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As prices at the grocery store continue to steadily climb, many (including myself) are looking for alternatives to the normal brands in order to save the family budget. I have just discovered soap nuts and I believe I am in love with these little guys. At 14 cents per load, soap nuts are already very economical, not to mention all natural, versatile, and have a storage life that can last for years!
Soap nuts or soap berries are the dried fruit of the Sapindus tree that contains a natural soap ingredient called saponin. Researching this dried fruit further, it actually has a multitude of other uses including some anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
Soap nuts can be used whole,or made into liquid form to clean the body and hair, can be used on pets and is also an a gentle but effective mosquito repellant that can even be used on children and pets. The best part is they can be reused several times and then composted. They also work as a natural fabric softener which is great for line drying and are gentle enough to use with septic and gray water systems.
Other uses include:
- Hand soap
- Dishwasher soap
- Window cleaner
- All purpose cleaner
- Pest and mosquito repelant
- Carpet cleaner
- Pet shampoo
- Lice remover
- Jewelry cleaner
A liquid can easily be made from the soap berries and poured into ice cube trays and frozen for future uses. Melt them as needed, or just toss some in with your laundry. If you are making other soap nut cleaners, melt as many as needed for the solution. If you make a large batch of this liquid, it can be preserved for future uses.
To preserve the liquid:
(Courtesy of www.superiorsoapnuts.com)
You will need resealable and sterilized quart jars and soap nut shells.
Place the equivalent of 7-10 soap nuts in each jar. (It's better to use smaller soap nut pieces). Fill with boiling water but leave a 1/2 inch space at the top. Place the lid on securely.
PRESSURE COOKER: Place the jars in the canner, and process according to manufacturer's instructions for 15 minutes at 10 lbs of pressure.
Use only canning jars if you use this method.