February 7, 2013

The fun begins even while you are making your soapnut liquid. With your soapnut liquid you can clean so many things. Warning – cleaning and washing up may become spontaneous, joyful and even therapeutic.

Equipment for Making Soapnut Liquid

  • About 1/3 to 1/2 a packet of soapnuts. It will seem like a huge sacrifice, but it gives me enough washing up and cleaning liquid for a month or so. There will still be plenty in the packet for clothes washing! You can buy more organic soapnuts here!
  • 2L water. Don’t over fill the saucepan otherwise the foam will boil over.
  • A medium saucepan
  • A dinner sized plate for drying the soggy soapnuts
  • Some jars or bottles
  • A strainer or funnel

Make Soapnut Liquid

strain the soapnuts
Strain the soapnuts, so that you can dry and reuse the soapnuts for further brews.

1.    Place your soapnuts in the saucepan with the water.
2.    Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for 10 minutes.
3.    Strain the amber soapnut liquid in your jars.
4.    Dry your soggy soapnuts on a dinner plate.
5.    Reuse the dried soapnuts to make further brews.

I live in a hard water area and I can make 3 brews of strong soapnut liquid and one noticeably weaker decoction. If you have softened water you will obtain a far better performance than me!

Some people prefer to make one brew straight after another, but do bear in mind that home made soapnut liquid does have a shelf life. It keeps well on a cold slab in my kitchen for 1-2 weeks with out any preservative or refrigeration.
Some people soak the soapnuts overnight for a very slow extraction of soapy liquid, but eventually heat will be required to extract all of the soap present.

You can keep extra bottles in the fridge, or add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract to act as a preservative.

FAQs on Soapnut Liquid

Can you do anything to alter the smell of the soapnut liquid?

Soapnuts have a unique ‘sweet and sour’ smell. You could try adding lemon or orange rinds to the saucepan, rosemary sprigs or other aromatic garden herbs, a few cloves, a cinnamon stick…let me know where your aromatic adventures take you!

How do I know if my soapnuts are still producing soap?

If when you squeeze a soggy soapnut which has been used several times and bubbles still come, it has more life in it. Eventually you will need to bid farewell to your soapnuts as you tip them in the compost bin or the cooked ‘food’ recycling bin.

More ideas on how to use soapnuts.

About the Author Sally Mittuch

Hello, after my degree involving Archaeology and Anthropology and lecturing for 8 years, I founded Natural Spa Supplies in 2007, an award winning eco business which specialises in pure products straight from nature for washing and cleaning.
When I am not working, I am gardening, playing folk music on the concertina and harp. I am also the village tree warden - growing trees from local tree seeds to increase local biodiversity. I hope you will join me on my eco adventures.

Share your thoughts
  1. Hello Rachelle,
    yes, I really like to add a few cloves to my soapnuts.

    However, at the moment I am experimenting with cold infusion methods. I have already obtained a really strong solution by soaking 12 soapnuts in 200ml of water and now a second batch which took more squeezing.

    Soak the soapnuts in water for at least 1 hour (I have been doing overnight).
    Squeeze the soapnuts to extract the soap.
    Remove the soapnuts and dry them on a plate
    Use the liquid.

    I’ll carry on with these soapnuts and see if I can get further batches or at which point I will need to heat them.

  2. Thanks for a great tutorial Sally; I’ve recently seen soapnut liquid as a ready-made product but love the DIY idea. I’ve struggled to use soapnuts for laundry as you know, but making a liquid cleaner sounds a fab idea. I hate the smell of them so am grateful you share some tips for adding a suitable scent. I love citrus and cinnamon so am definitely going to give this a go.
    I think I’d keep my made up liquid in the bathroom which is right next to the kitchen, but pretty cold 🙂

  3. The packets are approx 250g, and so I use about half a packet at a time for making soapnut liquid. The hardness of the water is the main variable. I have hard water so I boil up about half a packet at a time in about 2L of water. As the soapnuts are reusable, the half packet gives me three strong brews and one week brew of soapnut liquid. If you had softer water you would probably get away with 1/3 of a packet or even less.
    Once you have made some soapnut liquid up you won’t be able to believe how useful it is. It cleans so many things and without the need to protect the hands with gloves.

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