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How to Use Reetha or Soap Nuts for Washing Hair

Use reetha shampoo to get clean and healthy hair

Use reetha shampoo to get clean and healthy hair

What is reetha?

Reetha is the Hindi name of the fruit of the soap nut tree. The soap nut tree is a member of the Sapindus genus, belonging to the Lychee family, Sapindaceae. The trees are native to countries with a warm, temperate to tropical climate and are commonly found in India. The word "Sapindus" is derived from two Latin words, namely, "saponis" meaning "soap" and "indicus" meaning India.

The soap nut is small and round in size and may contain one to three seeds. Called by different names, including Indian soapberry and washing nuts, reetha or aritha contains saponins which are natural surfactants. This is why soap nuts can be used for cleaning anything.

You can use it to wash your clothes, clean your ornaments, or as a household cleaner. It is a gentle, economical, and completely natural alternative to the commonly used chemical detergents.

The soap nut tree is a member of the Sapindus genus

The soap nut tree is a member of the Sapindus genus

Reetha for washing hair

While you can use reetha for washing practically anything, its most popular use is for washing hair. It is a common ingredient in most Ayurvedic and herbal shampoos sold in India.

Washing your hair regularly with this shampoo makes it shinier and softer. Reetha is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. So, it will cure any scalp infections that you may have as well as prevent them from occurring. It will also keep your scalp free from dandruff, stop hair loss, and promote the growth of new hair.

The best part is that it is a completely natural way of shampooing your hair. So, you can rest assured that there will be no side-effects. Since it is mild in nature, you can use it to wash your hair on a daily basis without any fear of dryness or hair fall.

How to make your reetha shampoo

You can easily buy your reetha shampoo online. However, if you have the patience and want to know exactly what goes into your reetha shampoo, make it by yourself right at home.

For this, you need to two things.

  • A pack of 100% natural soap nuts - You can easily order this online.
  • An iron vessel - This is not a necessity. However, soaking your reetha in an iron vessel gives your hair an extra black shine.

Take about 15 to 16 soap nuts and remove the seeds. Crush it thoroughly and place it in your iron vessel. Add about 6 cups of water. Allow the soap nuts to soak overnight or for around 8 hours.

Soaking the reetha throughout the night ensures that all the saponin is extracted. You can also boil the liquid before letting it steep overnight. Once it starts to boil, allow it to simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Keep in mind that the more you simmer the liquid, the more concentrated it will become. Take it off the gas and allow it soak overnight.

You can also add dried amla (Indian gooseberry) and shikakai (Acacia Concinna) to your homemade shampoo.

Strain the mixture in the morning to remove the soap nuts. Your reetha shampoo is ready for use! Store it in an airtight container and use it whenever you want to wash your hair.

How to wash your hair with reetha

Now your shampoo is ready for use. You may want to apply a little bit of coconut oil in your hair if it is too dry. Leaving the oil overnight will make it softer and shinier. However, you can also apply the oil in the morning. Leave it on for about 30 minutes.

Wet your hair thoroughly with plain water. Never use hot water to wash your hair since it damages the roots. Take a little bit of the ritha shampoo and use it to massage your scalp and hair just like you would use a shampoo.

The shampoo produces very little lather. So, don't get worried. It doesn't mean that you are using too little of the product. Excessive use of your homemade shampoo may just leave your hair stiffer. It may take a few days for you to figure out how much shampoo is enough for you.

Just make sure to massage it thoroughly for about 2 to 3 minutes. Rinse it off. If you had applied oil in your hair, you may need to repeat the process.

How to use reetha powder for your hair

Often, it is easier to get your hands on a pack of reetha powder rather than the real soap nuts. Don't worry. While you can use it as a shampoo too by allowing it soak in warm water for about 10 minutes, the best thing to do is to use it as a hair pack.

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Reetha powder can be used to make a hair pack. Mix the powder with plain water and make a pack for your hair. You can add amla powder and shikakai powder to this mixture too. A little bit of curd added to the mix will further condition your hair and leave it shinier and softer.

Apply this pack thoroughly on your hair. Leave it on for about 60 minutes. Wash it off with plain water. Don't use shampoo the same day. If you feel that your hair is not clean, wait for at least two days and then use the shampoo of your choice. You may actually skip the shampooing part completely as well.

Go completely natural with the homemade reetha shampoo

Your homemade reetha shampoo is completely natural and free from chemicals. Reetha shampoo is a mild cleanser and can be used daily. It will leave your hair silky and soft and your scalp clean and free from dandruff and infections. So, if you are a fan of everything organic, it is time to switch to soap nuts for washing your hair!

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Saykat on July 31, 2016:

I am very happy by your proper answer..... thanks you a lot......

BetterAlive (author) on May 14, 2016:

Hi Padma,

There is no harm in using reetha powder for the hair of a 6-7 year old. It is generally used for this purpose only and is perfectly safe for children.

If you wish to use reetha as a scrub for the body for a child, it should be fine, but don't use it on a daily basis and use it as a part of a body scrub, that is, mix it with other gentle ingredients since a child's skin is very soft and sensitive. For the face, just watch the eyes, otherwise it is fine. Again, don't do it too often, mix it with other ingredients.

