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  • Writer's pictureValinda

How to Make DIY Soap Nut Shampoo: A Step-by-Step Guide

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

If you've been searching for a gentle and chemical-free alternative to commercial shampoos, look no further. Soap nuts, those small wonders from nature, offer a unique and sustainable solution for cleansing and nourishing your hair. In this post, we will show you how to DIY soap nut shampoo so you can discover the incredible benefits they bring to your hair care routine. Get ready to unlock healthier, happier tresses, all while embracing the power of natural ingredients!


What are Soap Nuts

Soap nuts, also known as soapberries or reetha, are a natural and eco-friendly alternative to traditional cleaning products. They are derived from the fruit of the Sapindus tree, which is native to various regions, including India and Nepal. Soap nuts contain saponins, a natural surfactant that creates a lathering effect when in contact with water. This makes them suitable for use in cleaning and laundry applications. Soap nuts are free from harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances, and artificial additives, making them an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin or allergies. They are also biodegradable and sustainable, making them an environmentally friendly option. Soap nuts can be reused multiple times and are often compostable after use. Overall, soap nuts provide a natural, gentle, and eco-conscious approach to cleaning.


What are the benefits of using Soap Nuts Shampoo?

  1. Natural and eco-friendly: Soapnut shampoo is a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional shampoos that often contain synthetic chemicals and harmful additives. Soapnuts are biodegradable, and their use reduces the release of harmful chemicals into waterways.

  2. Gentle on the scalp: Soapnut shampoo is usually free from harsh chemicals like sulfates, parabens, and artificial fragrances, which can irritate the scalp and cause dryness or itching. It is generally well-tolerated by people with sensitive skin or scalp conditions.

  3. Cleansing properties: Soapnuts contain natural saponins, which are mild yet effective surfactants that create a lathering effect when mixed with water. These saponins help to cleanse the hair and scalp, removing dirt, excess oil, and product buildup.

  4. Adds shine and volume: Regular use of soapnut shampoo can promote healthier hair by adding shine and volume. It helps to maintain the natural oils of the scalp without stripping the hair of its essential moisture.

  5. Maintains hair color: Since soapnut shampoo is free from harsh chemicals, it is less likely to cause fading of hair color, making it suitable for people with colored or treated hair.

  6. Anti-dandruff properties: The natural antibacterial and antifungal properties of soapnuts can help in controlling dandruff and maintaining a healthy scalp.

  7. Suitable for all hair types: Soapnut shampoo is generally suitable for all hair types, including straight, curly, wavy, and textured hair. It works well on both men and women.

  8. Cost-effective: Soapnuts can be used multiple times, making the shampoo cost-effective in the long run.


What do you need for DIY Soap Nut Shampoo?

To make soap nut shampoo, you need a few things. Luckily, most of these things you will likely have already in your kitchen. The only thing you may need to purchase is a preservative. Some don’t use a preservative in their soap nut shampoo but I strongly recommend that you do. Bacteria love water and will grow in an environment with lots of water. As this shampoo has lots of water is very prone to develop bacteria growth and spoilage. To make sure your shampoo lasts until you run out, you use a preservative.

Lots of preservatives are available nowadays. I use an eco-certified one that is both gentle for my skin/scalp as well as for the environment.

DIY Soap Nut Shampoo

Materials to DIY Soap Nut Shampoo:

  • Soap nuts

  • Pan

  • Water

  • Squishing tool

  • Scale

  • Preservative

  • Bottle

  • Sieve

  • Mixing bowl that fits the sieve

  • Funnel (optional)

DIY Soap Nut Shampoo

How to make Soap Nut Shampoo

As I think it is important to make the shampoo with a concentration of saponins (the cleansing ingredient in soap nuts) as high as possible, I can’t say, this amount of soap nuts with this amount of water. Instead, I applied a layer of soap nuts to the bottom of the pan. The amount you use will depend on the size of your pan. The larger the pan, the more soap nuts you will use. This is ok as long as you have a bottle that is big enough to store your soap nut shampoo in later.


1. Add a single layer of soap nuts to a pan

DIY Soap Nut Shampoo - adding soap nut to a pan

2. Add water to the pan until all the soap nuts are covered with water.

DIY Soap Nut Shampoo - adding water

3. Let the soap nut boil for 10 minutes

4. The liquid starts to smell like soap nuts have a very distinct odor and the water should turn brownish.

DIY Soap Nut Shampoo

5. After 10 minutes of boiling, the soap nuts should be soft. Squash the soap nuts with a tool to get more saponins out of the soap nuts. Be careful as the liquid is very hot.

DIY Soap Nut Shampoo - squishing

6. Let the soap nuts boil for another 5 minutes.

7. Squash the soap nuts one more time after 5 minutes

DIY Soap Nut Shampoo - squishing

8. Let the mixture cool

9. Weigh the mixing bowl (write down the weight!)

10. Place the sieve in the mixing bowl

11. Pour the soap nut mixture through the sieve

12. Give the soap nut mixture a squish to release as much of the liquid as possible.

DIY Soap Nut Shampoo

13. Weigh the soap nut liquid with the mixing bowl

14. Deduct the weight of the mixing bowl. You now know how much liquid you have.

15. Add your preservative according to the instructions of your preservative of choice.

16. Put the liquid in a bottle of choice.

DIY Soap Nut Shampoo - add liquid to bottle

17. Enjoy.


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Meet Valinda

Hi there, I am the founder of the green and happy mom blog and green and happy shop. After battling severe depression, I am determined to make the world a little better and I want to take you along that journey with me. 

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