How to make natural soap and detergent from soap nuts at home

When Padma Sankar, or as she is better known in the digital world – “Padhu Sankar”, lost her grandmother to cancer and then her father in 2008 to the same disease, she was devastated.

The 50-year-old woman from Tamil Nadu, after going through her grief, started to wonder why cancer as a disease is so prevalent and how current lifestyle choices are responsible for it.

“After my research which involved internet research, discussions with friends and my own reflection, I realized that environmental pollution and long-term exposure to chemicals in our daily products were to blame” , she said to The best India.

Padhu Sankar, Photo credits: Padhu Sankar

When this realization dawned on him, Padhu decided to switch from using regular toilet cleaners, detergents and dishwashing liquids to natural alternatives for the same.

“Along with the natural change, I decided to change everything that was under my control,” she says, adding that she started living a more sustainable life.

She started collecting papers to save on wasted ones, reused old towels for dusting, used vegetable peelings to prepare dishes, and watered plants in the garden with gray water.

Brewing recipes in a virtual kitchen

Once Padhu started making these changes in her life, she thought why not share it with others who are probably also looking for safer alternatives? Thus, the same year, she launched her website ‘Padhuskitchen’ where she talks about cooking, recipes, a healthy lifestyle, tips for an eco-responsible life, etc.

Although she knew people would like this content, she didn’t expect her little tips and tricks to become so popular.

“My videos got a lot of love and my audience often suggested I start a YouTube channel. So when I finally did, it took off and today I have 1,25,000 subscribers,” says- she.

But among the many topics that Padhu talks about on his channel, there is one that has become cult: soap nuts and their many uses.

soap nuts
Soap nuts, Photo credits: Padhu Sankar

One of the most versatile and popular herbs in Ayurveda, the hulls of the soapberry nuts are known for their cleansing action, their ability to cleanse without stripping the skin, and even provide relief to those suffering from itchy or scaly skin. dried.

So when Padhu explained how these can be effectively used as a natural detergent, his followers were amazed and wanted to try them.

She lists some uses of soap nuts:

Soapnut-based dishwashing liquid

Step 1: Soak 15-20 soap nuts in six cups of hot water overnight.

Step 2: The next day, take them in a large saucepan and bring them to a boil.

Boil the soap nuts
Boil the soap nuts, Photo credits: Padhu Sankar

Step 3: Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Step 4: Remove them from the heat and let them cool completely.

Step 5: Once cooled, remove the seeds from the soap nuts and squeeze them with your fingers to extract the soap.

Soap extraction
Soap extraction, Photo credits: Padhu Sankar

Step 6: Strain the liquid and pour it into a bottle.

Step 7: Use it within 5-6 days or refrigerate.

The liquid, Padhu says, is your all-purpose cleanser. “It can be used to clean anything from tiles, cutlery, glass, jewelry, as a car wash, to clean the floor, pet shampoo, clean containers, clothes, etc. ”

She adds that soapnuts can be reused and reboiled three to four times or until they disintegrate.

“Once they’ve done their job, don’t throw away the soap nuts,” she advises. “Compost them.”

Soapnut-Based Laundry Detergent

As Padhu says, using soap nuts at home is nothing new to her. “I saw my grandmother use it to wash her silk sarees and to clean her gold jewellery. It’s something that’s been around for centuries, but we’ve never looked into it.

She adds that not only are they versatile and free of toxic chemicals, but their use also saves water, as it takes very little water to remove soap scum.

Here’s how you can make your own laundry detergent using soap nuts.

Step 1: Place 8-10 soap nuts in an old, unused sock.

Soapnuts are versatile
Soap nuts are versatile, Photo credits: Padhu Sankar

Step 2: Tie the socks at the top so the berries don’t come out when washing.

Step 3: Boil a cup of water. Once it begins to boil, remove from the heat and soak the socks with soap nuts.

Step 4: Let sit for 15 minutes. Let cool.

Step 5: Add the soapnut socks with the water to the washing machine and wash as usual.

Step 6: You can add two drops of your favorite essential oil, but it’s not necessary.

A non-toxic alternative
A non-toxic alternative, Photo credits: Padhu Sankar

Step 7: Alternatively, you can soak the socks with soap nuts overnight and do not boil.

Step 8: When the washing is done, remove the socks with the soap nuts and dry them.

Padhu adds that because soapnuts are natural, the liquid cannot be stored for long.

“If combined with citrus bioenzymes, it will last longer,” she says, adding that 1 kg of nuts lasts her three months.

Edited by Yoshita Rao

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