Soap Nuts:The Benefits & Uses of One Small Berry

Soap nuts (sometimes called "soap berries") are probably the most sustainable cleaning product on the market.  

What are they? They are an all-natural, plant-based product (just a nut from a tree!), easy to grow organic, and require very little processing or packaging.

They are naturally hypoallergenic, odourless and do no damage to surfaces or fabrics.  

The shells used for detergent contain something called saponin, which works as a natural surfactant. Surfactants reduce the surface tension of the water, essentially making it wetter and easier to penetrate into soiled fabrics. This combined with the agitation of your machine or handwashing removes the dirt or particles, then keeps them away from your clothing until rinsing occurs. 

Most commercial detergents contain chemical surfactants, some of which (such as 1,2-Dioxane) have been shown to be carcinogenic and volatile. But soap nuts are all-natural and have been used for centuries around the world.

The Benefits of Soap Nuts

If you're not yet convinced of their benefits or how to use soap nuts, the following information should answer some of your questions:


  • Sustainable: It's a renewable resource, easily grown organically.

  • All Natural: No funky or harmful ingredients. 

  • Eco-Friendly: Less processing, less energy, and less packaging.

  • Affordable: They can replace multiple cleaners, and last longer.

  • Reusable: Each berry can be used up to 6 times before it's spent.

  • Hypoallergenic: No skin or respiratory irritation and non-toxic.

  • Not Actually Nuts: They're totally safe for those with nut allergies.

  • Simple: Throw them in your wash or use as a liquid detergent.

  • Odorless: But you can always add your own essential oils.

  • Gentle: Their mild nature won't damage delicate clothing or surfaces.

  • No Fabric Softener: They naturally soften your fabrics!

  • Save Water: They rinse easier so require less water.

  • Save Energy: You can use a shorter rinse cycle in your laundry, too.

  • Front-loading Friendly: No suds are perfect for HE machines.

  • Works in Any Temperature: Use them in cold, warm or hot water.

  • Non-polluting: 100% biodegradable and safe for greywater systems.

  • Compostable: Used shells can be thrown in your compostable

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