Introduction: Homemade Soap With Multiple Household Uses
First Prize in the
Home Remedies Challenge
I have been using natural homemade products for several years now. I make most of my own cleaning products such as all purpose cleaners, detergent, shampoos, hair rinse, and bath soaps. I am trying to get away from using products that are full of unwanted chemicals. Here is one of the soap products that I have been making that serves many purposes. One of my best home remedies. You can use one recipe for laundry, all purpose cleaner, body wash, and shampoo. I will share with you how to make this simple soap and how well it works. Follow through and let's get started!
Disclaimer: I make and share products that have worked for my family but it does not mean it will work for yours. As with any home made products use common since and research the hazards or health issues that might be associated with the use of these ingredients. I strongly suggest to talk to your doctor especially if you have children. I have read it is safe for children and people with allergies but honestly I have not found conclusive poof so if you use this please understand you do so at your own risk. I have read that the seeds are toxic if swallowed but I don't know for sure. If you get the solution in your eyes it hurts a lot because it stings. Be safe and store the soap-nuts, cleaning solutions, shampoos, body wash, and hand soap out of the reach of small children.
Step 1: Ingredients and Utensils
Soap-nuts: grow on trees and can be de-seeded to use for making liquid soap or the nuts ( or berries can be use if they are deseeded for washing laundry). Soap-nuts have been used for many years before commercial soaps became so popular. Don't confuse these with edible nuts. People call them soap-nuts or soap berries. The tree pictured is called the Western Soap Berry tree and grows in parts of Texas and in my area but there are other parts of the US and world; where different varieties grow and can ordered online if you like. The soap nuts will not scent your laundry because the clothes go through a rinse cycle.
10 Seeded Soap-nuts
4-6 Cups Distilled Water
Small cotton draw string bag
Essential oil if desired.
Dish soap and cooking oil to remove the labels. (optional)
Non reactive sauce pan, plastic spoon, funnel, glass jar, plastic containers safe for natural products, labels for the bottles or a marker pen, Pump spray bottle like the ones used for foaming dish soap (optional).
Step 2: Heat Water
Pour 4 Cups of distilled water into the sauce pan, reserving the 2 cups of water for later.
Add 10 seeded soap-nuts in the cotton bag.
Bring to a boil.
You will begin to see bubbles form.
Reduce the heat to a low boil for about twenty minutes.
This mixture will boil down some.
Remove the soap-nut bag from the mixture, saving the soap-nuts to make 2-3 more batches when needed.
Allow them to air dry or they will mold.
Add enough of the 2 remaining cups of water to make a full 4 cups of soap liquid.
Step 3: Add Essential Oil
Add the essential oil:
Pour the mixture into a measuring cup.
If you like scented products you may add essential oils.
I used a funnel to pour the mixture into small plastic bottles for using while I am cleaning, bathing, or shampooing my hair. I do it this way because this mixture has no preservatives and it will mold unless you keep it in the refrigerator or freezer. It will keep 4-5 days in the refrigerator. I freeze any that is leftover after 5 days so it will not go bad. I just thaw it out when I am out of my supply. I strongly suggest you label your bottles so no one mistakes them for something to drink or eat. Store the formula in the top area of your refrigerator or freezer in a well marked container out of the reach of small children
Step 4: Laundry
How to use it for the laundry:
The first picture shows how sudsy it is but the suds will disappear quickly. However, they DO clean. I thought I would give the soap nuts a challenging job to clean my husband's clothes after he went under the house. I shook out the dirt before placing them in the washer. I used no other fabric cleaners when I washed them. When I washed the socks I did add a couple of soap nut ice cubes for extra boosting power.
I prefer using the soap-nuts by placing 4-5 into a cotton bag with a draw string and throwing the bag into the washer before adding the clothes. The soap-nuts work best in warm or hot water but you can use them in cold water if you soak the berries in hot water for 20 minutes before you place them into the washer. They can be used on front loaders but don't add them to the soap dispenser, place them directly into the washer. You may add the liquid to the washer if you prefer. If I add liquid I usually freeze the liquid in ice-cube trays and later put them into well marked plastic bags and re-freeze them. Take out one or two and use as you would regular laundry soap.
