Friday
Oct122012

What are Soap Nuts, and where do they come from?

I shall start off with the technicalities. The species of soap nuts we supply is the Sapindus Mukorossi species of the Sapindaceae (soap berry) family. The fruit of the large deciduous Sapindus Mukorossi tree which grows in northern parts of India and Nepal are not really nuts at all, but are actually berries. The outer part of the berry, or the meat, is more like a thick skin which secretes a substance called Saponin. Saponin is a surfactant, or a "substance that when dissolved in water or an aqueous solution, reduces its surface tension" (dictionary definition). This allows dirt and grime to become suspended in the water rather than being stuck to your clothing (or hands, or dishes etc.). These berries once they are ripe, fall from the tree, are harvested, de-seeded, and dried in the sun to become what we know as the common (or not-so-common yet in Canada) Soap Nut. Being essentially nothing but a dried fruit, they are dye and fragrance free and completely compostable once they have been used several times.

 

Find out even more about Soap Nuts by visiting the Frequently Asked Questions  and Uses pages.