Here in Nelson is a wonderful store called Global Soaps. They hand-make beautifully perfumed natural soaps, shampoos and fizz bombs. They also sell an unusual product called soap nuts, an eco friendly natural product for clothes washing. These 'nuts' are actually a fruit which grows on trees in Nepal and India.
The small fruit, cherry sized, contain natures own natural detergent saponin. The saponin is a natural 'sudsy' substance which repels dirt, pests and bacteria. When the inedible fruit falls it is harvested, the seeds are removed and the husk dried and it is then used for washing, where it makes mild suds with absolutely no chemicals. The nuts can be used time and again until they dissolve and flake naturally. The remaining husks can then go into the vegetable garden where they are known to repel mice and slugs and snails.
The Sapindus Mukorossi Tree grows mainly in the Himalayan region and is rather acacia like in appearance. When harvested, the fruit, or soap nuts, are then Fairtraded throughout the world.
|Sapindus Mukorossi Tree|
Via Pohon Lerak
To use in a washing machine, four or five nuts are placed in a small muslin bag and put directly into the warm wash. As no detergent is used, and there is no residue, the rinse cycle can be omitted (ie. wash and then spin) and afterwards the same nuts can be used up to a further six times.