Soapnuts or Soapberries? What is the difference?

Posted by Rikke Macijowski Nielsen on

Soapnuts, soapberry, washberry, washnuts, washshells.

The popular natural alternative to detergent is gradually sold under many names. But is it the same? And what is the difference? 

Soap berries from care by nature, also called soap nuts, hanging on a green tree against a blue sky

What is the difference between soap nuts, soap berries, etc.? 

Name aside, we are talking here about the fruit of the soap tree Sapindus Mukorossi, which grows in tropical and subtropical areas especially in northern India and especially in the Himalayas in Nepal. 

The fruit is actually a berry and grows on the Sapindus Mukorossi sapwood over the summer and autumn and is typically ready for harvest around December. We deliberately chose to call the fruit soapberry when we launched our bags from Care by Nature rather than, for example, soap nuts. Because the berries actually have nothing to do with nuts. 

The berries consist of the fruit itself with pulp on the outside and a black core inside that resembles a black pinocchio ball. The berries are picked, dried and pitted, after which only the dried berries without seeds are sold as soap berries in our bags. 

That is why we use the word soapberry rather than soapnuts 

When we started trading the berries in 2016, they were typically called soap nuts, as they were often called soap nuts in English. But we decided to change that to soapberry on our bags right from the start to avoid confusion.

The reason why we are not really happy to call soapberries soap nuts is that many people suffer from some kind of nut allergy. And because we talk a lot about the hypoallergenicity of soapberry as a detergent, we do not want to create misunderstandings that soapberry is a nut or can contain traces of nuts by calling them soapnuts. 

So if you have an allergy to nuts, don't be afraid of soapberry. It has nothing to do with a nut and may have just been nicknamed soap nuts (or soap nuts, as they are often called in English) because the shell is completely hard and dry and perhaps looks a bit like the shell of a hazelnut in shape. 

In short, soap berries, soap berries, soap nuts, etc. are the same product. It's just called something different. However, we continue to call it soapberry rather than soapnut, as that is what the fruit is. A berry. 

What are soap nuts / soap berries? 

Soap nuts, also better known as soap berries, are a natural, organic and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional detergent and washing powder. Soap nuts contain no added chemicals and consist only of pure dried berries directly from the soap tree.

The dried berries contain natural soap that melts out of the berries in contact with the water in your washing machine and washes your clothes clean of everyday dirt.

The advantages of using soap nuts instead of traditional washing powder are many. Firstly, they are completely free of chemicals and perfumes, which makes them suitable for people with allergies or sensitive skin. They are also a more economical choice as 500g soap nuts are equivalent to 180+ washes.

Soap nuts are a natural substitute for synthetic products, and they are both good for your health and for the environment. It's a simple way to make a positive difference, both in your own home and in the world as a whole.

Read everything about our soap berries here - both what they are, how you use them, etc.




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