Are they really nuts?
The name Soap Nut is misleading for it is the shell that actually works. The soap nut SHELL contains and releases the saponins (soap) when it comes in contact with warm or hot water. Agitation or rubbing further releases these saponins. The saponins then circulate as a natural surfactant (surface active ingredient). They break down the surface tension between water and oil in the wash water, reducing the surface tension of the water aiding it in freeing dirt, grime and oils not only from clothes but also every surface. Essentially this is the same fundamental principle that applies to how most detergents and soaps work. It's simply not achieved via the use of synthetic chemicals.
The name saponin is derived from the Latin word 'sapo', which means soap. Many plants around the world are saponaceous (meaning that they contain saponins) but only a few, are known to produce appreciable amounts. Hence, this is why soap nuts are so very special in their ability to be an effective cleanser - directly from the tree. Our Thailand is grown Sapindus Rarak trees have been found to produce the highest and most consistent quality soap nuts.
Ready for use by the end-user directly from harvest, extraction of the saponin from the soap nuts requires nothing more than putting them directly in the washing machine in warm water. Drawstring bags are perfect for containing the soap nutshells, and the shells can be reused until their saponin content has been depleted. Given that the saponins are naturally a low sudsing detergent, they are ideal for high efficiency (HE) washers and even carpet cleaners.
Luna Blu Soap nuts or soap berries are probably the most sustainable cleaning product on the market.
They are an all-natural, plant product because they are just fruit from a tree, they grow in the north of Thailand they organic and require very little processing or packaging. They are naturally hypoallergenic, odorless and do no damage to surfaces or fabrics. And there are countless ideas on how to use them, making them sustainable and versatile. The soap nut comes from the Soapnut Tree (Sapindus Rarak). The trees produce the small dark brown berry, approximately one inch (2-2.5 cm) in diameter, that are deseeded and the shell is dried before use. The shells used for detergent contain something called saponin, which works as a natural surfactant. Surfactants reduce the water's surface tension, essentially making it wetter and easier to penetrate into soiled fabrics. This combined with the agitation of your machine or handwashing removes the dirt or particles, then keeps them away from your clothing until rinsing occurs.