5 Amazing Uses | Benefits of Reetha for Hair, Skin, Face & Laundry (Boondi Kottai in Tamil)

Reetha / Soap nuts is an excellent, natural cleaner that is very gentle on the skin. In Northern India soap nuts are called ” Reetha”. We call reetha, “Boondi Kottai” in Tamil and “Kumkudukaya” in Telugu. Reetha has amazing uses and benefits for face, skin, hair fall, dandruff & washing clothes: 1. Reetha For Laundry: Few years back, one of my friend’s child had this problem. He was allergic to all the detergents and the doctor asked my friend to completely stop washing his cloths in detergents. She used to wash his clothes in soap nut liquid. Soap
nuts are very gentle on the skin, allergy free and are perfect for
washing children’s clothes. They also keep the colors of the clothes
bright, as they are very mild. 2. Reetha For Hair Fall & Dandruff: Reetha is an amazing hair cleanser. It prevents hair fall, dandruff and promotes hair growth.  To use it on hair, just use this reetha liquid to wash hair. You can also boil the liquid down to a very thick concentrate, if using it for hair. 3. Reetha For Face : Reetha liquid can be used as a face wash. Add a few drops of essential oil to the reetha water and your homemade face wash that is all natural is ready! 4. Reetha For Skin: You can use this liquid as a substitute for soap. Mix the liquid with chick pea flour and use this paste on the skin instead of soap. This mixture will not dry out the skin like commercial soaps. 5. Reetha For Cleaning Jewellery: This reetha liquid can be effectively used to clean jewellery. Soak the jewellery in this liquid and rub it with a soft cloth to get the shine back. To make the reetha liquid, soak a handful of reethas in water. The reetha should be immersed fully in water and left to soak overnight. The next day boil the soaked reetha till they turn mushy and then strain the liquid. When you are boiling the reetha, you will see lather forming on top. The amount of reetha to be soaked depends on the usage.

1. Take the reetha, break it open and remove the seeds from them.

2. Soak the reetha in water overnight or for at least 3-4 hours.

3. Add some more water to the soaked reetha and boil them.

4. When you boil, you will see the foam coming on top.

5. Once the reetha turns mushy, remove from fire and cool. strain the liquid and your chemical free reetha liquid is ready!


  • Soak the clothes, like you do with a regular detergent for washing your clothes.
  • To use it as shampoo, boil it down to a thick concentrate.
  • You can buy the reetha in bulk, if you are going to use it regularly.
  • Soap nuts/ reetha store well for months.



  1. Lakshya
    July 23, 2013 / 9:21 am

    I use soapnut to wash my hair!!!! i have tried both the powder as well as the whole one, boiling it and taking the water from it… i really like it, leaves the hair clean and soft, and free from all the nasty chemicals!

  2. Anonymous
    September 30, 2013 / 3:50 am

    I just put about 6 in a small bag, tie the ends and put with my clothes in the washing machine, there is no need to go through all the steps mentioned. They last about 3-4 washes

    • Khushbu Merchant
      July 11, 2015 / 1:45 pm

      u mean, you dont use any other detergent?

  3. ramya
    September 30, 2013 / 4:35 am

    Hi, These steps are for people, who hand wash their clothes.

    • Nainaa Shindey
      October 25, 2017 / 2:43 pm

      Hi Ramya garuAwesome work. I love your pictures and the simplicity in describing the steps :)I made a reeta-Amla-shikakai shampoo as described in your you tube video .. did not add fenugreek this time. Will try it the next time I make the shampoo Can I use the liquid and left over ingredients to hand wash my clothes or can shikakai / Amla / fenugreek spoil the clothes ? They are just general daily wear clothes, nothing fancy.In love with your blog.. I am reading all the posts since I came across this 2 days back.I am Planning to make the lip gloss 😊Others will need a visit to the Ayurvedic shop.Please keep doing this awesome work for people like us..Thank youNaina

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      October 26, 2017 / 3:06 pm

      Hi Nainaa Garu, I am so glad you find the blog useful. For washing your clothes, I would suggest using only reetha liquid. You can store the left over liquid in the fridge and use it again for hair wash…

  4. Anonymous
    November 18, 2013 / 3:13 pm

    i too wash all my clothes with soapnut in a front load washing machine. i put around 8-10 soapnuts in a sock. then i tie it up with a rubber band and put it along with the clothes. i put the temperature at 50 deg and as mentioned in the earlier post it does last about 3-4 washes.

