Soap nuts aren't technically nuts. They're fruit, taken from the soapberry tree (Sapindus mukorrosi). In appearance, they're similar to the lychee nut, yet they're not grown for consumption. Thanks to their high concentration of foaming "saponin," soap nuts are used throughout the world as cleaning agents.
Harvested in India and Nepal, soap nuts have been used for centuries in Southeast Asia and for decades in Europe. In the past decade, it has made its way to North America and Canada, where it has been recognized as a natural, potent cleaning alternative to the harsh chemicals common to detergents and household cleaners. And while it's difficult to rid daily use of cleaners and harsh soaps completely, it is possible to diminish use. One way is to use alternatives that are environmentally friendly. In the case of eco friendly laundry detergent, look no further than soap nuts.