I recently wrote about soap nuts and how they are an amazing choice for natural laundry detergents. Soap nuts are completely natural and easy to use. You simply put 4-5 soap nuts in a bag and toss into your laundry machine. However, there is one catch to using soap nuts in this way; you have to go hunting for that bag before transferring your laundry to the dryer. This can become quite annoying for some people.
If you find that you would prefer something a bit more like your normal “measure and pour” detergent, then I recommend making a liquid from your soap nuts. This does involve some prep work but once you are done, you can simply measure and pour into the wash. The liquid is also nice because if you are washing a cold load then you do not need to do anything different (unlike using actual soap nuts); the liquid works in all types of water.
Homemade Soap Nut Liquid
5-6 soap nuts
Pour water into a saucepan and bring water to a boil.
Add in your soap nuts and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Be careful that your water doesn’t go above a simmer as anything close to a boil can cause your pot to bubble over!
After your 10 minutes is up, remove the pot from heat and allow to cool.
Once cool, strain through a piece of muslin or cheesecloth into a container.
You will probably have slightly less than 2 cups of liquid.
Top your mixture off with water so that you have a total of 2 cups. This is now your final product.
At this point, you can compost your soap nuts or you can be extra frugal and squeeze one last batch of liquid out of them.
If you are re-using your soap nuts for a second batch, I recommend using the same amount of water however, this time simmer for 20 minutes as oppose to the original 10 minutes. It seems to take a bit longer to get a good amount of saponin out with the second time around. Also be sure to smash your soap nuts to get as much saponin out of them as possible.
Once again, you should end up with just under 2 cups of liquid (I’ve found that the second batch yields more liquid although I’ve no idea why) You can add a bit of water so that you end up with 2 cups. If you are making the second batch right after your first batch, I recommend freezing the second batch, as the odds are good that you will not get around to using it before it goes bad.
How to use soap nut liquid to wash laundry
As there are no preservatives in this recipe, your liquid can go bad. It is recommended that you store it in the refrigerator so that it will keep for a week or two. (So far I have gone 2 weeks with no issues) Alternatively, you can also freeze your liquid in ice cubes and just pop a couple ice cubes into the wash when you need to. (Most ice cubes seem to be 1 oz/1tbs each)