap nuts come from a genus called Sapindus which includes a group of small trees and shrubs that produce a berry that contains natural saponins.

There are a quite a few different species of soap nut trees, even some that are native to North America. For the most part, they grow in tropical and sub-tropical areas around the world. They require a lot of water and some species can grow to be over 80 feet tall.

Sapindus mukorossi, or the Chinese Soapberry, grows in southern China and in India produces soapnuts with the highest concentration of saponins.

Soap nuts have been used medicinally to treat excessive salivation, epilepsy, psoriasis, head lice, and migraines. In Ayurvedic medicine, it has been used to treat eczema and psoriasis but has traditionally been used as a cleanser and to remove head lice.

Today, soap nuts have become a popular alternative to commercialized soaps. Since the soap nuts have natural soap in them and no other added chemicals or fragrances, it is a great soap alternative for those with sensitive skin. It is very gentle and doesn’t have much of a smell.

How are soap nuts used?

There are many different ways to use soap nuts!

  • Laundry- Use 3-4 shells in a muslin bag for an average load of laundry, 5+ for a larger and/or dirtier load of laundry. Last 2-4 loads.
  • Dishwasher
  • Shampoo
  • Hand soap
  • Household Cleaners
  • Garden- can use in place of pesticides!

Just a tip when using soap nuts: the saponins in the soap nuts are best activated in warm-hot water. If you are going to do a load of laundry in cold water either use soap nut liquid or add some hot water to a small cup/mason jar with your muslin bag of soap nuts and add the water and bag to your laundry. Soap nuts will not get out stains.

Learn how to make soap nut liquid here! (coming soon)

Where to get soap nuts

Starwest Botanicals- 4oz-1lb
Cotton Muslin Bags

Amazon- 1lb
Cotton Muslin Bags

Have you used soap nuts before? Comment below!

Disclaimer: All information on Not Your Typical Hippie is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor, veterinarian, dietician, or health expert. If you wish to have advice on a medical problem, please consult a doctor. I cannot guarantee that any information provided will work for every person. Please consult a doctor before making any health changes. I am not liable for any choices you make based on the information provided on this website. (Learn more here)