  5. Anonymous
    December 23, 2014 / 3:27 am

    Thanks for the post. Do you still need to soak baby clothes in dettol after washing with reetha? Is it antiseptic? -Divi

  6. Ramya Venkateshwaran
    December 27, 2014 / 2:15 am

    Hi Divi, Washing the clothes with reetha liquid itself will do, as reetha is a mild antiseptic….

  7. Anonymous
    January 18, 2015 / 1:10 pm

    Thanks Ramya Akka…-Divi

  8. SV
    April 26, 2015 / 7:25 pm

    Can I do the same with soapnut powder?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      April 27, 2015 / 3:59 pm

      I have never used soapnut powder but give it a try….

  9. Anonymous
    May 2, 2015 / 3:39 am

    hi thanks for the tips. Could I store in a dispenser and use as shampoo…how long does it stay without spoiling

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      May 2, 2015 / 5:53 am

      I would suggest using it along with shikakai and amlas for washing hair. I have a recipe for homemade shampoo using these ingredients in the blog, please check it out….

  10. Anonymous
    June 10, 2015 / 9:47 am

    Hi..amazing blog… Gone through the whole blog.. Great job! It would be very much helpful for ppl like me, searching for natural remedies without source…thanks a lotNo need to remove soapnut during rinse in fully automatic washing machine, if I use it as a whole in a small bag??? Could you tell me?

  11. Ramya Venkateshwaran
    June 14, 2015 / 5:31 pm

    I am very glad that you find the blog useful. You don't need to remove the bag during the rinse, it will only soften your clothes more if you leave it during the rinse cycle….

  12. Mahes
    August 18, 2015 / 7:13 am

    Dear Ramya,Where can i spalings of soap nuts (Poovanthikottai) to grow in the my farm or in the hill station like sirumalai and agamalai.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      August 18, 2015 / 5:12 pm

      Usually you can get the saplings from all the government nurseries..

  13. Anonymous
    September 26, 2015 / 5:21 am

    thank you for this amazing blog. When I used soap nut, it made my hair rough, tangled and red-brown in colour.what do you think has caused this?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      September 30, 2015 / 5:29 pm

      Soapnut is actually drying on the hair when used alone that is why we only use it after oil bath. To overcome the dryness, try adding fenugreek to the soapnut mixture in the ratio of 3:1, it will greatly prevent hair from drying out…

  14. Unknown
    October 26, 2015 / 11:35 am

    hi.. where can i get this? is htis available in oridnary shops?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      October 31, 2015 / 4:13 pm

      Reetha is easily available in all the herb shops, some departmental stores also stock them. You can also order them online…

    • Unknown
      March 16, 2016 / 5:55 pm

      Hai mam i have one doubt still now i was know about tha reetha ..it wl give the shampoo feelor not ..what i try too ask reetha make a bobles r not the hair wash time …y am asking like this question i have long hair reetha is usefull r not

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      March 21, 2016 / 11:46 am

      Reetha does produce lather but not like shampoo, it is a bit difficult when using natural products for washing hair the first few times but you will get used to it. I would suggest using the homemade shampoo recipe from the blog which contains fenugreek, reetha, shikakai and amla…

  15. Anonymous
    January 5, 2016 / 1:46 am

    can you teach us how to wash pure silk (pattu) ourselves?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      January 26, 2016 / 3:35 pm

