Soapnuts-Bind the Runaway Saponins

Nature has given each and every region of the world its share of Saponins- the natural cleansing agents/surfactants. Its can be stored anywhere in a plant from roots to fruits. Our side of the world its in fruits or berries- Soapnut Berry or Reetha. Indians have traditionally extracted saponins from sopanut by soaking/boiling it in water and using the water to wash. It seems easy and works too but its popularity decreased due to its runniness. Thick synthetic liquid washes have become more popular.

In this post I am sharing a recipe to thicken the sopanut water and trap the foams to make it more convenient to use. This recipe works well for shaving foam , hand wash and  body wash . A recipe for fresh soapnut shampoo  is posted here.

Tools and ingredients

Concentrated sopanut extract made by boiling 15 soapnuts in 1 liter water till it becomes half the quantity.

Any Natural geling agent like agar-agar, pectin, guar gum. I have used agar-agar due to its multiple benefits for skin.

Fresh aloe gel(optional)

Vinegar if want to preserve it longer(usually lasts a week in refrigerator without vinegar)

Essential oil of choice(preferred is tea tree for its anti bacterial properties)

Hand blender and wide mouthed mason jar to store.


Soak soapnuts overnight in water and boil it in the morning till it reduces by half. Squeeze out the soapnuts and filter the liquid.

Bring it to boil again and put a spoon of agar-agar( can be increased or decreased according to ones choice of the thickness of the foam)

Stir till every speck of agar-agar dissolves on low flame. Turnoff the flame and let it cool.

Just before it reaches setting temperature start blending. Aloe and vinegar can be added slowly now if opted . Once the entire liquid becomes foam start adding the few drops of essential oil and blend till peaks form  at room temperature. Usually 5-7 minutes. One may need a big vessel to blend as foams rise up while blending. After blending store in wide mouthed Mason jar to scoop out a hand full when needed. Store in refrigerator. In the absence of any natural gum unflavoured gelatine can be used too. Other gums like Xanthum gum can be used without heating as it dissolves easily but due to the  nature of production(from GM corn starch) it’s advisable to use other natural gums.

If any change in color or smell throw away. As always do a path test to check if there is any allergic reaction. The photo shows how it looks like after blending . Try it and do send me your comments.

Here is my soapy foam  .Click on the link for a video on how to store it

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