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Soap Berries 101: An Introduction to Mother Nature’s Soap

Soap Berries 101: An Introduction to Mother Nature’s Soap

At Nature First®, we believe that Mother Nature is an ingenious inventor - the ultimate creator, in fact. It’s easy to forget that we’re surrounded by Her engineering marvels – how a banana comes pre-packaged for snacking, how water purifies itself when it evaporates, Idris Elba. With a genius on our side, co-creating with Mother Nature gives us a leg up. (Don’t forget – she created legs, too.)


One of these marvelous inventions is, of course, the soap berry. Soap berries are the fruit of Sapindus sp. trees and shrubs, part of the lychee family. There are around 12 different botanical varieties growing naturally on all continents – in India, Nepal, China, South Africa, Japan, even Florida and Hawaii. 

Nature First® sources soap berries of the Sapindus mukorossi species from the Himalayan foothills where they grow wild. There is no need for mankind to intervene with tilling or chemical fertilizers, as these Sapindus mukorossi trees are naturalized perfectly to the harsh environmental conditions of the mountains: their wind-resistant trunks and leafy limbs soar and drought-tolerant root systems thrive in poor soil conditions, preventing soil erosion. Mother Nature also designed them to be incredibly resistant to insects, pests, and diseases.

Soap berries contain high levels of saponins, a natural soaping agent called a “surfactant.” Its unique chemical structure allows water to move in and out of fabric fibers while the surfactant binds with oil, dirt, stains, and odors, lifting them from the fabric. 

While this is also how chemical surfactants work, a German study in 2008 found soap berries to be as effective as their chemical counterparts in detergent applications. In fact, less soap berry saponins were needed to achieve the same level of clean – just 1.5% of the formula compared to 14.7% of synthetic surfactants! 

We use hand-selected berries to make our Wild-Harvested Berry Concentrate™. We utilize our proprietary natural water extraction method to pull a measurable amount of super-concentrated cleansing agents (saponin surfactants) from soap berries. That ensures consistency in the concentrate when compared to whole soap berry husks.

Our natural laundry pods clean and enhance cotton, linen, silk, cashmere, wool, tech fabrics, and more. As soap berries naturally soothe and condition, you can say goodbye to fabric softeners, dryer sheets, and all that additional packaging. 

Learn what fabric softener is and why you don’t need it here.

What’s more, soap berries are an ancient treatment for skin conditions. Hypoallergenic, pH balanced, and ultra-gentle, Nature First®'s soap berry lather causes no irritation to skin. That includes the most delicate skin: babies, dry skin, eczema, dermatitis, or psoriasis. 

See? Mother Nature knows best.

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