Tuesday, April 9, 2013

:: Frugal Fodder ~19~ Let's Talk Laundry ::

While out walking our property with the kids last Friday-- all along the back fence I was noticing how the trees are filling in with leaves and such. 

I had recently been researching Soap-nuts. 
Apparently this is something that can be used for sustainable lifestyles. 

We've known about these trees on our property for years. 
We've always called them China-berry Trees 
Only recently after reading many different Homesteading blogs  and this post @ LIVE READY NOW! have I discovered that what I think I have on our property is Soap-nut or Soap berry trees;  rightly called 
Western Soap-berry. Here in Texas.

There are several of these trees along the fence 
and a small stand of trees behind the barn,too.

My dad always said they were a 'trash' tree. 
Momma always warned us to 'NOT Eat them'
I remember when they bloomed that there was a sweet fragrance to them. 

They make a wonderful canopy and shade. In fact the Littles and I stood out there for quite sometime watching the cows

I went ahead and collected some of the soap nuts.
These trees are not blooming right now. It is said they will flower Spring or Summer 
with 'drupes'  coming after that. 

These that I collected were caught on branches; and dried already. 
Apparently the soap-nuts can be used to wash your laundry and shampoo your hair! 

I'm still researching but find this fascinating. 
Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a tree on your property that produces sustainable soap for your clothes?  What a savings that would be! I've been making homemade laundry soap for almost 6 years now...this would be a little bit easier, faster, and WAY! CHEAPER!

I've read that it takes the equivalent of about 5 soap berries in a linen or cotton pouch tossed into the washer and wash your laundry as usual. I understand that you have to remove the seeds from inside and let them dry. Like I said these have dried already and they have the seed inside. 
I'm not sure if they'll work; but I don't know why they wouldn't. 
The work best in HOT water to release the Saponin, which is basically the natural detergent inside the skin of the soapnut.

I'm interested if any of you have heard of this?
Have you tried it? 
Is it something you'd be interested in trying in your home? 
Or do you make your own laundry soap? 

Western Soap berry links. 

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him; because He cares for you. ~1 Peter 5:6-7



Rose Petal@LiveReadyNow.com said...

Pat that sure looks the same as the soapnut tree in India and the berries I use. I don't think it is any problem that they dried with the seed in them. It works better if the berries are in pieces anyway, so just cut them open and remove the seeds.

Now all you need is a bag to put them in. And five berries will do at least five big loads of laundry! It's worked for our family of eight for nearly two years!

You've got some great "junk trees" there! :)

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Revi said...

I remember China Berries...but this is the first I've heard of Soap Nuts! I'll be curious to find out what you think after trying them.

NanaDiana said...

I have heard of it but never really knew anything about it. Let us know if you use it how it works. I am never ceased being amazed at what I learn here- xo Diana

Diane said...

Interesting! Who knew? Hope it works.

Sunny Simple Life said...

Well being in the city I have not ever heard of this. I have to buy my products cannot pluck them from the woods. Have you tried it yet?

Kristina said...

I used soap nuts for a summer, and then made my liquid detergent. I didn't like the nuts that well, but if you have a tree that provides for you, that's great. I do most of my laundry in cold water, and that's why I stopped using the nuts.

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

I can't wait to hear how they work for you! I've never heard of this before!

The Boston Lady said...

I am interested to hear how this will work, Pat. I have seen China berries but can't imagine that only five will do the job! Ann

Curtains in My Tree said...

I have never heard of these trees, however how wonderful nature supplies all our need even laundry soap? LOL

Let us know how it works , send me some I'll try them


The Polka Dot Closet said...

I can't wait to hear how it works...What fun! You smart thrifty girl!


Unknown said...

I can't wait for you to experiment with them and let us know.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating! and I make my own.