by Tammy Taylor
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This past fall I was so thrilled when I suspected that our remote-pasture property contained Soapberry Trees. I excitedly harvested a few berries and took pictures of the berries, the tree, the bark. I submitted those pictures to my local Extension Agent for identification.
Her response was that these trees were indeed the Western Soapberry Tree. Meaning that these berries actually contain soponin – a soapy substance used by early settlers for cleaning, laundry, etc. I dried the berries and have been using them in my laundry, comparing it to the more common soap nuts which I’ve purchased and used before from * Amazon. I’m very pleased with the results.
After the soapberries were fully dried I decided to give them a trial run in our washing machine. I took a handful of soapberries and placed them in the cotton draw-string bag that I previously used with my *soap nuts I bought from Amazon.
Soapberries vs. Soap Nuts
Since my soapberries are smaller than soap nuts I added more berries than I did the nuts, but about the same overall measurement (about 7-8 berries to 4-5 nuts) Then I tossed them in my washing machine with a load of laundry.
Soapberries react to agitation & water similarly to soap nuts in that they don’t foam up much. So you can’t tell its efficiency based on how many bubbles you see (or don’t). But when I pulled that load of laundry out and hung it on the line, I saw no difference from other cleaning agents I’d used in the past. And that includes my Homemade Laundry Detergent or even brand-name laundry detergents.
Soapberries Best For Lightly-Soiled Laundry
I think that if I had heavily soiled laundry such as manure-covered denim or heavily stained shirts I might use something heavier duty. But for towels, sheets, napkins and lightly soiled laundry these soapberries do just fine.
I don’t think soapberries lend much of a scent of their own to my clean laundry. But I typically use my own Laundry Scent Booster with towels and napkins, they always come off the line with a delightful aroma anyway! And I’m thrilled that it’s yet another product I can provide for myself instead of purchasing.
Other Soapberry Uses I’m Going To Try: Shampoo
I have a super-smart friend from whom I always learn oh-so-much. Recently we were at a luncheon together & she mentioned that she’s using her harvested soapberries for shampoo – no conditioner required.
She puts dried soapberries in water and lets it sit for about 6 weeks before she strains out the berries. Then she uses it as shampoo to clean her hair.
Well color me intrigued! I currently am soaking soapberries and it will be ready for a test run in a few weeks. I may infuse rosemary with my soapberry shampoo mixture too. Hummmm…. Can’t wait to try it! I’ll be sure to share how it goes.
Want To Read More About Soapberries?
- Identifying A Western Soapberry Tree
- Using Soapberries For Laundry
- (be watching – will be experimenting with shampoo soon!)
Other Natural Cleaning Posts:
- Why Complicate Cleaning?
- Grandma-Approved Cleaning Techniques
- Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent
- Laundry-Scent Booster
- Cleaning Blood On Clothing
- Many Magical Uses For Baking Soda
- Make A Natural Air Freshener For Pennies
- How To Clean A Narrow-Neck Jar
- MYO Citrus-Scented Cleaner
- All-Natural Lavender-Scented Hand Scrub
- MYO All-Natural Carpet Cleaner
- Saving Your Fingernails While Cleaning
- Repurposing Mesh Bags For Scrubbing
- How To Use ALL Of Your Spray Cleaner
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