Have you ever heard of soap nuts? I hadn’t until very recently. I was pretty skeptical at first – the ‘nuts’ (which are actually dried berries) didn’t look like anything special to me.
I ordered some online, and tentatively tried them… and now I’m hooked! We use them for our laundry detergent in place of regular powders, and we use them for our hand soap.
I’ve always been a strong advocate of using hand soap versus bar soap. For me, bar soap is fine if used on only yourself – and then the bar rinsed after use. But after doing Chemistry and Biology lab in my nursing studies and seeing the bacteria growth found on hand soaps used by multiple people, I was a bit grossed out! There were plenty of nice, healthy bar soaps available; but for my own peace of mind, I needed a hand soap for my family!
After researching into soaps, I’ve found that most commercial hand soaps have a few ingredients that aren’t that nice. And for the majority of our families hand washing, I really wanted to find something that was 100% good for us. Mind you I’m not so rigid I don’t use hand soap when I’m out and about, I still like to be clean. But our hands absorb a huge percentage of whatever is used on them – soap included! And it’s what we do the majority of the time that makes the biggest difference.
I had a brief look into making my own hand soap – but it seemed to me like a very involved, time consuming process. And that didn’t really entice me! Buying it was also an option, but no matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t find one without at least one not-the-greatest additive; or with ingredients I could pronounce!
And then I was introduced to Soap Nuts by a friend of mine and her husband, Jana and Ben Meldt. In fact, this is their recipe for soap nut soap with a few tweaks (thank you guys!). Just brilliant. And it REALLY WORKS!!! It’s super duper easy to make, and perfect for sensitive skin or allergies. If I use too much soap on my hands too often, my hands get so, so dry. And sometimes my skin would start to feel like sand paper between my fingers and sometimes crack and bleed (Ouch!). Since using soap nut hand soap – I’ve had gorgeous skin on my hands!! And they feel so clean and silky after I use it.
Home Made Soap Nut Hand Soap
What You Need:
- A foaming hand soap bottle - I bought the above one from a chemist, and tried to pick a colour to match the soap nut soap! Empty out the store-bought hand soap and wash the bottle thoroughly and let dry before use.
- 6 – 8 soap nuts
- 500ml water
- A pot
- Potato masher
- 500ml or more empty jug
- Rubber band
- Tea towel
- Kitchen timer or stop watch
- 4-5 drops of your favourite essential oil (optional)
- Place your soap nuts and water into the pot, place the lid on the pot, and bring to a boil
- Once it just starts to boil, turn the heat right down and let it simmer for 20 minutes (this is when you use the timer!). Leave the lid on :-).
- Using the potato masher, gently press down on the soap nuts nearing the end of the 20 minutes – this helps get all the saponin out of them!
- After 20 minutes, take the pot off heat and let sit until lukewarm, or cool, or even up to a few hours – whatever is convenient.
- Prepare your empty jug by placing a tea towel over the top with a little of it hanging concave into the jug. Secure the tea towel with a rubber band. (It’s so important that you use a tightly woven material of some kind, if you get even tiny particles in your soap it will clog up the foaming soap bottle and it won’t work – speaking from experience!!)
- Take the soap nuts out of the pot and squeeze excess liquid back into the pot.
- Slowly and gently pour the soap nut liquid onto the tea towel into the jug until it’s all in the jug.
- Take the tea towel off and then pour your soap nut liquid into the foaming soap bottle.
- Add a 4-5 drops of your favourite essential oil for a nice smell (on its own, the soap nut soap smell is pretty neutral). I have used Orange Essential Oil, and our latest one was Lemongrass Essential Oil.
- If the soap nut soap doesn’t fill your bottle, top it up with water. It’s still JUST as effective!!
- Soap nut hand soap lasts for about 2 weeks – it can go bad as it has no preservatives. I have stored excess soap nut soap in my fridge for a month or two with no signs of it going bad.
Let me know how you go!