Photo: How to make dish soap

Soap nuts are biodegradable and free of scents. (Credit: Shannon Ruth Dionne Photography)

This recipe has no fragrance or toxic ingredients, takes a minute to make and works.

* One handful soap nuts (a.k.a. soapberries)
* 1 L (4 cups) tap water

Add ingredients to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid or to a pump soap dispenser. Shake before each use. When it bubbles, pour about 125 ml (½ cup) of the solution into your sink. Refill the jar with water. Use this solution until the soap nuts stop making suds or smell bad. Then throw them in the compost and start a new batch.

You may need to alter ingredient ratios. Success will depend on water hardness and dish grime.

Soap nut shells contain large amounts of natural surfactants called saponins. Surfactants lower a liquid's surface tension, so they make good detergents or foaming agents.

Find soap nuts in many health food stores, organic grocers or online. They're biodegradable, certified organic and many companies pay fair wages to local producers (e.g., in India).

Take soap nuts on your next camping trip and use the solution to wash fruits and veggies!