Monday, October 9, 2017

Is Your Soap Nuts

(Written By Natural Healing Gal, Marie)

When I first saw this in a health food store, I am sure I had the same reaction as many of you will have while reading this. Huh??  What are soap nuts?  I saw no explanation of what they were, so I did not look at them for long, continued my shopping, and forgot about them for a while.

I am not crazy about “perfumy” smells. I find them too strong and irritating. I do love essential oils, and I love the smell of a natural clean. We have been conditioned to believe that “clean” means to smell like a bottle of cologne, or your clothes and house need to smell like bleach. I used to think the same way until I became so sensitive to detergents that my skin would break out in a rash.

Over time, I went for the more “sensitive skin” type of “name brand” detergents. As I learned to read more labels, I saw even those contained irritants and toxins that I did not want on my skin.  I certainly prefer to avoid adding more toxins to our groundwater. The earth can only filter out so much. I went back to looking around for new things to try.

I do my best to use the most natural products I can find. I love Dr. Bronner’s lavender soap, and I use it for hand soap, body washes, and I was using it to bathe my dogs. I was also using a good, natural shampoo and conditioner by Jason that I was pretty happy with, and a lot of Seventh Generation products, though that is beginning to change.

I eventually came across soap nuts again. I was thinking, hmmm…what the heck are these? I was curious, so I looked it up online, and decided to give them a try.  Part of me was wondering if my soap is nuts!

Soap nuts look a little like walnuts, with a hollow center. According to Naturoli, “very simply, soap nuts are the dried shells (or husks) from the soapberry (or soap berry nut)."

These berries are the fruit from a unique tree species. These shells contain a substance called saponin that produces a soaping effect. Saponin is a 100% natural alternative to chemical laundry detergent and cleansers. It can replace many chemical detergents that are becoming well known by consumers for being a skin irritant and health hazard.”

Soap nuts are 100% biodegradable, low suds, hypoallergenic, with natural antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Basically, you put 5-6 of these shells in a small fabric bag, toss it in your top loading washer, and your clothes come out clean. There is a mild scent that takes a little getting used to that does not smell like any detergent or perfume, they are pretty inexpensive and last for 4-6 loads of the average washload.

It is easier to use Soap Nuts Liquid, which is very concentrated.  There is a product I have used called Extreme 18x. It is surprising how little of it you need because one squirt does the trick.  I added some baking soda to the fabric softener dispenser, and I am pleased with the results. My front loading washing machine stays clean and has none of the nasty smells that I hear so much about. If you expect it to work like the commercial detergents and the ads that tell you how white your whites will be, you will be disappointed. If you want naturally clean clothes and want to feel good about the environment, you will be quite pleased, as I am.

What impressed me more was I could make my own dog shampoo to bathe my dogs!  I take 8-12 of the soap nuts and simmer them in water in a medium pot of water on the stove for 20 minutes or so. I then add enough cold water to make a gallon, pour it into a gallon jug leaving the shells behind, and use it as shampoo. When making this soap nut “tea,” it only lasts a day or two, so I make just enough the night before and use it all up. Low suds, mild, rinses easily (which can be tricky with dogs that have a thick coat like mine do), and I can add any essential oil I want. My dogs come out clean and fresh smelling, their coat feels soft, and very rarely do I get that “doggy odor.” I can bathe them once a week with no skin irritations.

I then tried their “Extreme” shampoo for myself. I really like it! I love how my hair feels, how I only need a little, and there is no residue and no perfumy smell.

As I read more, there are many other uses for soap nuts. There are some scams out there, so be aware. I am pleased with Naturoli soap nuts, and they are honest about their products. I will be trying soap nuts out more in the near future!

Until the next month, I hope your soap is healthy!

 - Marie (Natural Healing Gal)

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Please note that this blog post and these remedies are for information purposes only.  Please consult with your own medical providers should you have medical questions and see the Medical Disclaimer here.

Also make sure that you read and follow any label directions for products listed in these blog posts.  This is the opinion and practice of Marie, but make sure you are being safe in how you use the products.

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