Homemade Liquid Soap Nuts Laundry Detergent

by Amanda Hearn · 23 comments

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Soap Berry Liquid Detergent RecipeI love my soap nuts, but I love the ease of liquid even more. I like convenience, what can I say?!

Soap nuts are a super affordable and non-toxic way to do laundry. If you are concerned about nut allergies, have no fear : these little cleaning wonders are actually a berry, not a nut! They are extremely allergen friendly. If you would like to read more about Soap Berries, be sure to check out my post, Cleaning With Fruit: Let’s Talk Soap Berries.

Homemade Liquid Soap Nuts Laundry Detergent

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Eco Nuts* berries (approx. 2 oz)
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup Vinegar (natural preservative)

You will also need: Measuring Cups, a Mesh Strainer & a Water Tight Storage Jar

Soap Nuts Detergent Recipe LiquidInstructions:

  1. Measure and pour all ingredients into a large pot. Bring to a low boil and then reduce to a med-low heat to simmer with the *lid on* for 30 minutes. Stir and mash the berries occasionally with a slotted spoon.
  2. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue to simmer at a low heat for 30 more minutes to remove excess water. Continue to stir occasionally.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat, strain into a clean glass bowl with a mesh strainer and let cool.
  4. Pour into a water tight jar for storage.

Using this recipe I was left with approx. 2.5 cups of liquid which will give me approx. 40 loads in an HE machine or 20 loads in a standard washing machine. Your yield may vary depending on heat settings and how much you use per load.

To Use:

Once your detergent is made you will use 1 tablespoon per HE load, or 2 tablespoons per regular load. You may need more on heavily soiled loads, and as with any detergent, you will want to pretreat tough spots. Check out my great DIY Laundry Pretreater Recipe for that!

Storage:

A water tight jar is perfect! This laundry detergent should last you a while on the shelf but you won’t want to make up a year’s supply at once if you plan to store it that way.  If you want to create a larger batch of detergent, freezing is a great option. Wsing ice cube trays, you can store this indefinitely and simply pop out a cube each time you need to do a load of laundry. (For reference, an ice cube is generally two tablespoons.)

Super Savings:

I recommend the use of Eco Nuts berries because they are carefully selected to contain high amounts of quality soap, are certified organic, and are the only brand that I am aware of that actually sterilizes their berries – making them extremely safe to handle. You can purchase a large box of Eco Nuts for $30 which will yield approx. 400 HE loads or 200 standard loads.

If you are looking for deeper savings, you can purchase bulk soap nuts from Private Label Soap Nuts. A 5 lb bag costs approx. $45 with shipping. Please Note that while these soap nuts are much cheaper, the quality of these berry pieces will also be less so than the Eco Nuts brand. You will likely need to use 3-4 oz of product per batch to achieve results similar to those above.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

vanesa May 10, 2013 at 10:47 am

Is the mixture with vinegar safe for cloth diaper laundry and hard water?

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Amanda May 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm

It is safe for diapers. This has just a little vinegar in it to help preserve the detergent. Without a preservative of some sort it would have a shorter shelf life.

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vanesa May 10, 2013 at 10:48 am

I just purchased some and I’d love to try this!

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Amanda May 10, 2013 at 5:36 pm

I hope you enjoy it. I really love the natural cleaning power of soap nuts, but I really like using a liquid. This solves that for me without the cost of buying a premade liquid :)

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Laura May 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm

That doesn’t seem difficult at all!

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sarah May 22, 2013 at 3:35 am

I noticed you mentioned that you liked the company sterilizing the nuts. However, if you do some research, you will notice that this is just a marketing gimmick. Soap nuts are by definition a natural product (I.e. organic). There is no need for them to be sterilized. Also, if they are actually sterilizing them (this has been found to be a false claim but not sure if through the company you specified) then its important to remember that sterilization often requires harsh, non Eco friendly products. Also, those same products can remove the “soap” from the nut, thus making it less effective and not “natural” any longer. This is not meant to be an attack, but simply provide the information I have learned. This has become a sort of fad product that is amazing, but, unfortunately, that also means some companies will do anything they can to promote it better than their competitors. For a company with an outstanding reputation, try NaturaOli. No, I don’t work for them, but if you do a little research then its easy to see that they sell a good product. Just my friendly advice: do research first before buying.

