Product Focus: Soapberries
The organic, zero-waste, chemical free way to do laundry. Soapberries are a 100% natural alternative to laundry detergents and fabric softeners.
What are soapberries?
Soapberries, also commonly known as soapnuts, are the fruit of the Himalaya region ‘Sapindus Mukorossi’ tree. The dried shell of the soapberry contains high levels of a concentrated substance called Saponin – nature’s hypo-allergenic soap! Saponin acts as a highly effective but gentle anti-bacterial and anti-fungal 100% natural replacement for chemical laundry detergents. ‘That Red House’ soapberries are the only ‘Certified Organic’ soapberries on the market and are completely chemical free.
How do they work?
The soapberry shell absorbs water and releases the saponin which circulates as a natural surfactant in the wash water, gently freeing dirt and grime from laundry. They are low sudsing, so they are great for all washing machines, and don’t leave a residue.
How do I use them?
Simple! Just add five soapberries to the small muslin bag (which comes in the pack) and throw it in the machine. For dirtier loads increase the water temperature to draw more soap from the berries.
Soapberries naturally leave no residue on clothes so you can skip the rinse cycle. They are suitable for use in both front load and top load washing machines and cut out the need for fabric softener as they leave clothes soft and fresh. Soapberries are odourless – if a fragrance is desired simply add a couple of drops of ‘That Red House’ 100% pure essential oils laundry tonic to your soapberries cotton bag or the detergent dispenser.
How long do they last?
The small wash bag will last approximately five loads in cold water and three to four loads in warmer water. In between washes store your used soapberries in their little cotton bag in a dry place - on a hook in the laundry is best.
When the soapberries become brittle and crunchy no more soap is left. They can then be disposed of 100% sustainably in your compost. Dry soapberries can be stored for up to two years.
What are the benefits for me?
Chemical free - Called "wu-huan-zi", the "non-illness fruit" in China, soapberries have been used for thousands of years for their health benefits. They are chemical free and extremely hypo-allergenic making them a gentle but effective alternative to regular chemical supermarket laundry detergents. No chemicals are used in the product (as it’s just berries!) and no chemical sprays of any kind are used in the growing or harvesting process. Upon entry to Australia they are not treated, simply inspected and approved by quarantine. ‘That Red House’ organic soapberries are harvested from wild trees in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal and are ‘Certified Organic’ by international certification body Ecocert and USDA.
Great for sensitive skin - As soapberries leave no residue in clothing no irritants are left in the fabric either. This makes them ideal for everyone, including people with severe skin conditions and babies. Soapberries have been recommended by the Head of Dermatology from the Royal Adelaide Hospital as an excellent replacement to traditional laundry detergents as a skin irritation prevention measure. Although they are sometimes called ‘soapnuts’, soapberries are actually a fruit so are perfectly safe for those with nut allergies.
Cost effective - Soapberries are great for your wallet! They are approximately half the cost of regular laundry detergents per load.
Giving back - When you buy ‘That Red House’ soapberries you are also helping others. All sales contribute to ‘Grow Nepal’ which donates to the income, improved working conditions and living standards of the Nepalese communities involved in the processes of soapberry production.
What are the benefits for the environment?
All natural - Traditional laundry detergents are manufactured from synthetic chemical compounds and can contain nasties like Sodium Laurel Sulphate, chemical fillers, bleaches and synthetic fragrances. These chemicals have been shown to have far-reaching environmental impacts, proving toxic to aquatic wildlife and often break down into additional toxic by-products. Soapberries are natural, biodegradable and keep our waterways chemical free. They work well with septic tanks and produce safe grey water that you can even use in your garden.
Zero waste – Say goodbye to traditional plastic packaging! Soapberries are packaged with recyclable, recycled and fully compostable materials only.
Sustainable – ‘That Red House’ Soapberries are sustainably and ethically sourced. Using soapberries helps reduce deforestation in the Himalayas as it ensures that they are safeguarded as a form of income for the local farming communities. ‘That Red House’ also reduces their carbon footprint by shipping all products by sea rather than by air.
Vegan, paleo & raw – Soapberries are not tested on animals, 100% organic and are simply picked, de-seeded, dried and packed.
Other great uses for Soapberries
The washing machine isn’t where soapberries talents end. You can boil soapberries (much like pasta) to release the saponins for use around the home. Due to their natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and hypo-allergenic properties soapberries can be used as a shaving cream, moisturising baby wash, shampoo, pre-wash stain remover, multi-purpose cleaner and more. Buy a RetroKitchen DIY Cleaning Kit to store your homemade cleaning solutions. Check out some great recipes here.
If you’d like to share any ideas with us or ask questions about our great eco-friendly products then we would love to hear from you, so get in touch. If you are a new customer then you can save 10% off your first order by subscribing.