I truly enjoy discovering products or ingredients that can seriously multitask. I wanted to use this natural laundry option for awhile before writing about it. It turned out to be even better than I thought it would. What I love even more is that it I can use this same natural detergent to make a gentle shampoo which leaves my hair surprisingly shiny and clean. If you’re not sure what I’m referring to, it’s soap berries aka soap nuts!
I purchased Eco Nuts Organic Laundry Detergent, yet if you can find organic soap nuts locally in bulk that’s even better as there is no packaging at all or extra shipping. This laundry detergent comes in a recyclable/compostable paper box filled with dried organic and wild-harvested soap nuts along with two tiny canvas wash bags. To use put 4-5 soapnuts into a wash bag, and place the bag into the laundry machine with your dirty clothes. You leave this bag in the laundry machine for the wash and rinse cycle.
Soap nuts contain saponins (which is nature’s soap) that acts as both a laundry detergent and fabric softener in one.
Doing laundry has never been this easy! You can also reuse the same soap nuts until they become paper thin which means that one box of Eco Nuts Organic Laundry Detergent will provide up to 100 loads of fresh clean laundry. Also as it states on the box “This box saves 3.125 plastic detergent bottles from ever making it to a landfill or winding up in the ocean.” Not to mention there are no questionable or toxic chemicals entering our water supply!
I adore that this laundry detergent is so ideal for my super sensitive skin, and it keeps my capsule wardrobe in fresh clean condition!
Soap nuts are also referred to as “aritha” in Ayurvedic hair care. I have used aritha powder before as a natural shampoo, and had some challenges rinsing all of the grainy bits from my hair. Not fun especially with tightly curly hair which can’t be brushed once dry to release all the bits. Although making a natural shampoo with whole soap nuts is pretty awesome in my opinion.
To make this simple and effective soap nut/aritha shampoo, allow 4-5 soap nuts to steep in a 16 ounce jar of boiling water overnight.
In the morning strain the liquid to use as shampoo. You can always blend in cornstarch, arrowroot powder, xanthan gum, or guar gum to thicken up this liquid if you like as well. Play around with the amount to find the best consistency for your hair and preferences. A great place to start is 1/4 tsp. You can always add more. Use soap nut/aritha shampoo as you would your normal shampoo, then condition or style your hair as usual.
Store any remaining soap nut shampoo in the refrigerator, and keep it up to a week to be safe. If you know that you will not use it all, freeze what will not be used for later use. Just as with the laundry detergent, you can also reuse the same soap nuts to make shampoo again. Let the soap nuts dry thoroughly before the next use. Compost paper thin soap nuts instead of tossing them. No more unnecessary shampoo bottles!
Here’s another example of how the zero waste lifestyle can truly save you tons of money while also having a small carbon footprint on the planet. This is a win win in my mind. Our eco-friendly everyday choices can make huge strides for our planet! (Soap nuts are nut allergy safe too!)
New to natural herbal hair care? Read this! You can also find more on zero waste here.
(Image by Dawn Michelle)