As part of our efforts to reduce our exposure to chemicals we are trying to replace as many of our cleaning products with natural alternatives as we can. The last few years I’ve had fairly repeated flair-ups of Eczema on my hands so we decided to look for something to replace our hand-soap and possibly body wash and shampoo too.
Enter – Soap Nuts. Yup soapnuts, soap made from nuts. Allow Wikipedia to explain:
“Sapindus is a genus of about five to twelve species of shrubs and small trees in the Lychee family, Sapindaceae, native to warm temperate to tropical regions in both the Old World and New World. The genus includes both deciduous and evergreen species. Members of the genus are commonly known as soapberries or soapnuts because the fruit pulp is used to make soap. The generic name is derived from the Latin words saponis, meaning “soap”, and indicus, meaning “of India”.”
Astrid ordered some from the deliciously easy to remember soapnuts.co.nz, instructions for use are on the website so I won’t go too far into it but basically it’s not much more than grinding them up and mixing with water to make a paste. Otherwise you can buy the powder and again just mix with water to make a paste. Now I’ll be honest, the end result doesn’t really look that great. It’s kind of…..pooey and on top of that it does have a smell somewhat reminiscent of wet dog. But you can add essential oils to the mixture to give it a more pleasant smell and honestly I’ve found after a couple of weeks of using it I really don’t mind the smell any more and the gritty texture does leave you with a very “clean” feeling skin. I’ve also noticed a pretty dramatic reduction of any skin irritation so all in all we’re both really happy with the product. It’s also good to have reduced the amount of chemicals being washed down the drain into our septic tank too.
One thing we did try was using the mixture as a shampoo but the gritty texture just didn’t work so we’ve gone back to our normal eco-store alternative.
So there it is: soapnuts. If you can find a stockist near you we’d highly recommend you try them whether you just want to reduce the amount of chemical nastiness you come into contact with, suffer from eczema and sensitive skin or just like the smell of wet dogs 🙂
More info on Wikipedia here.
All the best.