      Yes, I will do a post about it in detail very soon…

    • Anonymous
      July 20, 2017 / 4:49 pm

      Please post the link for it here. Please teach how to wash handloom cotton.I spoke to someone from Kovai she says very mild soap only should be used, soak in cool water for 3-5 min, then rinse. Hang dry. She says pure cottons are very delicate and break easily. My cottons are falling apart right after purchase due to improper washing. She says some cottons need starching and some don't like soft cottons. Cotton is so delicate avoid heat as much as possible.Never dry clean pure cottons and silksfrom my experience they ruin the clothes instantly. Even avoid machine wash.They also ruin the clothes. Entire wardrobe was ruined this way.

    • Anonymous
      July 20, 2017 / 4:55 pm

      Please also specify the amount required per top per bottom or sari….I don't want to dry out the clothes using too much product…Cotton I assume helps keep pathogens away from the body due to how its woven, and its quality…The improper washing is weakening the fabric and ruiningthe weave that helps protect us….

    • Anonymous
      July 22, 2017 / 6:29 pm

      I don't want to store the liquid and other things made on this blog because I'm concerned it will spoil. Any liquid will form bacteria fast I think. So please tell how long something lasts for without spoilage or how to make it fresh each time without need for storage. Also some are reusing the soap nuts instead of discarding them I think mold will form. It helps to know the precise amount or ratio of water to nuts per top or bottom for each wash. Also it helps to know traditionally what vessel these were boiled in and washed in. I was told some of the metal vessels if certain things like acids are in them turn poisonous. Please be as detailed as possible if you plan to write about this in another post.There is confusion as to which soap nut is the real one meant for washing hair and clothes as many varietals are being presented which may or may not be soap nut at all. Also there was some mention about soap nut having anti fertility affect. The issue with natural is that we don't understand how these things work and actually things like neem, tulasi and perhaps even soap nut are not good for fertility if not used properly. Either too much is used or the method wasn't done right. These issues please clarify in your writings this are the social realities.

  16. Anonymous
    February 14, 2016 / 11:54 am

    What is poongankai called in english? I have doubt whether boondikottai and poongankai are one and the same…

  17. Anonymous
    February 25, 2016 / 10:21 am

    how can use reetha for hair

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      March 19, 2016 / 5:23 pm

      You can either use reetha liquid made by boiling the reetha like mentioned in this post and then use the water for hair wash or you can use the homemade shampoo recipe from the blog that is made with reetha, shikakai and amla…

  18. ria
    April 8, 2016 / 4:03 am

    I use reetha to wash my hair once per week and with shampoo for other days.My problem is of entangled hair and lose strands of hair while combing.I am already taking vitamin tablets for hair fall. I don't use conditioner as I have oily hair.Can someone provide me some solutions.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      May 28, 2016 / 4:42 am

      Hi Ria, I would suggest oiling your hair lightly before hair wash, it will prevent excessive drying. I would also suggest trying homemade hair masks (for eg: egg & olive oil hair mask from the blog) it will greatly strengthen your hair and will prevent hair fall….

  19. Ritu singh
    April 28, 2016 / 12:23 pm

    useful tips.

  20. Ritu singh
    April 28, 2016 / 12:24 pm

    How can we use reetha for washing utensils and can use it for handwash!

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 6, 2016 / 5:57 am

      Reetha is a mild antiseptic so it can be used both as a hand wash and for washing utensils as it gets rid of germs very effectively…

  21. Anonymous
    August 8, 2016 / 2:57 pm

    hai ramya garu.. i have very dry hair. i made a mixture for headbath with soap nut , shikakay , neem leaves ,fenu geek seeds..i dont know weather this powder reduces dryness or not..i have lot of dandruff and lots of hair fall too ..so please help me out…does that mixture is enough or should i shift to another home made stuff..

