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Going Nuts for Soap Nuts!

Ok, so you have hopefully just read my Facebook post about Soap Nut Liquid. You didn't? Hmmm, ok I'll forgive you and will reiterate all the information, including the recipe for making Soap Nut Liquid. Soap 'Nuts' are actually a fruit but are often referred to as a nut, no, I don't know why, and interestingly enough they are related to Lychees!

While you can use the nuts, directly in your washing machine to clean your laundry, you can also glean the magical, sticky saponin from inside the nut by turning it into a liquid.

While you can use the nuts, directly in your washing machine to clean your laundry, you can also glean the magical, sticky saponin from inside the nut by turning it into a liquid.

Soap Nut Liquid Recipe

  • 15-20 soap nuts

  • 6 cups of water (plus more as you’re boiling)

  • Sterilized container to hold the liquid

Boil the soap nuts in the 6 cups of water for about 20 minutes. Add another cup of water. Boil for 10 minutes. Add another 2 cups of water and boil again for 10 minutes.

While the pot is boiling, smush the nuts with the back of your spoon to get all the saponins (soap) out.

Strain the nuts from the liquid and store in the sterilized container. It’s best to store the liquid in the fridge, as it will turn rancid

after a while but it be ok for 1-2 weeks.

As you’re boiling the liquid, keep a close eye on it or it can start to suds up and might boil over - I caught my pot before it had the chance...cheeky pot.

Hand Wash

Mix everything together in a small pump bottle and use as you would any hand soap. Alternatively, you could just wash your hands with a little bit of soap nut liquid, but adding this all together will give more cleansing power, and mixing the essential oils and adding castile soap in with the nut liquid will prolong the life of the liquid.

Laundry Detergent

There are so many ways to use soap nuts for laundry and none of them really require a recipe. Here are the three best ways:

Liquid: Add 1/8 C of soap nut liquid to the wash, in lieu of regular laundry detergent.

Nuts: Place 4-5 soapnuts in the small muslin bag provided with your Lil'Bit Soap Nuts. Pop the bag in the washing machine, and wash your clothes as usual.

Replace the nuts after 4-5 washes, or when the flesh starts to lose its color and turn a bit gray and just throw the old nuts into the compost or garden to break down. For really grimy loads of laundry, add 3-4 Tbsp borax to the soap nut concoction of your choice, and wash clothes with the mix.

Vegetable Wash

I get so angry with the expensive Vegetable and Fruit washes out there and am often asked why Lil'Bit doesn't make one. The simple answer is I can't take your money for something that is so cheap and easy for you to do at home. All you really need is good old white vinegar. That's it. And at $1.20 for a litre I cant charge you $10 like many other brands It's just not right. But, if you want to pep up your wash for waxy apples etc, then add, you guessed it, some soap nut liquid. Fill a sink with water and add 3 Tbsp of vinegar and 1 Tbs of soap nut liquid. Let your produce sit it it for a few minutes, give a swirls around and drain. RInse with clean water and let dry.

Liquid Bug Spray

Pour some soap nuts liquid into a small spray bottle and spray your plants with the liquid. The saponin acts like a white/oil soap base and pests like aphids, caterpillars and moths do not like the taste of it at aaaallll. You will need to reapply after heavy rain. Mix up a mild solution (3-4 Soap Nut shells with 1 litre hot water.) PLEASE KEEP AWAY FROM THE EYES (can also be useful for prevention of parasites).

Jewellery Cleaner

  • 3 Tbsp Soap Nut Liquid

  • 1/4 C Distilled Water

Mix the two ingredients together and place jewelry into the liquid. Allow the jewelry to sit for 15-20 minutes. With a small toothbrush, gently scrub your jewelry clean. Sparkly!


  • 3-4 Tbsp Soap Nut Liquid

In the shower, carefully pour the soap nut liquid over your hair and rub in. Let it sit for 5-10 min and then rinse out well. Soap nuts leave your hair clean, but really incredibly soft and bouncy!

Dandruff Treatment

Pre-Wash: Mix together 1 Tbsp soap nuts liquid with 3 Tbsp coconut oil. Massage into scalp for a few minutes. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.

Then wash with:

  • 3 Tbsp soap nuts liquid

  • 3 drops tea tree essential oil

  • 1 Tbsp Liquid Castile Soap

Mix the above ingredients together, and use as you would shampoo. If you do the coconut oil scalp treatment beforehand, there should be no reason to use conditioner after shampooing. Repeat three times a week until dandruff is gone.

Soap Nut Shaving Cream (For face, legs and ....whatever else)

Flesh from 15 Soap Nuts, leftover after boiling them for the liquid

After removing the boiled nuts from your pot, pop the flesh into your food processor and give it a wizz until the flesh has become a paste, dribble in the olive oil and liquid. Watch out! The paste starts to foam A LOT. Shave immediately after making.

The cream doesn’t stay foamy overnight, so this might be a one-time use situation. I left the jar in the fridge overnight, and the soap nuts and oil separated. I whisked them together with a fork, which got rid of the air, so it’s more of a paste at this point - it still works just not as fluffy.

Athlete’s Foot

  • 3 Tbsp Soap Nut Liquid

  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil

  • 3 drops Tea Tree Oil

Stir everything together well and massage into freshly washed feet, concentrating on the effective area. Apply socks. Do not rinse off.

Pet Shampoo

Soap nuts have a natural insect repellent property so not only will your pets be naturally clean they’ll be less likely to attract fleas, ticks, and lice. The natural antifungal properties of soap nuts is perfect for pets with skin irritations, rashes, and hot spots and great for washing bedding. Use the same recipe as for people but be sure not to get any liquid in the eyes. IMPORTANT: When using soap nuts on pets or people, ALWAYS test a small patch of skin for allergies or reactions. Soap nut allergies are rare but they do exist.


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