Soapnuts are known worldwide by many names such as soapberry, Reetha (Hindi), Chinese soapberry and many more. Very simply, soapnuts are the dried shells or husks from the soapberry tree.
Based upon its high
amount of 'soap' content ( 12 - 18% ) and consistency, the highest
quality soapnut is Sapindus Mukorossi, which grows primarily in northern
India and Nepal.The soapnut tree grows uncultivated in
poor quality ground and helps fights erosion, particularly in the
Himalayan foothills. It also provides needed income to the local
population. It is a relatively hardy tree being resistant to
diseases and insects (due to the high amounts of saponin which are a
natural pest and insect repellent for the tree - and us as well!). The
tree grows to 10 to 20 meters in height and begins flowering and
bearing fruit after about 9 years. The tree has great longevity and
will produce fruit (soap nuts) for about 90 years.
The saponin contained in these
soapnuts which produces a soaping effect, is a 100% natural alternative
to chemical laundry detergent and cleansers. It can replace
many chemical detergents such as those containing sodium laureth
sulphate (SLS) that are becoming well known by consumers for being a
skin irritant and health hazard. The detergent which goes out as waste
also has the antimicrobial properties which causes cleaning of the
drainage and sewer system and thus becomes eco-friendly.
Soapnuts are highly-effective and gentle at the same time.
It will leave your laundry fresh and clean and compared to other
detergents, its mildness will keep colours bright, maintaining fabric
structure of your clothes for longer periods. It can be used on all
fabrics and at all temperatures.
These little shells are
good for the environment, good for you and good for the families that
harvest it...and we have gone completely nuts for these things!