Doing laundry with Chumico Soapseed in Costa Rica

chumico or soapseed

I gathered a hatful of chumico soapseed below a big tree in the lower pasture, turns out they’re great for doing laundry.  Put the rind from 5-6 seeds in a cloth bag and toss them in with non white clothing, does 5 loads.  I love the tropics!

Chumico (also known as soapseed, soap nuts, Florida soapberry) grows widely in Costa Rica’s Central Valley.  Look at my photos to see the seeds, and I have saplings at my nursery, and free seeds at my shop next door.  Chumico is the Costa Rican name.  Kids here used to play marbles with the round black seed inside the rind.  The scientific name is Sapindus saponaria.

Jana says “If you don’t live in Costa Rica you can buy them from also from They’re great, make the clothes very soft. They do turn whites a little beige. The soap nuts also seem to keep the inside of the washing machine cleaner…who knew?”

They don’t produce suds, but then you don’t need suds to get things clean.

Barry Biesanz Google+

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