Soap Nutsare a berry shell that naturally contains soap. They grow on the Sapindus mukorossi (Soap Berry) tree in the Himalayas.
The natural soap found in these berries is called saponin. Saponin is a natural cleaner that works as a surfactant, breaking the surface tension of the water to penetrate the fibers of your clothing, lifting stains from the fabric, and leaving dirt suspended in the water that is rinsed away.
Soap Nuts are gentle on both clothes and skin, making them ideal for those with sensitive skin, eczema, allergies and psoriasis. Because they are so mild, they are perfect for baby clothes and even cloth diapers. Soap Nuts are also great for septic and grey water systems. Unlike commercial soaps, that have artificial foaming agents, soap nuts do not produce lots of bubbles or foam. While commercial detergents and soaps have marketed heavily around that visual, foam simply is not an indicator of cleaning power.
Soap Nuts are actually a berry fruit related to the lychee and are not nuts at all. They are completely nut allergy safe and have been used successfully with no reactions by people with nut allergies. They earned the name “nuts” because of the way that they dry into hard shells resembling nuts, as opposed to squishy fruit. If you have heard of “Soap Berries” they are the same thing, and both terms are used interchangeably.
While Soap Nuts have been a terrific solution for many customers with skin allergies and other conditions, people who have many allergies or compromised immune systems should always take proper precautions and first wash one small item in a small container or sink OR do a patch test before washing an entire load in the washing machine.