Making soap nuts liquid at home is very easy. It’s simply a matter of putting some approximate 15 soap nuts in 6 cups of water in a pot of water and boiling the water, then reducing it to a simmer for about 30 minutes.
But yesterday I started to think about ways that I could make soap nuts liquid just as concentrated without using the electric to boil the water. In essence making soap nuts liquid greener by not using any fossil fuels to create it if possible. After all one of the main reasons I use soap nuts is to reduce my carbon footprint and remove chemicals from my cleaning and personal care environment.
Here are some ideas about ways to make soap nuts liquid at home but to make the whole process greener and more efficient.
Soap Nuts Tea – Solar Power – Sun Tea Versions
Take the equivalent of 20 whole soap nuts and drop them into an empty clear plastic (or glass) container like a 2 liter soda bottle. I used an empty limeade bottle that holds 50 ounces of liquid, which is about 1 1/2 liters. Fill the bottle to just below the neck and place it outside in the sun for approximately 8 hours. Remember to shake the bottle around every couple of hours so that as the soap nuts soften from being in the water the saponin will release in greater concentration. Another helpful note is if you have pieces your soap nuts liquid will be ready faster because the broken pieces have more ready access to the saponin in the soap berry pulp. Alternatively you can crunch the soap nuts up in your hand or mash them up into pieces by any other means you devise.
I decided to be a bit scientific about this to see if there would be an advantage to using soap nuts powder to make the liquid. I have read that many people do this, and I thought as long as I was at it why not give that a try.
Here’s what I did to make soap nuts liquid using soap nuts powder and the power of the sun to get the saponin to release. For this version I used an empty water bottle that holds 3 liters of water.
Take a container similar to the above instructions and pour approximately 5 tablespoons of soap nuts powder into the empty container. Now add the water to just below the neck of the bottle, cap and shake. You will see the color change immediately to a kind of golden to carmel color. I left mine outside overnight right next to the bottle of soap nuts tea I was making using the whole soap berries.
My theory was that since they were side by side and started at approximately the same time I’d be able to see which green soap nuts liquid method was most efficient and concentrated. The 5 tablespoons of soap nuts powder is basically equivalent to 25 soap nuts. So my portions were pretty close especially since I used a slightly larger empty water bottle for the soap nuts powder version.
Now let’s discuss affordability of this method. If you use soap nuts in the laundry 20 soap berries will produce about 20 medium size loads of laundry in a standard washing machine. That’s if you use the generally accepted 4-5 soap nuts in a wash bag for each load and approximately 3-5 loads of laundry from each fresh wash bag.
I just did my first load of laundry using the soap nuts powder based soap nuts liquid. I used 1/8 of a cup of the liquid in a medium load using cold water. That’s approximately 1 fluid ounce. So in theory the 3 liter bottle of soap nuts liquid I made using this greener soap nuts powder method should yield me 101 loads of laundry.
So the same amount of soap nuts powder would only do about 5 loads of laundry because basically you use 2-3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) of soap nuts powder for a standard load, but by putting the powder into a bottle and setting it in the sun I extracted more saponin from the powder and will get 20 times as many loads.
I’ll let you do the cost analysis on the whole soap berry method of making soap nuts sun tea yourself.
Play with the concentration yourself to if this is a viable green alternative to making soap nuts liquid for yourself without using any electricity. Yes I realize that electric is used to grind the soap nuts powder, but compare less than 2 minutes of grinding soap nuts in a coffee grinder with heating a pot of water to boiling and then simmering it for 30 minutes. Soap nuts are about as green as you can get when it comes to both laundry and cleaning, but if we can find ways to make them even greener, why the heck not.
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Once you’ve got your soap nuts sun tea to the concentrate you want, be adventurous and use it as a soap nuts shampoo, chemical free glass cleaner, natural dishwashing soap, chemical free hand soap, or chemical free jewelry cleaner. You’ll be amazed how affordable and naturally you can clean your home and all the green cleaning products you can make using soap nuts tea as the basis.
Also reusing a bottle you already have further reduces recycling making this an even greener way to use soap nuts.
The first load of laundry I did with the soap nuts powder based soap nuts liquid just finished. When I removed the clothes from the washer everything smelled good and clean, even the laundry bag of socks. So this method passed the sniff test.
Since it took me awhile to finish this post the first load is now dry and the results seem great. Lots of soft clean laundry just like I get from soap nuts in a wash bag or stove top soap nuts liquid.
Go ahead … experiment … worst case the soap nuts liquid is less concentrated than you want and you either add more powder or soap berries to it and put it back out in the sun.