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PraticalGardener
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Curious about using Soapwart

I am curious about how to use soapwart for laundry, hand-washing, and shampoo; partly because it already grows here. :) With plenty of elbow grease, can it help wash off heavy mud and manure very well? What adjustments would you recommend for hard well water when using or processing soapwart for use? I think the Soapwart I have is probably "Bouncing Betty" (Saponara officinalis).

Feel free to relocate this discussion into the correct forum.

thanrose
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Re: Curious about using Soapwart

Have you ever prepared quinoa before cooking by washing it? That lightly sudsy rinse water is what you'll get from Saponaria officinalis in my decades ago experience. The saponins responsible for the effect are in a number of different plants to different degrees. I think in western USA they have something called bear grass that will do the same. Some areas around the world have roots they mash up for that effect.

I've only used it as a curiosity while camping or hiking. Would it get you clean of grime? Yeah, but not without some effort. All soaps and saponins work differently than detergents. When you are trying to use raw plant material to wash something, there's more going on there than the saponin. At the wrong time of year you might get a tarry residue or a good deal of grit or green staining from various saponin producing plant materials.

If you want to experiment with it, you might try using a nylon net delicates washing bag to hold the plant material and toss it in with a light load in your washer.

Never tried it with hot water. Only with cool tea colored and acidic cedar water.

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PraticalGardener
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Re: Curious about using Soapwart

Thank-you thanrose. I haven't prepared quinoa before.

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PraticalGardener
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Re: Curious about using Soapwart

I have determined I may have a small challenge to harvest the roots. My soil gets rock-hard in the garden, and even the flowerbeds soil are surprisingly hard when I tried to simply pull up the soapwart plants. The roots kept breaking off to remain in the hard soil.
I might have to dig up the roots, and then work or wash the soil away from the roots to get soapwart roots.

I did try using a few leaves, but I guess it doesn't seem like much in hard water. It seems easier to use a bar of soap.

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applestar
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Re: Curious about using Soapwart

Can you flood the area somehow to soak the soil first?
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