Have you ever heard of soapberries? I hadn't until a few months ago when I went to my local farmer's market at Plimoth Plantation. One of the vendors was selling soapberries. OK, I was curious! What are soapberries? Do you eat them? Do you plant them? No, you wash with them, hence the name soapberries! Well, I listened to how ecologically sound these berries were and how they come from a tree plentiful in India and China. Some can be found in Florida and California but they are not as plentiful in the USA. These berries have a sap called saponin which is a natural cleaning agent. Who knew! Well, apparently alot of people knew!!!! Just Goggle soapberries and you will be surprised how many people use them and all the information that is out there. So for a mere $2.50 I bought a sample bag and tried them. I loved them!
It takes about 4-5 whole berries to do a wash. Each berry lasts around 5 washes although I have found them to last longer. When they deteriorate and only the thin shell is left, you put them out in your garden for compost! We have been using the soapberries now for at least a month and a half. Our clothes are clean and we are helping Mother Earth. Our septic system especially the leaching field says "Thank You". I'm also using them to wash my handwoven fabrics that I sell so rest assure you will not be getting a product that has been washed in chemicals.
Here's a picture of the soapberries. You just put 4-5 of them in the muslin bag and throw it in the wash.
Check them out at http://www.soberryclean.com/ and if you live in Plymouth, MA go to the next Farmer's Market on May 19 at Plimoth Plantation and check them out for yourself.
Another cleaning product I use is called Eucalan. It is made for washing woolen items. It is a no rinse lanolin enriched natural wash product. It comes in Unscented, Eucalyptus, Lavender, or Grapefruit. I use this product to wash and finish my wool and silk collapse weave scarves. You simple pour it in, squeeze the item gently to loosen up the soil, and let it soak for 15 minutes. No need to rinse. Your wool items come out clean and smelling great. I always give customers who buy a collapse weave scarf a sample of this product. With only one application of water there is less chance of felting. You avoid agitation and water temperature differences which are the things that cause shrinking and felting of wool. Since this is a product not easily found in stores I carry 100 ml bottles of it, available for purchase, in my studio.
So, be kind to the earth. We are the caretakers of this world. Let's get better at it!!!