Cleaning Without Soap – Are You Nuts?

By Dr. Scott Colasanti

I recently had the opportunity to learn about the benefits of Himalayan soap nuts. These ‘nuts’ are a natural alternative to laundry soap. Soap nuts grow on trees and are mainly harvested in Nepal and India. The fruit or berry of this tree is not actually a nut at all. They are in the same family as the Lychee fruit which is very popular in asian markets. Soap nuts contain large amounts of saponin in their shells. Saponins are good surfactants, which are compounds that reduce the surface tension of liquids thus giving them that that sudsy, detergent quality.

So why would you consider using soap nuts as a laundry detergent?

healthy cleaning alternativesConventional detergents contain many potentially harmful chemicals such as petroleum distillates, phenols, and phosphates to name a few, some of which have been linked to causing cancer. Not to mention their negative impact on the environment.

Soap nuts are a very eco-friendly and healthy alternative to conventional soap products because

  • They contain no harmful chemicals or residues
  • They are biodegradable
  • Soap nuts are harvested in a sustainable fair-trade manner
  • They are a cost-effective alternative to laundry detergent

These are just some of the benefits of this gift of nature, and there are other safer soap alternatives out there as well. Hopefully this will stimulate some thought on the potentially large impact we can make on some small lifestyle changes. If you are interested in purchasing soap nuts or learning more about healthy alternative cleaners check out

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