Soap Berry Tea
If you find your soap berries aren’t lathering up in the wash, don’t lose hope! Try making a “soap berry tea.” This is comparable to liquid laundry detergent and should definitely sud up, even in eco-warm water.
There were several different recipes for this, so I went with the most basic and modified it a bit to be effective in my machine.
- 4 cups of water
- 1 cup soap berries
- 1 cup vinegar (optional)
1.) Bring the water to a boil and stir in the soap nuts, reduce to simmer. After 10 minutes, the soap berries will become soft, carefully smush them in the pot with a wooden spoon, ideally breaking them into pieces. Cook for an additional thirty minutes.
2.) Allow the liquid to cool and strain out any solids before pouring into your laundry detergent container. (All solids can be composted.)
Optional: To enhance the color of your clothes, you can add an optional 1/2-1 cup of vinegar. Wait for the solution to cool before adding the vinegar. You can also enhance the aroma of your soap berry tea by adding natural herbs like lavender, lemon or lime peels, or natural essential oils that don’t irritate your skin. Add them to the boil water, and make sure to strain and compost any solids before using as a detergent.
1.) If you want a thicker detergent, mix in 1 teaspoon of cornstarch while the water is still boiling.
2.) It’s best to make your soap berry tea in small batches, since it is preservative-free. To store home-made detergent longer two weeks, store it in the refrigerator.
3.) You can also freeze the tea into ice cubes. A 2-3 cubes should be used for each load of laundry.
For multi-purpose spray:
Add a few drops of tea tree oil, a natural antiseptic and deodorizer. This is also a great opportunity to get a second use out of citrus peels: just slice them and add them to the spray solution for a bright and cheery fragrance!