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Amanda May 22, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Thank you Sarah, I very much appreciate you trying to help. I actually had the opportunity to visit the Eco Nuts facility when I was in LA for business last fall. I have seen their system first hand and can assure you that the berries are not harmed in any way during their proprietary sterilization process. I can’t disclose what I saw at this time, but I am fully confident in the system they use.

To say that the berries are harmed in any way is speculation (based on not knowing the system) and simply untrue of NaturOli to say. I do appreciate that Eco Nuts takes the step of sanitizing, because while these berries are natural, they are exposed to the elements in nature, thus the germs and bacteria that come with that – just as the organic food in my garden can contain fecal matter from birds, bugs and other impurities.

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Rebecca May 23, 2013 at 11:43 am

I did some research and I found a website owned by NaturOli pretending to be an independent website that slams their competitors. It’s pretty underhanded. I don’t think any company with an “outstanding reputation” would be acting that way, unless the only reason they have that reputation is because they have dirtied everyone else’s reputation by putting out false or negative information and rumors about their competition. I would imagine most negative information about soap nuts companies originates form that site. Not the way a reputable company would be doing business. More like a soap nut scam company to me.

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KARI June 25, 2013 at 8:23 am

I notice most homemade soaps recommend using warm water. Since this one is a liquid is it ok to use cold water or does warm still work best?

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Amanda June 25, 2013 at 11:41 am

I have used this just fine in cold water. I remember reading something before about cold water requiring more detergent to clean as well so sometimes I’ll add the detergent with a bit of warm, load in my laundry and then switch it to cold. Just to get the temp up a tiny bit.

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Nathalie July 13, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Question, I know this kind of defeats the process of all natural , but if I wanted to extend this recipe or make it stronger so that I wouldn’t have to use 2 Tbsp, or pretreat can I add borax, or soap soda with essential oils to make a stronger batch?? any comments or ideas?

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Amanda July 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm

I don’t know that soap would be necessary, but you could certainly add borax and/or essential oils if you like. I personally don’t mind using borax in detergent, but I have been asked for a borax-free recipe for some time now and this was a great way to achieve that without sacrificing cleaning power.

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Wendy July 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Thanks for the recipe. Any suggestions for those of us with super hard water?

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Stephanie March 2, 2014 at 4:04 pm

You can add a Tbsp. of baking soda to the wash cycle to help soften the water… and if you’re worried about pH levels being off, add a Tbsp. of vinegar to the rinse.

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Brittany August 15, 2013 at 11:38 pm

hello! I am curious on how to make this detergent smell good….may I uise a peppermint extract oil or something?? thanks!

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Jennifer January 5, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Brittany, I use 5 drops of lavender extract in the rinse cycle and my clothes come out smelling great. =)

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Jen March 10, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Hi, soapberries (nuts) lend themselves very well to essential oils. Though it’s best to do your homework if your expecting, nursing or on certain meds. My favourite is 30 drops of cinnamon oil , 15 ” orange oil to one and a half litres of soapberry liquid(when cooled,at the end of it’s making) Mmmmm. My laundry comes out anti microbial clean ! (and smells just enough of yummy without being over powering). You can change your detergent smell with each batch !

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Peggy January 20, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Thanks for the recipe.

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Isabel March 31, 2014 at 10:12 pm

What do you mean by it will ‘last a while on the shelf’? Is that one or two weeks? A month?

I am trying to figure out how effective the vinegar is as a preservative; I saw a similar recipe sans vinegar that lasted up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

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Pallavi April 10, 2014 at 2:27 am

Hi Amanda,
Brilliant recipe! i am surely going to try out this one.
you have mentioned that this works well for cloth diapers. I am thinking of replacing my current homemade detergent with this one.
I am currently using a mixture of borax+washing soda… etc.. and it is working fine.
However, the soap nut detergent sounds to be much better. I really would like to know if it indeed cleans as well as a washing soda based detergent? especially for cloth diapers?
Should I be taking any particular care while using this on cloth diapers?
What washing procedure do you think would be most suitable with this?

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