If we have to point to the question we most often get about soap berries , it is how it is that the soap from soap berries does not have to be rinsed out in the rinse program in the washing machine.
The bag with soap berries must go into the washing drum together with the clothes, and therefore the soap berries are included during the entire wash and the soap is therefore not rinsed out with the rinse program.
And we can easily understand that, many are wondering!
We are used to the fact that conventional detergents and other types of soaps have to be rinsed out again. The reason it is necessary is that traditional detergents or soap contain ingredients that can irritate the skin and cause allergic reactions if the skin is in prolonged contact with the substances.
It can, for example, be ingredients such as enzymes, sulfates and possibly perfume, bleach or optical white, which can be irritating, allergy-causing and which also wear out the fibers in the clothes if they are left sitting.
But with soapberry, fortunately, there is no need to worry about that problem.
Why doesn't the soap in soapberry need to be rinsed out?Soapberry is quite different from ordinary. soap and detergent, as it does not contain the additives that are in soap in the classical sense, but instead, soap berries only contain the natural soap substances saponins.
The saponins (soap) in soap berries are completely harmless to the skin, as they do not contain ingredients that can irritate the skin over time - e.g. sulphates, foaming agents, enzymes, perfume, bleach etc. So, therefore, saponins do not need to be rinsed out in the same way that conventional soap does.
Saponins from soapberry are known for their gentle and mild properties. They are ideal for people with sensitive skin who usually experience irritation and allergic reactions when using traditional detergents. Because soapberries contain no harsh chemicals or additives, they are safe to use on both skin and textiles.
You can therefore safely leave the berries in the machine during the entire wash or choose to drop the rinse program altogether, if your washing machine allows it. This way you save both water and electricity.
What are saponins and why is it not harmful to the skin?
But you might be thinking – yes, that sounds nice enough, but what are saponins anyway? How do they work and how do I know that it is safe for it to stay in my clothes?
Fair! So here you get the explanation.
It might get a little geeky and technical, so hang in there.
Saponins are a type of glycosides, which are chemical compounds consisting of a sugar and a non-sugar compound. Saponins have a unique chemical structure that makes them so-called non-ionic "surfactants ", which are substances produced naturally by a wide variety of plants, including soapberry.
The fact that saponins are surface-active means that they have the ability to reduce the surface tension in the water and thereby break down grease and dirt. Surfactants make it possible to form many small droplets of e.g. detergent in water, which makes the effective surface of the detergent larger and thus the wash more efficient. Soap berries also have the ability to foam and create emulsions , which makes them ideal for cleaning clothes and other surfaces. Saponins work by pulling the grease and dirt out of the clothes and into the water, making it easier to wash away.
The chemical structure of saponins consists of a hydrophobic part (ie a part that repels water) and a hydrophilic part (ie a part that attracts water). The hydrophobic part of the saponins pulls fat and oil particles out of surfaces and makes them more soluble in water. The hydrophilic part of the saponins binds to the water molecules and forms micelles, which pull the fat and oil particles out into the water ( source ).
The ability of saponins to break down fat and general dirt makes them an efficient and gentle way to wash clothes and other surfaces. They are also an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional detergents, as they are biodegradable and do not cause harm to the environment.
Are saponins safe for the skin?
Regarding if saponins are safe for the skin, there are many studies on the properties of saponins as an ingredient in both cleaning products and in personal care products such as shampoo or body wash that are in direct contact with the skin.
Eg. a group of researchers has investigated saponins as natural raw materials to increase the safety of body wash . Here, saponins were added to body wash gels to improve their so-called "rheological properties" and their foaming properties, as well as to reduce the risk of skin irritation. Compared to the control group (saponin-free), the addition of saponins reduced the skin irritation potential of the body soap by about 40-50%. It is, among other things, based on these results, saponins can be classified as safe ingredients in cosmetic products.
There are also medical studies that show that saponins from soap berries are skin-friendly and can be used as natural alternatives to chemical detergents and soaps. Soapberry has also been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat skin conditions, and its gentle properties make it a popular choice for personal hygiene.
There are many studies that speak for the gentle and safe properties of saponins. And if you are more curious, we recommend searching for e.g. Google Scholar in English with keywords such as "saponins", "sapindus mukorossi" or "saponins as surfactants". Then you can easily find a lot of good information about the saponins' many properties.
Saponins are therefore gentle and harmless to the skin and do not need to be rinsed out of the clothes after washing. In addition, they are also a greener choice that reduces the environmental impact and prevents pollution of the aquatic environment.