Soapberries, humble little berries that might be the answer to your chemical free and eco-friendly dreams. These berry-like nuts are native to India and the Himalayas, and are naturally full of saponin so when mixed with water, saponin gets released and soap bubbles form!
They’re biodegradable, compostable, certified organic, chemical free, waste free and vegan. But how can you start using them at home?
Soapberries as laundry detergent
Perhaps the most popular and well-known use for soapberries is laundry detergent. It’s as easy as adding 5-6 berries to a cotton wash bag, adding 2-3 drops of essential oils (optional) and throwing it into the washing machine!
These hypoallergenic and unscented berries will leave your clothes feeling soft and clean. The berries last about 5 washes before they become brittle, so a whole 250g or 1kg bag will last you YONKS! Simply add them to compost to break down when they reach the end of their life.
Soapberries as laundry soaker
Not just for the machine, you can also use soapberries to soak your clothes!
- Add soapberries into a tub or bucket of warm water
- Agitate water to release more saponins
- Submerge clothes
This method can also be used to wash delicates, and when you’re out camping.
Soapberry liquid base
This base recipe is so versatile it can be used for multiple applications.
- Boil your soapberries into a concentrated liquid for 10-15 minutes (Recommended: 10 shells per 1L of water)
- Stir berries while pressing them gently (without breaking) to release extra saponins
- Once cooled, strain liquid through a cloth or muslin
- To extend life of your soapberry liquid base, add a natural preservative (e.g. critic acid – Recommended: 1 tsp citric acid per 500mL water).
- Keep in fridge to extend shelf life. Your liquid should last up to 4 weeks.
Soapberries as shampoo/body soap alternative
So now that you know the Soapberry Liquid Base, time to play around! To make soapberry shampoo or body soap:
- Add some guar gum, agar agar or corn flour to the liquid. Mix and add more until you reach your desired consistency
- Add a few drops of your favourite essential oils to create a fresh smelling scent
- Mechanically blend the ingredients together to full combine
- Store in a reusable jar and use as needed
Soapberries as shaving cream
For a rich, moisturising cream, try this!
- Drizzle olive oil into your thickened Soapberry Liquid Base (Recommended: 1 tbps of olive oil per 100mL liquid)
- Before blending, add essential oils (Lavender works well!)
- Use blender to form an emulsified cream
This blend is also gentle enough to use as a baby wash for your delicate newborn’s skin.
Soapberries as a general household cleaner
Mouldy bathroom? Dirty windows? Dirty kitchen table?
- Mix 2/3 Soapberry Liquid Base with 1/3 vinegar
- Add a few drops of Eucalyptus Oil, lavender or citrus oils to act as natural preservative and antibacterial
- Pour mix into a reusable spray bottle