all about soapberries - natural laundry, dish, body and hair wash

29 Mar  0 getting to know



Generally called saopnuts, but truly it’s a berry. It’s called reetha in hindi.

We got a generous gift from a dear friend of two varieties and are on our way to making some saplings of them. We already have both varieties growing on our land and we would want more and more to share with friends and farmers around us.

They’re excellent to use for laundry including in washing machines. What’s best is the greywater can go into your plants without a worry… use this to wash your hair, body and even dishes…

Soak the shelled seeds overnight or in hot water for 10-15 minutes and tie them in a small pouch and put them into your washing machine or bucket to soak dirty laundry. You could also make a coarse powder of them thus reducing the time for it to be used actively… I love the smell the clothes washed with these…Use the liquid as dishwasher liquid, to wash hair, body or anything. Traditionally these were used to wash delicate silk. The wash water is bio-degradable and eco-friendly. We let our greywater directly into our mulch pits that grow bananas, basalle, collocassia and papayas…

a Gorgeous beautiful large tree, hardy and drought tolerant.

Sapindus Trifoliatus is the Soapnut tree that grows in South India. Their fruits and seeds are slightly smaller than the North Indian soapnuts. The shell is of a red colour and become darker after they are harvested and dried. The tree grows upto a height of 12 meters. Flowering and fruiting occurs between the months of October to January.

Sapindus Mukorossi (Himalayan) is the Soapnut Tree that grows in North India. Their fruits and seeds are slightly bigger than the South Indian Soapnuts. The shells are a golden colour when harvested but become a darker red colour once dried. The trees grow upto heights of 20 meters. Flowering and fruiting occurs in the months of May to February.

Generally propagated by seed. Its easy if you have the seeds!!! Soapnut seeds germinate quite easily. Just soak the seeds for 24 hours in warm water. Then sow them about an inch into the soil. A sunny location with well drained soil is ideal. Transplant the germinated saplings when they have a few leaves into pots/nursery bags till they are ready to go into their permanent location on the land.

Be patient however, the tree starts flowering after 8-9 years.

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