Cleaning With Fruit: Let’s Talk Soap Berries (or Soap Nuts)

by Amanda Hearn · 35 comments

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All about soap berries... or soap nuts... or whatever!Ahh, Sapindus Mukorossi… or soap nuts… or soap berries… Wait! Which is it?

In America we like to call these super soap packed fruits “nuts” because well, they look a lot like nuts – and a popular brand is “Eco Nuts“. These are actually a berry – or if you want to get technical – a drupe, a fruit that has an outer fleshy part that surrounds a pit, like mangoes, cherries, peaches or plums. Have no fear, high end soap nuts (like Eco Nuts) do not include the pit, so you aren’t paying for that extra weight. We’re just going to go ahead and call them soap berries for the rest of this post just to drive home that they are indeed allergen safe and not a nut.
Bottom line: these are not nuts and they are completely safe for those with nut allergies.

Okay, so what exactly do they do and how do they do it?

Soap berries are a very special little fruit. They naturally produce high concentrations of a soap called saponin. They are great for cleaning and because of their high soponin levels these berries taste awful to bugs, so they are naturally organic as a result! They are great for cleaning and are gentle on both clothes and skin, making them ideal for those with sensitive skin. Because they are so gentle, and completely natural, they are perfect safe for both septic tanks and grey water systems.


Soap berries are ideal for laundry. Unlike chemical detergents, which can be hard on fabrics, soap berries clean gently and effectively. To wash with soap berries you simply place 4-5 berries into a little bag (to keep them contained) and drop it into the washer. When wet and agitating in the wash, these little berries will begin to release small amounts of soap – this natural soap actually acts as both a cleaner and natural fabric softener. Because this soap is so pure and simple, it won’t leave residues on your clothes and you don’t have to worry about it going through the rinse cycle – it’s perfectly okay!

I personally love Eco Nuts. They have a proprietary sorting and sterilization process that ensures both the highest quality berries and a product that is free from organic, but harmful, contaminants that may be left from being in the wild. Just as I wouldn’t eat an organic apple without cleaning it, I’m happy to know that this company takes this extra step to ensure that the product that reaches my home is completely safe!

I have been using Eco Nuts off and on for about eight months now (alternating with my huge bucket of DIY laundry detergent) and I love them. I was actually so excited about how well they work – and how long they last – that I decided to do a little video to show just how much you can get out of a trial size box of Eco Nuts.

I actually got 13 full loads of laundry out of the trial package I was given, but if doing laundry with “berries” isn’t your thing, you can pick up a liquid concentrate from Eco Nuts that has all of the awesome cleaning properties and features of soap berries in a handy pump bottle. The liquid is ideal for HE machines and those who prefer to use cold water when washing.

Household Cleaning

Soap Berry RecipesWhile great for laundry, soap berries can do so much more than that. The soap can be mixed into household cleaners easily. Try these recipes to get you started!

Simple Soap Berry All-Purpose Cleaner Recipe

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 10 pumps (or about 3 capfuls)  of Eco Nuts Liquid

Grab and old spray bottle, combined the ingredients and give it a shake. This mix is a gentle, but effective, all purpose cleaner!

Soap Berry Natural Pest Control

Mix these ingredients into a clean spray bottle, give it a shake and then spray onto your plant. Be sure not to do this when the sun is shining on a hot day, and it’s best to do when it won’t be raining for a while since this will wash away.

Want to know more? Head over to the Eco Nuts “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Soap Nuts” page.

Have you tried soap nuts? I’d love to hear your thoughts, uses and tips!


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Amanda Hearn

Amanda Hearn

Founder of The Eco-Friendly Family, design geek, serial tanktopist, content creator, mother, coffee addict, & lover of fun. I am also a partner at Green Child Magazine & Put A Cup In It!
Amanda Hearn
Evelyn March 25, 2013 at 4:51 am

I feel like I have been missing out on something BIG! Have never even heard of soap berries…! thank you so much for sharing!

ナイキ エアジョーダン April 9, 2013 at 11:48 pm

thanks for the interesting article.

Melissa Godsey May 7, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I love soap nuts! I have used cleaner planet brand, and I just won a box of eco nuts. Both are high-end, pitless brands and I just can’t get enough. I use them on my daughter’s diapers and they come out clean every time. We’re in the process of switching all our products to natural, gentle things and making all purpose cleaner from these is next on my list!

April May 9, 2013 at 1:23 pm

I’m having mixed results with them…but I hadn’t realized you should be using warm water and I do cold unless I am washing underwear or towels (and soon to be cloth diapers). The liquid isn’t as cost effective but neither is always using warm/hot water with these :/ Suggestions?

Kay May 17, 2013 at 12:37 am

How do you know when they aren’t working anymore? Do they disintegrate eventually, or do you have to test each time by shaking them in water?

Amanda May 17, 2013 at 8:58 am

Eventually the shells break down and look dull. When you buy the berries you can see a ‘meaty’ layer on the shell, that will begin to go diminish with use. There is a good graphic for that here as well:

Ashley K. October 23, 2013 at 12:05 am

I found another recipe for an all-purpose cleaner using soap nuts, water, and some EO’s, but it only has a shelf life of about a week if not kept in the fridge.. I was wondering how long your cleaner would last if not stored in the fridge.

Amanda Hearn January 3, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Sorry for the late reply. You can add a bit of vinegar or lemon juice to the recipe. That should help preserve it.

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Katie M December 5, 2014 at 1:05 pm

I have never heard of soap berries before but would love to try them especially if they’re cost effective. I like that they could have multiple uses too such as the all purpose cleaner.

Jamie February 24, 2015 at 8:22 pm

I am excited to try this! However I just went out and bought all of the ingredients for your DIY diaper detergent…can I ask why you use both, and not just exclusively soap nuts?

Brian December 8, 2015 at 2:00 am

There’s an exciting new company called Soapberri that is using saponin extract to create convenient shampoo and shower gel. They haven’t launched yet but they are offering a free bottle of soapberry shower gel with just an email sign-up! The website is if anyone is interested 🙂

Crystal December 11, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Does the soap berries recipe work great for laundering cloth diapers? I want something very effective, not too expensive, and safe. I am convinced this is safe and not too expensive, but just wondering what others would say about how effective it is? Also, I thought i heard once that vinegar shouldn’t be used for cloth diapers. What’s that all about?

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