How to Use Soapberries
If you haven’t heard about soapberries yet, then listen up! These babies are a 100% natural, eco-friendly wonder that’ll change how you do your laundry and household cleaning forever!
As the name suggests, soapberries are an all-natural plant-based alternative to detergent. They are the fruit of the Sapindus mukorossi tree (closely related to the lychee fruit), and recently have become increasingly popular as people shift towards a more natural lifestyle.
Soapberries are the perfect substitute for ordinary household cleaners with long ingredient lists filled with unpronounceable names of harsh, toxic chemicals. Not only can they be used as a gentle, hypoallergenic laundry detergent, but they can also be used effectively as a bathroom and kitchen cleaner, dishwashing liquid, shampoo and more!
How do soapberries work?
Soapberries are full of saponins – a natural “soap” produced by plants to protect their seeds from nasty insects and microbes. When soapberries are placed in water, the saponins are released and create foamy suds, just like regular cleaners (except without the harmful toxins)! These plant-derived saponins work to lift the stains from your clothes without leaving any residue and are naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal.
Soapberries are odourless and hypoallergenic, making them excellent for sensitive skin. They’re even gentle enough to be safely used to wash baby’s clothes! The best part is that they’re eco-friendly as well, with ZERO plastic waste or environmental pollutants after use. Soapberries can be reused for up to 5 loads of laundry, and once you’re done with them, simply toss into the compost or garden to let them decompose naturally!
How can I use soapberries as a laundry detergent?
To use soapberries as a laundry detergent, all you have to do is pop a few soapberry shells into a small cotton bag and toss into the washing machine with your clothes. The cotton bag makes removing the soapberries from the washing machine much easier once the wash cycle has finished, otherwise you’d have to search for and pick them out one by one!
While your laundry is being washed, the spinning, tumbling motion of the machine agitates the soapberries. This releases its saponins, which then work to clean your clothes and gently lift stains. While soapberries will work both in cold and warm washes, warm water will draw more saponins out – so if you have a particularly dirty load of laundry, turn up the temperature! (Though not too hot – if the temperature is too warm, your soapberries will not last as long.) Alternatively, if your clothes require cold wash only, you can soak the small cotton bag of soapberries in warm water for 3-5 minutes before tossing in with your clothes.
You can use the same soapberries for up to 5 loads of laundry – just remember to air dry them after each cycle to prolong their life. Once the shells become thin and brittle, simply chuck into your garden or compost to dispose of. Because it’s biodegradable, there’s no waste at all!
How can I use soapberries to clean the house?
Soapberries can be boiled to create a multi-purpose cleaning liquid that you can use all around the house! People have used this “soapberry tea” or “soapberry broth” for a variety of purposes including:
- Kitchen and bathroom cleaner
- Floor cleaner
- Shampoo and body wash
- Dishwashing liquid
- Shaving cream
To make this soapberry liquid:
- Add 3 berries per 1 cup of water to a clean and empty pot and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn down the heat, mash the berries inside the pot and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and leave the liquid in the pot to cool.
- Remove and strain the berries before transferring to a jar or bottle.
As soapberry liquid is natural, it will expire over time. It can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days and in the fridge for up to a month. To keep for even longer, you can freeze the soapberry liquid into “batches” of ice cubes that you can use as needed!
How long do soapberries last?
When stored in a cool, dry place, soapberries can last for an indefinite amount of time. This is because they are simply the dried shells of a fruit. However, it is best recommended to use them within two years to get the concentrated power of the saponins (the good stuff).
We hope our article has opened your eyes to how amazing and versatile these little berries are! Who knew Mother Nature could come up with such a powerful household cleaner? Plus, they’re kinder to the environment than the plastic bottles of detergent you see at the supermarket – so if you’re looking to move towards a greener, eco-friendlier lifestyle, the choice to switch to soapberries is clear!