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      August 18, 2016 / 4:39 pm

      Hello, I would suggest adding more of fenugreek seeds as you have dry hair, fenugreek seeds will prevent dryness and dandruff. I have a recipe for homemade shampoo using reetha, amla, shikakai and fenugreek, you can find it here

    • rohitha
      August 27, 2016 / 5:51 pm

      thank you ramya gaaru…i recently found that i had little bit of psoriasis on my scalp…plzz help me with any homemade remedy for this..does homemade shampoo recepe of yours is enough for this ???

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      August 28, 2016 / 5:07 pm

      I would suggest applying either neem oil on the area (it stinks badly) or this hair mask: hair mask

    • rohitha
      September 24, 2016 / 12:51 pm

      thank you ramya garu !

  22. Jaisudha
    August 24, 2016 / 1:25 pm

    Hi Ramya Thanks for your blog, just loved it, almost found all i was looking for my 3 month old baby. Was suggested to use home made products (coconut oil, bindi, detergent, gripe water, veg cleancer, dish washer etc) happy i was able to find all in your blog.I need your suggesting for washing my baby cloths, should i use reetha or home made laundry detergent?Also, can you tell me what to use instead of soap for bath for my baby after oil massage (also for head bath?I use olive oil to massage my baby now, can i also give butter massage?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      August 26, 2016 / 3:53 pm

      Dear Jaisudha, I am glad you find the blog useful :).1. You can try reetha for washing babies clothes. 2. I have baby bath powder recipe in the blog, we call it nalangu maavu and we use only that for babies. 3. Butter is way too sticky for massage, I would suggest sticking with unrefined oils for massage…

    • Anonymous
      August 27, 2016 / 4:01 am

      Thanks you Ramya 🙂

  23. Cute baby
    September 26, 2016 / 4:14 am

    Once I start using reetha for 3-4 month. Can I stop using it or not? Does it effect or not?

  24. Kunwar Nilam
    September 26, 2016 / 4:19 am

    I want to start using reetha in my hair but before that I have a cofusion, once I start using it for 3 month can I stop it or not. Does it effect my hair or not?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      October 6, 2016 / 3:47 pm

      You can use reetha for washing hair and stop it whenever you want to, it will not have any side effects…

  25. Sasikala S
    February 11, 2017 / 1:55 pm

    Hi Ramya, do reetha dries hair and develop split ends? ThanksSasikala

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      February 11, 2017 / 3:08 pm

      Dear Sasikala, reetha does dry out the hair if used separately, it is best to use it with other conditioning ingredients like fenugreek, amla, etc. I have a video on making shikakai shampoo at home that does not dry out the hair, please check it out….

    • Sasikala S
      February 21, 2017 / 4:22 am

      Thanks for ur reply Ramya. I had powdered reetha and shikakai in 70:30 ratio. Using the powdered one along with arapu. Does it still dry hair? Or do I want to make any additions to that powder.

    • Sasikala S
      February 21, 2017 / 4:23 am

      Thanks for ur reply Ramya. I had powdered reetha and shikakai in 70:30 ratio. Using the powdered one along with arapu. Does it still dry hair? Or do I want to make any additions to that powder.

  26. Unknown
    June 28, 2017 / 4:23 pm

    Can I reboil reetha again or I have to throw it away after I boil them once?

  27. Anonymous
    January 21, 2018 / 1:17 am

    I have the aritha powder, and I'm using it for washing my hair, im doing the paste.do I need to oil my hair b4 using it because I'm using it w/O any other products? Will it dry my hair out? Also, how to use the aritha powder for skin? Can I make a paste and leave it on my skin and wash it off after a few minutes?

  28. Anonymous
    May 21, 2018 / 2:19 am

    How many soapnuts per hair wash can we use and is it okay to just use the soapnut only without sigaikai and amla? The reason is where I live the soapnuts are very costly and not sold in large quantities. The way they are sold it may not be practical to use for hairwash. They just sell soapnut along with some other herbals in very tiny amounts.

    The other issue is how to tell we have the original soapnut of correct quality to use for hairwash? There is something that looks similar to soapnut being sold but is not the original one.