If washing whites, I recommend using a laundry booster like Washing soda because this soap does not have additives to whiten the fabrics. My sister taught me a trick when washing whites. She pre-soaks her whites with laundry soap for 20 minutes; then she will add fabric whiteners and run the load. Her whites always look fabulous.
Keep in mind soap-nuts have low suds but they work quite well.
One more thing. You can re-use the soap berries even though they have gone through the wash. It is best to remove them after they are washed to get 3-4 more washing out of them but if they do accidently get thrown in the dryer it is OK. They can be used as a fabric softener. You will still get one or two more washing from them.
Allow the soap nuts to dry completely between uses so they do not mold.
Step 5: Shampoo
Using the soap-nut formula to wash your hair you; simply wet your hair first.
Apply the liquid all over your hair and work it in with your finger tips.
Let the soap work for about 5 minutes before you rinse it out.
Then rinse it thoroughly and finish off with your favorite hair conditioner if needed.
I usually buff my hair with a dry towel and let it air dry.
Because I have dry hair I use a tiny amount of jojoba oil to my hair and massage it in.
The type of water and essential oils, could change the PH. If you want to know for sure, PH testing strips would be a good way to test it. Please understand it has low suds and although the pump bottle shows suds they disappear quickly after you massage it into your hair. It leaves your hair soft and I have noticed that I don't have a lot of tangles. It does not strip my hair of its natural oils. I have often read that soap nuts help with scalp problems and dandruff.I have posted a new instructable on how to pH balance soap nut shampoo here .
I use a mixture of distilled water and organic vinegar because we have city water with chlorine, and I rinse my hair with tap water. The soap/shampoo will sting your eyes so be careful it does hurt, a lot!
Step 6: Cleaning Solution
Use for an all purpose cleaner:
This recipe works great to clean hard surfaces in the kitchen and bathrooms. I use it all around the house. It does not work very well to wash the dishes though. I am thinking about making a stronger formula and try thickening it for washing the dishes. I have read you can place 2 soap nuts in the dish washer silverware container and wash the dishes. I do not have a dishwasher so I don't know if it works.
Here are pictures where I cleaned the shower/tub. It did a nice job. I clean my bathroom weekly.
I made a big mess on my stove top and waited until the next day to clean it to see how well it removed the hardened spaghetti sauce. As you can see from the pictures it did a decent job without a lot of elbow grease. I did use a little baking soda along with the soap- nut formula on the black drip pans because they needed an abrasive cleaner as well. I have not tried it on my oven yet.
Step 7: Body Wash
It works for a body wash as well as a liquid hand soap. Please consult your doctor before using this on babies and small children and store the soap formula out of the reach of small children.
Step 8: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts
I like the idea of using soap nuts for laundry, cleaning hard surfaces, body and bath, shampoo, and fabric softener, to name a few. Think about how much packaging is reduced by using a product like this. One large bag of soap nuts could easily last a year and the cloth bag is reusable! Think of how much money you can save by making simple recipes for your cleaning and bath products. The cost is a fraction of what you probably spend on commercially made products. The best part is no harmful chemicals are added to it.
My husband has experienced a skin rash when I have used different types of laundry soap but he does not have any reactions to soap nuts. I have not figured out what ingredient in laundry soap causes him to break out. Soap-nuts are free from all of those toxic chemicals you read about online. Using them to replace everyday cleaning products, laundry soap, fabric softeners, shampoo, conditioners, and body wash; you can imagine how many chemicals you can re-duce in your home. I have read that soap nuts will clean greywater.
My husband noticed how soft and shiny my hair was when I began using this formula. This formula helps with scalp problems and dandruff. I have read they are a natural hair conditioner as well.
I hope you like this tutorial and if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or pm me a message and I will reply.
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