Where do soap nuts come from?

Perhaps we should begin by explaining that soap nuts are the natural, gentle and amazingly effective way to wash your clothes. They come from Sapindus mukorrossi, aka the Chinese soapberry tree, which grows across the lowland areas of Taiwan as well as the forests of China, Nepal, India and Japan. The tree is an endemic species in Taiwan and the Taiwan Forest Bureau has designated the Chinese soapberry tree as one of the primary species for its reforestation programmes.

Extracts of the pericaps (soap nut) were traditionally used to clean both the hair and the body. Its detergent action has been used to clean delicate shawls and silks. The main active constituents are saponins, which are generally considered as non-volatile detergent-like compounds with foaming and emulsifying properties. In addition, saponins are considered to exhibit pharmacological and medicinal properties, including antimicrobial, insecticidal and spermicidal effects.

A cotton or muslin bag containing soap nuts can replace your laundry powder or liquid. When the nuts become wet they release the saponins, which, in turn circulate as a natural surfactant - freeing dirt, grime, and oils from clothing. Simple, natural, effective! Soap nuts are especially useful for those with sensitive skin. They are not nuts, by the way, but berries. A 1kg bag of Wild & Precious Soap Nuts could last for as many as 300 washes!