Soap Nut Shells!

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I first came across soap nuts at Spitalfields market in London, they aredried fruit shells that contain a natural detergent- perfect for eco-conscious vegans!

They come with a little cotton bag, which you can put them in and add to your wash.

My fiance was not a fan!!! We had a couple of bag losing incidents and moved to using socks, which the shells sometimes found their way out of and ended up leaving bits of nut shell all over our clothes. Also he found the smell a bit strange. The clothes were cleaned though!

Then, when I went to Brighton Vegan Fayre this year his last words to me were “don’t you dare get any more of those awful soapnuts” But I did.

At the fayre, the couple on the stall explained how you could make your own detergent by boiling up the shells and adding some fragrance oil. I got an excellent deal on 2 packs of soap nut shells, a bottle of fragrance oil and a pump that turned the soapnut liquid into foam (great  for washing hands etc.)

It’s really easy- take a handful of the shells, a pan full of boiling water and boil for about 20 minutes, remove the shells and store the liquid (we use an old 2 litre drinks bottle) then repeat 1-2 more times with the same shells and keep the liquid. Add some fragrance oil and then use a cup full in each wash load.

We also add tea tree and lavender essential oil to some of the liquid and keep it in a spray bottle for household surfaces.

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