Cleaning may not be the most popular activity which we can do at home, but it’s a fact of life and can’t be avoided. Take a wander through any local superstore and it’s obvious that housework is big business. Every aisle in the store is crammed full of cleaning products promising to make your surfaces shiny, take out the work involved with getting things looking sparkly again, and reducing the time and effort spent indoors scrubbing sinks and bathrooms to get the restored to their former glory.
The issue with cleaning from a green perspective is that, the tougher a product is on grease, limescale or general dirt, the more likely it is to be packed with harmful chemicals which have a detrimental effect on the environment. More and more people are shying away from using conventional cleaning products such as bleach, understanding that they carry an associated tax upon the environment.
Enter a great product for cleaning – soapnuts. These natural, environmentally friendly and economical little nuts can be used for a myriad different cleaning tasks, and are wholly natural. Made from the dried fruit of Rittha tree (found in India and the lower forests of Nepal), the nuts are used for everything from washing clothes, making shampoo, and the creation of a number of cleaning products including detergent.
Soapnuts work because the shell of the nut contains saponin, which is released when the nut comes in to contact with water. They are already used extensively in a number of areas as a primary cleaning agent, and the trend is now extending to Western areas as people realise the benefits of these all-purpose natural cleaning superstars.
Soapnuts can be used for the following cleaning tasks:
• Laundry: Soapnuts can be used in the washing machine – just ass a handful to yoru wash in a sock, and let them do the job of your usual detergent (check out our review of soapnuts here)
• Liquid Soap: Boil up some soapnuts and use the water as a conventional detergent
• Pet shampoo: Wash your pets with a mild solution of soapnut liquid to prevent parasites and keep them clean
• Household cleaning: use for window cleaning, bathrooms and kitchens – a soapnut solution can be used as a replacement for expensive and harmful bleaches and limescale removers
• Washing the car: Add some nuts to a bucket of warm water, and you’re ready to go
• Brightening jewellery: Soak items in the soapnut water solution and rub dry to a high sparkle
• Insect repellant: Use soapnut solution to repel insects, and protect plants and bushes from insects by spraying them with a weak soapnut solution.
As a completely renewable and biodegradable product, soapnuts can be composted once they have reached the end of their life in your cleaning cupboard. They are allergy-free, and great for cleaning around babies and small children, and for people with sensitive skin.
Just 1kg of soapnuts can be used for up to 100 loads of laundry, saving around fifty percent from your regular laundry bill. Using these innovative little nuts supports people growing them in regions who depend upon the income to survive, meaning that you have no real excuse for not letting these little miracles in to your home! You can purchase soapnuts for around £7.00 ($14.00) in most home and garden retail outlets. Find out more, here.