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Soap Nut Tips

Using Soapnuts

General instructions for washing machine use: Place 6-8 half shells (or equivalent pieces) in the small wash bag provided, and place in the washing machine. If using cold wash, soak the bag of nuts in warm/hot water first for a few minutes and then tip the bag and water into the wash.


Wash as normal. There is no need to add any fabric softener or remove the bag between the wash and rinse cycle, as any residual saponin (which would not be much) will just add body and softness to your laundry, and is non-irritating to the skin. After wash, remove the nuts from the bag and let bag and nuts dry. The nuts can be reused up to 6 times in cold water (until the soapnuts become darker and lose their sheen). Hotter washes will give less rewashes, perhaps only one or two in very hot water.


An alternative method is to make liquid soap (see below) and use this instead of the nuts in the bag.


Used soapnuts can be disposed of in compost or mulch. Washing water can be reused as grey water as it only contains pure natural ingredients.


Other uses for Soapnuts

Soapnuts are a very cost effective and efficient alternative to commercial laundry detergents, and they can be used for a number of different purposes, some of which are listed below. Please note these are only suggestions, and there is really no incorrect way to use them. Feel free to experiment and see what works best for you.


Liquid Soap

Boil 15-20 half shells in 500mls of water for 5-10 minutes, allow to cool and pass through a sieve to remove the shells. Store the liquid in an air tight container, and dispose used shells into compost. Note the liquid soap has a short shelf life (several days), and therefore it may be best to freeze ice cubes of the liquid soap for use as required.


Household Cleaner

The liquid soap can be put in a clean spray bottle and used as a regular cleaner around the house (including windows), and works as effectively as chemical cleaners. Afew drops of Eucalyptus oil can be added if desired.



Use the liquid soap, adding water soluble essential oils if desired, to soak and hand-wash delicates.



Place 3 shells in 500ml water. Simmer for 10 minutes and add cornflour to thicken if desired as well as any essential oils to scent (Lavender is great).  The shampoo will not lather as you may be used to but it will clean your hair. PLEASE KEEP AWAY FROM THE EYES.


Relaxing/Cleansing Bath

Place 3-4 soap nut shells in washbag and allow to steep in hot bathwater for 5 minutes. Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil. PLEASE KEEP AWAY FROM THE EYES


Pet Wash

Use a mild solution (3-4  shells in 1 litre of hot water). PLEASE KEEP AWAY FROM THE EYES.


Jewellery Cleaner

Use a mild solution (3-4 shells in 500mls hot water) to soak jewellery before rinsing, drying and polishing. It is non abrasive and does not damage the precious metals.


In the garden

A mild solution of soapnuts (3-4 shells in 1 litre of hot water) sprayed on leaves will help repel small insects like aphids and thrips.