Soap Nuts: The Benefits and Uses

Soap nuts (Sapindus mukorossi), also known as soap berries, are originally from India and Nepal. The nuts come from the soap nut tree with fruits that look like small black berries.

To get soap nuts, the berries are deseeded and dried in the sun to form a dry shell. The dry shell is what you buy as soap nuts because they act just like soap! In fact, traditionally, Indians used soap nuts to wash their clothes, bodies, and hair.

Soap nuts create a soapy liquid and form lather when dried and boiled.


The Benefits and Uses of Soap Nuts

Here are some of the amazing things soap nuts can do.

Natural Shampoo that Lathers

One of the beauty benefits of soap nuts is its use for hair care by promoting hair growth and a healthy scalp. Since they are rich in saponin (a natural cleansing agent), they have the ability to form a lather.

To make natural shampoo with soap nuts, simply grind up or pound 10 soap nuts using a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. You can add 1 and ½ cups of water to the paste. Then add 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 7 drops rosemary essential oil. Shake well and your shampoo is ready!

Treats Skin Rashes & Allergies

Even with conventional soaps and cleansers, the rashes and allergies on the skin could get even more irritated. The truth is these cleansers may actually strip the skin of its natural sebum, leaving it feeling dry and stiff. Thankfully, soap nuts are good for the skin and do not leave it feeling dry as they can help treat and soothe allergies. Soap nuts are also suitable for babies as they are hypoallergenic and contain no toxins.

To use for treating rashes and allergies, simply add ½ cup of water to ¼ cup of soap nuts liquid in a foaming soap dispenser. Gently wash the affected area and rinse off with cool water to refresh and soothe the skin.

Effective as a Face Wash

It is advisable to reduce the number of chemicals used on the face daily. Therefore, soap nuts are a good alternative face wash as it is very gentle on the skin and effective for treating issues with sensitive skin, including psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema.

Simply pour ¼ cup soap nuts liquid into a foaming soap dispenser then add ½ cup water, drops of lavender essential oil, and drops of tea tree essential oil. Make sure to shake well and use twice on a daily basis.

Useful for Pedicure

You can make use of soap nuts liquid for your foot soak or pedicure. It allows for smooth and soft feet. You only need to add ¼ cup of soap nuts liquid to some warm water. Add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to it and soak your feet for about 15 minutes. This is just as effective as the conventional pedicure.

Good for the Hair

In traditional medicine, soap nuts are considered good for the hair as it prevents and even reduces hair loss. For people who have been suffering from hair loss, soap nuts can act as a shampoo. Try out the shampoo recipe mentioned above.

Cleans Jewelry

Do you want to clean your jewelry without destroying it? Well, you need soap nuts liquid. You can put your jewelry in a bowl then add 1 tbsp of soap nuts liquid. Then fill the bowl with water. Allow the jewelry soak for about 20 minutes then scrub gently with an old toothbrush.

Takes Care of Yellow Nails

Nobody wants yellow nails and luckily, something can be done about it. To gently remove these yellow stains, use soap nut liquid as they do not leave your nails brittle.

Simply add 2 teaspoons of soap nuts to a big bowl then add some warm water. You can add lemon juice as well as ½ teaspoons of olive oil. Soak the affected nails for about 10 minutes then scrub gently with a nail brush.


Insect Repellent

Simply spray soap nut liquid soap around the affected areas in your environment or house to repel pests. Interestingly, you can spread crushed and berries around the area to repel insects as well.

For Washing your Car

Did you know that soap nut berries can be used to wash your car? Simply soak some berries in some hot water and extract the saponins. You can then use the solution to wash your car. Interestingly, the solution is biodegradable and useful for watering plants.

Functions as an All-Purpose Cleaner

Soap nuts can be used for making an all-purpose cleaner to remove dirt from glasses and cabinets. Simply pour soap nuts liquid in a spray bottle and add powerful essential oils like lemon and lavender for fragrance. You can then spray the liquid on the affected area and wipe it with a soft towel.

This solution can also be used to clean electronic gadgets. However, ensure that you do not spray the liquid directly on the screen of the gadget. You can also drop some on a soft towel and wipe the screen with it. It is also useful for cleaning granite, marble, stainless steel, and kitchen surfaces.

Side Effects and Precautions

Evidently, soap nuts contain impressive benefits for the skin, hair, as well as overall health. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are risks associated with soap nuts.

Generally, soap nuts do not contain any side effects on the scalp, hair, and skin. But here are some things to note:

·         Avoid soap nuts from having direct contact with your eyes because they contain insecticidal properties that can result in swollen eyelids and allergies.

·         It is advisable to stop using soap nuts if you notice itching, rashes, or any irritation on the skin or hair.

·         Always use good quality soap nuts as they are more effective. Only soap nuts in the specified quantities to avoid wastage.

·         If the soap nuts are left unused for 3 days, they should be thrown away.