Aritha is one of our earth’s natural cleansers. This fruit is found in India growing on a deciduous tree.
Most commonly, you will hear others calling aritha: soapnut. It has many names, such as soapberry, doda, kanma, thali and more. There are various types of soapnuts as well. Make sure you are getting the right, and best quality of soapnut on the market. Even some suppliers will mix their batches of soapnuts with other types of soapnuts of lesser quality.
The best quality of soapnuts available are sapindus mukorossi. They are the better kind of soapnut because they have the highest saponin content. The other common variety sapindus trifoliatus is a much harder, and smaller soapnut. You will find this as an herbal powder more commonly in brands such as Hesh.
We have added sapindus mukorossi soapnuts to our product line, both as a whole fruit, and also as a powder. The whole soapnuts will be sold by 100 gram quantities online at the Henna Sooq, while the powder will be used for our new shampoo bar line (coming soon!).
There are two most common ways to use soapnuts to cleanse your hair. You can either make soapnut liquid or foam. You can experiment, and see which method works best for you, and your hair.
Making soapnut liquid:
- Opening the soapnuts and removing the seed(s) inside improves the release of saponins. We recommend you do this for best results.
- There are a few recipes and ways to make soapnut liquid. You can either soak the soapnuts overnight, and use that liquid or boil the soapnuts to release the saponins quicker.
- Soaking overnight: Take about 1 cup of soapnuts, and put them into 1 cup of warm water. The color of the liquid will be about medium brown. You may add lemon, lime juice, or apple cider vinegar to your liquid to add shine to your hair. If your hair is on the dryer side, you may skip this part, as this is optional.
- Boiling: Using 100 grams of soapnuts, boil in about 12 cups of water. Adjust as necessary for stronger or weaker concentrations. Boil for about 30 mins. You can use immediately, once it cools, or you can steep it overnight.
- Strain liquid into a container of your choice, and take the remaining nuts for composting (if you are able to).
- Storing your liquid: For best results place soapnut liquid in the fridge, or place liquid into ice cube trays and freeze.
Making a foam:
- Take 1/2 0z of your liquid, and place into a large bottle with cap (about 8 oz), and shake it very well until it becomes a very thick foam. You will need about 1 oz of liquid to wash your hair with. So you would have to do this step twice.
- It’s probably best to make the foam fresh everytime just before you are about to wash your hair.
- Members at Long Hair Community, such as Mellie, have taken much of their time, and experimenting to share this with us. Please learn more about Soapnut Foam Washing.
How to wash your hair:
- Liquid: Pour about 1 oz, or as needed onto your hair, and rub gently into your scalp. Make sure you get all your roots. Wash out after 1-2 mins.
- Foam: Wipe the foam onto your scalp. Let the foam soak in, rub gently if needed. Make sure to get all of your roots. Let that sit for about 1-2 mins, and wash out thoroughly.
- Do not get soapnut liquid or foam into your eyes, as it will burn.
How to store your soapnuts: Place your soapnuts in a an airtight container or plastic bag. They can absord moisture very easily. In very hot temperatures they can also become sticky. If your soapnuts become sticky, they will still be good to use.
Other uses for soapnuts:
- Cleaning vegetables and fruits: Soak your fruits and vegetables in soapnut liquid for about 5-10 minutes, and rinse well.
- Cleaning jewelry: Soak jewelry in soapnut liquid. Use a cloth to rub the jewelry. Rinse well, and dry with a soft cloth.
- Laundry and Dishwashing cleaning: Using a small, drawstring bag (you can re-use our drawstring bags from your natural hair kits), put at least 5-6 soapnuts into it. Close tightly and throw the bag right into your washing machine. You can also use the soapnut liquid to wash your dishes with.
- Insect repellant: Spray thoroughly onto your household and outdoor plants to rid them of pests.
- Washing your dog or cat: Use as a natural pet cleanser. Just use the liquid to give your dog or cat a bath with.
What do soapnuts smell like? We found them to smell similar to tamarinds. Which I love! Tamarinds are very sweet, and sour smelling. As a liquid, we found them to smell a bit more like berries and tamarinds mixed together.
Where to purchase soapnuts: