Promoting Practiced Sustainability: Himalayan Soap Nuts Are Nature’s Detergent

Promoting Practiced Sustainability: Himalayan Soap Nuts Are Nature’s Detergent

Sustainability is not an option but the need for the hour in a time where time seems to be running out. Conservation of each resource is a necessity in a way that exhaustibility is a valid possibility. Water’s essentiality makes it vital to pay close attention to preserving it. Along with saving water by using it less or finding alternatives, what goes unnoticed is the everyday use of chemicals like detergents or hard soaps with water for tasks like cleaning and washing.

Most of us use commonly used detergents that we buy from our markets to wash our clothes and utensils. These detergents are made up of several chemicals that prove to be harmful to the environment. One of the best, and lesser-known, alternatives to chemical detergents are ‘soap nuts’ or Indian soap berries. An integral part of Indian culture, soap nuts are widely used in many households to wash utensils as well as clothes. A native of the Sapindu Mukorossi tree of the Himalayas, soap nuts are grown way that is immune to harsh conditions and when thrown away does not cause any degradation or deterioration to water bodie.

Image Courtesy: Green DNA

How They Work

Soap nuts are extremely easy and convenient to use. To use them as natural detergent, you need to put around 25 soap nuts in some water and bring it to a boil. After which, you allow them to soak overnight in water. The next day, all you need to do is cook those soaked soap nuts in water for 30-40 mins and let them cool down afterwards. Once they’ve cooled down, it is easy to remove the seeds and then filter the solution. The residue after filtration need not be thrown but stored in the freezer and used until it disintegrates which can then be used as a natural fertiliser as well. After refrigerating the solution, you can use it for washing dishes and clothes, hand soap, shampoo, body wash, pet cleaning wash and as a multipurpose cleaner.

You can also employ the technique of putting a few soap nuts in a sock and putting that inside your washing machine instead of liquid detergent and softener. This way, the water that gets disposed of does not turn the water toxic or unusable. Recycling the water itself to water plants adds to a practised form of sustainability.

Image Courtesy: Lazada

Perks in Addition to Sustainability

Several individuals who suffer from skin and dermatological problems, find it difficult to contain and handle their allergies as well as breakout due to the usage of chemical detergents for washing their clothes. These cause flare-ups, extreme discomfort and often medical emergencies. Using soap nut detergent has proven to negate any issue caused by chemical detergent to people with eczema and other skin ailments.

The increased consumerism that we are experiencing in each industry, especially clothing and fashion poses numerous environmental issues. Along with the water and resources that go into producing so many products to the immense energy that is put into processing the waste produced with heightened fashion consumerism, it also results in more water being used to wash these clothes leading to even further water degradation. Using natural detergents like soap nuts helps in decreasing the effect of this phenomenon on the environment and is a small step towards aiding environmental regeneration.

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