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soap nuts, soap berries

How to wash your block print scarf with Soap Nuts

I first learnt about the benefits of Indian Soap Nuts (also know as Soap Berries) in my younger days when my mother used to wash my hair with soap nut water. Soap Nut is all-natural, plan-based product which grows on trees!

They are naturally hypoallergenic, odorless (almost) and do no damage to surfaces or fabrics. There are number of ideas on on how to use them, making them sustainable and versatile. Washing your block printed textiles with Soap Nuts is good for them and good for the environment. These nuts can be used with all kinds washing machines and during hand-wash. It will leave your textiles clean, fresh and soft.

So, lets go nuts! Here’s the drill on how to:


You will need

Soap nuts

Cotton wash bag (which comes with the nuts)


A tub


Soap nuts, block print scarf


Machine wash

  1. Put 5 to 7 whole (seedless) Soap Nuts in a small cotton wash bag or in an old sock and knot the sock.
  2. Place the cotton bag at the bottom of the washing machine then load it with your block print textiles.
  3. Alternatively, if you have some time on your hands soak the bag in a bowl of hot water for 20 minutes. Pour this liquid into your washing machine along with soap nuts. Start the cycle.
  4. Once the cycle is complete remove your textiles and soap nuts to air dry.

Hand wash

  1. Place 5 to 7 whole soap nuts into a pan. Add half a litre of water and bring it to boil over medium heat.
  2. Strain the liquid to remove soap nuts. Toss the liquid from the pan into a small tub, add approximately one litre cold water to reduce the temperature.
  3. Soak your Mara Vera scarf or your laundry for 10 minutes.
  4. Use gentle movements to swish the item through the sudsy water. Avoid scrubbing if possible.
  5. Drain the tub, and refill it with cool rinse water. Push the garment up and down in the water until all soap is removed.
  6. Gently squeeze the excess water from the scarf. Do not twist or wring as it may stretch the fibres and ruin the fabric. Air dry your clean and fresh textiles.


A few things to keep in mind

Although these nuts smell similar to fermented grapes or vinegar, it does not leave any smell on the clothes after the wash. Used soap nuts can be reused up to three to four times. Once the soap nuts is used up, you can add them to the compost for your garden.