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Reetha (Soapnut) for laundry

It has been over 2 months now that I have switched to fulltime soapnut use for washing clothes. I had the option to go for powder form of soapnut or making a laundry liquid, I preferred the latter. The liquid is homemade.

The results are satisfying in terms of:

  • Cleanliness of clothes
  • Drastic reduction in water usage (I always hand wash my clothes, manual process).
  • Reduce contamination of water, thereby less harm to soil, land and the species dependent on water (that includes everything)
  • Good for your skin, avoiding allergic reactions to detergents
  • Extremely economical

The water usage has reduced by half of what was consumed using chemical detergents. Previously it required 50- 60 litres of water (under strict usage) for a bucket full of clothes. Now I am able to manage with 30 liters max.

Where to buy?
Soapnut aka Reetha (in Hindi), is easily available on any shop that sells stuff related to Hindu puja rituals though normal groceries stock them too, but the puja shops have not failed me ever 🙂 to procure soapnuts.

How much to buy?
Buy 500 grams of soapnuts and it lasts for 4-5 months at least depending on usage. Price of soapnut may vary depending whether you buy organic or inorganic soapnuts.

How to prepare the liquid detergent?
1. Take 500 ml of water in a vessel.
2. Take 15-20 balls of soapnut.
3. Separate the shells from the seed.
4. Put the soapnut shells in the water.
5. Boil it for 10-15 mins on a low flame. Depending on the concentration of the liquid desired, increase the boiling time.
6. Let the liquid cool down.
7. Mash the softened soapnut shells in the liquid to extract the pulp.
8. Separate the soapnut shells from the prepared liquid.

The above process yields approx 275-300 ml of soapy liquid.

To extract maximum pulp from the soapnut, do not remove the boiled shells from the boiled liquid and leave it over night, Squeeze the pulp now and a concentrated liquid is ready.

How to store the liquid?
This liquid can be stored for 7 days without a worry. Store it in a bottle. Please reuse an old bottle.

To store the liquid beyond 7 days pour a few lemon drops in the liquid.

How to use the liquid?
Take 3-4 tablespoons of liquid in 8-10 litres of water. Soak the clothes for 30-60 minutes. Scrub, rinse, squeeze and dry it in the sun.

“Myths busted”
Not possible to wash clothes without soapy foam.
More of a psychological reason than reality, in any case Reetha forms rich lather, but not long-lasting.
Clothes don’t get cleaned properly.
I have used for 3 months regularly, my clothes are a testimony that reetha is good for clothes.
Clothes carry the stench of reetha.
When it’s washed it smells a little, hardly noticeable, once dried not a trace to be found.

It’s important to remove previous traces of detergents in clothes to get good results with reetha.It took a few rounds of washing for the clothes to be free from detergents and show the improved results with reetha.

All about soapnuts http://www.copperwiki.org/index.php/Soapnut

What are soapnuts?
Soapnut is a fruit of the soap nut tree and contain ‘Saponin’, which is a 100% natural alternative to chemical cleansers.

Uses of soapnuts

  • Laundry Detergent
  • Powder, Shampoo and Skin Cleaner
  • Pesticide-Buster
  • General Purpose Cleaner
  • Toothpaste
  • Fruits & Vegetables Wash
  • Cardamom Wash
  • Medicinal purposes
  • Soapnut tree Attracts Butterflies

Benefits of soapnuts

  • 100% natural & biodegradable
  • Antimicrobial, can clean septic, used in medicines
  • 100% free of harsh chemicals, important for people with skin sensitivities
  • Gentle on delicate clothing items
  • Ideal for babies’ skin
  • Used in Ayurvedic medicine to reduce eczema and psoriasis
  • Medicinally, soap nuts are known for their expectorant, emetics (vomiting) and pain relieving properties.

References and More information available at:
Informative post of soapnut usage for laundry
News article on reetha
DailyDump Soapnut preparations

Looking for more…. Don’t wait, Try it yourself. I bet you will never regret!

I am seeking an answer
What to do with the seeds separated from the soapnut shell?