All About Soapnut

This week, we are so excited to launch our 100% organic soapnut powder for purchase on the e-store. You can shop the powder here, and read on to learn more about this amazing plant and its benefits.
In contemporary society, harmful chemicals are everywhere, from the food we eat to the air we breathe. Few products, however, contain as many harmful compounds as cleaning supplies. A 2013 study found that most shampoos and soaps available in the market today contain chemicals linked with cancer, including cocamide DEA, a chemically-modified form of coconut oil that is used as a thickener and foaming agent. If you buy conventional soaps and shampoos, it is likely that they contain these ingredients. 
Laundry detergent and household cleaners aren't much better. Many commercially-produced detergents contain compounds such as 1,2-Dioxane, which has been shown to be carcinogenic. These and other chemicals leak into water supplies, poisoning fish and other natural life. Many of these chemicals are also responsible for a range of potential health issues, including skin and eye irritation, developmental or reproductive toxicity, cancer, endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity, and biochemical or cellular changes. 
Soapnut is a completely natural, sustainable alternative to these harmful products. Also known as the Reetha, soapnut trees are native to South Asia, particularly the Himalayas, and have been used for thousands of years as a natural, effective cleaning agent. The soap “nuts”, which are actually berries, are composed of an easily removable outer shell containing saponin, a natural surfactant. Surfactants reduce the surface tension of water, making it easy to penetrate layers of dirt and oil. Soapnuts are also naturally antimicrobial. The lather produced by soapnut is hypoallergenic, meaning that it won’t cause any skin irritation, odorless (although you can add essential oils to a soap nut liquid if you’d like to add some natural fragrance), gentle, and non-polluting. They naturally soften your fabrics and have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to improve the health of hair and prevent hair loss. 
In addition to their health benefits, soapnuts also have clear environmental benefits. Soapnut powder is completely natural and biodegradable, and doesn’t pollute local water supplies. Through creating an economic incentive for rural communities to cultivate soapnut trees, soapnut also helps to increase biodiversity in the ecologically fragile Himalayan region. 
Using Soapnut
At Avani, we sell our soapnut in convenient powder form. Below, we’ve suggested a few common uses for our soapnut powder, but there is an abundance of resources online on other creative uses for soapnut, including as a jewelry cleaner and insect repellent. 
Laundry: To use in laundry, place 25g of powder in a cotton bag (which is included in every Avani soap nut package). After washing, remove the bag and allow it to fully dry. For small or lightly soiled loads, the bag can be reused. 
ShampooTo use soap nut powder as shampoo, mix equal parts powder and water to form a thick paste. Massage paste into hair and thoroughly rinse. If you’d like, you can add additional ingredients to this paste, such as essential oils, hair oil, etc., depending on your hair needs and preferences. 
Dish Liquid/Handwashing: To use soap nut as dish soap, use 1 tbsp of powder for every 10 liters of water. If you’d like, you can also add a few drops of an essential oil, such as lemon, to add a fresh scent, although this step is completely optional and will have no impact on the effectiveness of the liquid. You can also put the powder directly into the powder container in your dishwashing machine. 
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