  29. Anonymous
    May 23, 2018 / 8:02 pm

    I reviewed your comments you mentioned first oil the hair ideally with sesame oil if not available then coconut oil.

    (To be honest the sesame oil sold is really gross in smell and taste. As we don’t get pure oil these days.
    In fact the oil was so gross it took days to get the smell out for me. And this was supposedly from a popular brand.)

    You told use 2 soap nuts for 1 cup of water to be boiled including soaking liquid. My hair length is to my chest. How many soapnuts should be used?

    Or do we boil the soaking water or discard that and use fresh water only when boiling? This total of fresh water is 1 cup fresh water to 2 soap nuts?

    This will help calculate how many hair washes we can do per week (you suggest wash the hair only twice a week with an herbal, Tuesday and Friday for girls, Wednesday and Saturday for boys, the rest of the days don’t wet the hair leave it dry and wash body only, but in Kerala they will wet the hair daily which is what I do (I am not Malayalee) otherwise I get dandruff quickly).

    Given how little quantity of powder and raw herbal we get sold at a very high price…I along with others do such calculations…And please also state exact exp date for the raw herbal or powder. As usual the joke is on us when we buy something, for example with an unrealistic exp date. Like 2 years exp date for something that lasts for only 1 month if done at home.

    I conversed with some elders to me who told this Sigaikai will have distinctive smell it would help if you can describe it as we are getting various odors from various products. Also they including my own experience told it stains the shower floor a color which can be tedious to remove, for me the color was kind of yellowish, and the smell for me was fruity when I tried using a powder. But another told no that is not Sigaikai smell that smell is hard to describe it won’t be fruity. Some product lacks in smell as another told. Another told they got more hair fall after using product, maybe it wasn’t used right. Some got product got in their hair perhaps it has to be made with boiling water then strained then used after cooling as you told.

    This is the trade off between village life and city life, we gave up one wealth to get another “wealth” which I am not sure if it is the true wealth given all the problems we are going thru. But after speaking with many villagers they want to leave the village (permanently) and not follow village ways. They have given up arappu and various other things as it is not FAST to do. Time is money so that time saved
    is used to earn money, get to work fast, or get leisure.

    Many of us didn’t see the whole process behind this and the various details that went along with it. That is the problem. And we didn’t have elders growing up. They knew how the true quality of how everything should be right from the plant stage to the home use stage.

    This blog is very good and has produced a lot of discussion and debate for us….
    No wonder we regarding the genuine mothers of genuine heart, mind and being as Thai.

  30. Anonymous
    June 10, 2018 / 2:01 am

    Some recently have mentioned sigaikai won’t stain the floors and has a very unusual unpleasant smell. Some have mentioned that for the same product, same brand, two totally different sigaikai powders will be experienced. One will smell good, one will smell bad, one will be coarse one will be fine, one will stain, one won’t stain. Same package same brand name.

    1. perhaps product varies during the seasons, especially if made when out of season so you get a totally different kind of powder in smell and color…I have noticed some pods are reddish and some are more brownish. Maybe difference in stage of ripening, difference in sun drying, or different varietal?

    2. people are imitating the brand and selling false product under brand name copying their logo, packaging, name etc.

    3. one brand gets from multiple suppliers who sell under the one brand name and so product
    varies sometimes it is authentic sometimes its not

    4. good and bad powder are mixed together the way good and bad rice seeds or millet seeds will be mixed together when sold as whole grain or as flour, or original and unrelated herb is mixed together, for as a powder form we don’t really know what’s in it.

    If anyone is knowledgeable in answering the above kindly help.

  31. Anonymous
    June 10, 2018 / 3:41 am

    5. I just read that the bark, leaves and pods of sigaikai were used for washing powder however I have never seen anyone use the bark and leaves, perhaps this is wrong, but perhaps in commercial product they are grinding these up with the powder making it coarse? Adding other things other than pods will increase the volume of the powder generated?

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