How to Use Soap Nuts

Using Greener Living Soap Nuts As a Natural Laundry Detergent.

Place five Greener Living Soap Nuts in the small muslin bag, tie it closed, and throw it into the drum of your washing machine along with your dirty laundry. Use warm or hot water for the best result. Cold water washes work best with soap nuts laundry liquid. You can reuse the bag of soap nuts for 4 or 5 loads of laundry. The soap nuts will be gray and dull when they need to be composted for your garden. Alternatively, you can use 1/3 cup of your own brewed soap nuts liquid detergent per load of laundry.

Soap nuts are perfect for HE and front load washers as they do not create many suds! Just remember to put whole soap nuts in the drum of the machine. Soap nuts liquid can go in the detergent drawer.

To Make Soap Nuts Laundry Liquid:

What you need:

  • 12 -15 whole soap nuts
  • 8 cups (2 quarts) water
  • 1 Tbsp salt (to preserve liquid)
  • 1/4 cup Borax or washing soda (optional)
  • 10-12 drops of an essential oil of your choice (We use Young Living essential oils. For more info about these oils, click here. Our favorites are Orange, Tea Tree, Lemon or Thieves.)

In a large pot, add the soap nuts and the water. Over medium high heat, let it boil for 30 minutes. When it has cooled a bit, add the salt and Borax or washing soda if using. Stir to dissolve. When it has cooled completely, add the essential oils. Store in a recycled laundry detergent bottle or glass mason jar. Shake before use. Use 1/2 cup liquid per regular size load of laundry.

To Make Soap Nuts Liquid Concentrate:

Soap nuts concentrate is used for all other purposes except for laundry.

What You Need:

  • 12 – 15 whole soap nuts
  • 4 cups (1 quart) water
  • 1 tsp salt

In a medium pot, add the soap nuts and the water. Over medium high heat, let it boil for 30 minutes. When it has cooled a bit, add the salt and stir to dissolve. Use in the cleaning recipes described below.

Here’s how to successfully preserve the liquid:

(Courtesy of

You will need resealable and sterilized quart jars and soap nut shells.

Place the equivalent of 7-10 soap nuts in each jar. (It’s better to use smaller soap nut pieces). Fill with boiling water but leave a 1/2 inch space at the top. Place the lid on securely.

PRESSURE COOKER: Place the jars in the canner, and process according to manufacturer’s instructions for 15 minutes at 10lbs of pressure.
Use only canning jars if you use this method.

WATER BATH: Place the filled jars in a large pot of boiling water. Make sure to cover the jar completely. Bring to a rolling boil and set the timer for 30 minutes. Remove jar from boiling water and let cool.

OVEN METHOD: Preheat the oven to 250F. Place 7-10 soap nuts in a clean glass quart jar with a resealable lid. Fill with boiling water but leave 1/2 inch at the top. Place lid on securely. Watch until it starts to bubble and then time it for 30 minutes.Turn off oven and let cool a little. Remove from oven.

Personal Use

Mosquito Repellent

Add the soap nuts concentrate to an 8oz (250ml) spray bottle. Add in 30-50 drops of any of the following essential oils: citronella, eucalyptus, cedar, peppermint, clove, tea tree or rosemary.

Spray it onto your hands and then rub onto bare arms, legs or face. Safe and gentle to use for babies and children.

Liquid Hand Soap

Fill a  foaming pump bottle one third full with the soap nuts concentrate and fill the rest with water. Add 2 or 3 drops of your favorite essential oil (peppermint!) and use to wash your hands. You can add a teaspoon glycerin to help it foam better.


Mix equal parts baking soda and soap nuts concentrate to create a paste, and use this as shampoo. A drop of tea tree oil will help to clean your hair and make it less hospitable for lice! Rinse your hair and then spray with diluted apple cider vinegar for conditioner.

Hand Washing Silks and Delicates

Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of soap nuts laundry liquid to warm water. Gently wash your delicate clothes, lingerie or undergarments. Rinse with warm water and hang or lay flat to dry.


All Purpose Cleaner

To a spray bottle, add a 1:1 ration of soap nuts concentrate and water. Add 2-3 drops lemon or orange essential oil, and then use to clean the bathroom, kitchen, floors etc.

Steam Cleaning Spot Treatment

Add 3Tbsp. to one gallon (4 liters) hot water and use in a portable steam cleaner. Great for getting out urine smells and stains.

Window and Glass Cleaner

In a spray bottle, add 1Tbsp vinegar, 1Tbsp soap nuts liquid, one drop of lemon essential oil and fill with water. Spray and wipe windows or mirrors clean. Polish with a dry cloth or newspaper.

In the Dishwasher

Fill the soap dispenser with 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon Borax and 1 teaspoon citric acid, and one drop of lemon or orange essential oil. Fill with soap nuts concentrate. On the top shelf, add a small dish of vinegar to help get rid of cloudiness.  Your dishes will come out sparkling clean without the use of chemicals!

Around the House

Cleaning Jewelry

Soak your jewelry in the liquid for a few minutes. Use an old soft toothbrush to gently remove debris. Rinse with clean water and polish with a dry cloth.

For Your Pets

Add the soap nuts concentrate to a spray bottle or foaming pump bottle to wash your pet’s fur. It will leave the fur soft and manageable. Adding citronella and/or eucalyptus essential oil, and then spraying directly on the fur will also help to repel mosquitoes.

Plant Wash and Pest Repellent

To a spray bottle, add 1Tbsp. soap nuts liquid, 1Tbsp. Neem oil (optional) and fill with water. Shake well, and spray on household and garden plant leaves to repel pests.


Author: Matt Johnson