If you can get your hands on the actual soapnuts, it is the best thing to do. You just need to soak it overnight. But if you are buying powder, just check the label to make sure that it doesn't contain anything else. This is especially important if you want to use it as a face or body wash since most powders sold are for hair use.

All the best!

padma mahesh on May 14, 2016:

can i use reetha powder for 6 yr and 7 yr old for body,face and hair.the reetha powder which is available in ayurvedic shops are really pure.otherwise where can we get pure reetha powder

BetterAlive (author) on May 12, 2016:

Hi Rahul,

If your hair is turning gray at this age, you must first find out the cause for it. It could be a sinus issue or a hormonal issue or maybe the shampoo you are using. Firstly, try and find out the cause so that you can stop more hair from turning white.

You will find how to use this shampoo in the article above or you can check this at the end of this article:

This will help give a darker tint to your current hair and it will also make your hair healthier and shinier.

All the best!

BetterAlive (author) on October 12, 2015:

Hi Pragya,

Is it possible that you are applying it roughly? Apply the paste gently to your hair. Hairs are very delicate and if you handle them roughly, like if you rub them roughly, you will definitely lose some of them.

Also, it is possible that these hairs were already separated from the hair shaft and just end up in your hands while you are applying the paste.

Reetha, shikakai and amla don't cause hair fall. They prevent it.

So, just be gentle and you should be fine!

All the best!

pragya on October 12, 2015:

Sorry I meant normal. And let me clarify I lose some hair while applying it on my scalp and not when combing after drying. Please help dear.

pragya on October 12, 2015:

Hi dear. I used the shampoo by mixing powdered reetha, amla and shikakai. My hair felt good but I found some hair coming out due to its gritty texture. Do you think it is noal?

BetterAlive (author) on March 14, 2015:

Hi Dilshad,

When you soak the soapnuts or reetha, you will be able to remove the outer covering. Use this outer covering for washing hair.

All the best!

BetterAlive (author) on February 21, 2015:

Hi C_M_K,

There are a lot of things that can be used to clean your body and face. You will find millions of pages on Hubpages about this. Multani mitti and besan make excellent products for your body and face. You can use them as a body scrub or face pack. You can check a few articles on various products you can use for bathing, as a face pack here:

Also, try out a few organic products that can help give you a glowing skin and hair from the inside, all free of side-effects!

And yes, you can make your own face cream and body lotion and face washes. Combine shea butter and coconut oil and you can make your own body butter. You can make your own bath bars, and so many other things right at home!

All the best!

c_m_k on February 20, 2015:


Thank you for your wonderful post. I am from somewhere outside of your country. I'm happy to use organic products now! :) I wonder whether I can use organic products to clean my face and body instead of using chemical based products. And also want to know whether we can make face cream and body lotion by our own.

Wish you all the best!

sana on February 08, 2015:

Thank you so much..I really appreciate your immediate response..

BetterAlive (author) on February 07, 2015:

Hi Sana,

You don't need to soak the reetha powder overnight. You can make the paste and use it immediately. Use warm water for making the paste.

If you are using fenugreek powder, you don't need to soak it, unless it is thick. If you are using the seeds, soak it at night in warm water, then just grind it in the morning and add it to your reetha paste.

All the best!

sana on February 07, 2015:

If I am using powders , should I just make the paste and use it straightaway or should I soak the powders ?? And what if I add fenugreek powder to it?? As the fenugreek powders needs to be soaked before using it, so how do I do ??

BetterAlive (author) on July 31, 2014:

Hi Anannya,

Try this link:

You will find the details there.

All the best!

Anannya on July 30, 2014:

I have reetha, Amla and shikakai powder at home. Will you tell me the correct ratio to use these to make a hair pack? Thanks!

BetterAlive (author) on June 13, 2014:

Hi Neha,

Yes, it really does work. Just switching to a chemical free remedy will make a lot of difference to the quality of your hair. All you need to do in the beginning is to ascertain the amount of washing you require, the correct ratio of amla, shikakai and reetha and you will be all set for beautiful hair.

All the best!

neha on June 13, 2014:

does it really works;;;;

BetterAlive (author) on June 07, 2014:

Hi Raja,

Firstly, if no one in your family is bald doesn't mean that you can't go bald.

Secondly, I think your itchy scalp is the problem for the excessive loss of hair.

So, you should look at how to treat that itching scalp rather than just hair loss. It could be because of dandruff, eczema or psoriasis or any skin condition.

First, get a diagnosis from a skin specialist. Then treat that skin condition. Without knowing what it is, you won't be able to stop hair loss.

Stop using all chemical products on the hair, that is, no shampoo or oil. Keep it clean with reetha shampoo. Don't allow too much sweat to build up in your hair, that is, wash your hair everyday.

Start taking a multi-vitamin daily. It will help too. Drink lots of water and eat lots of fresh fruits.

Don't forget to consult a doctor. Keep in mind without getting your itchy scalp diagnosed, nothing can be done for your hair loss. So, find out the reason for the itching, get it treated (you can try home remedies once you know why you have it), and then your hair loss will reduce on its own.

All the best!

Raja on June 06, 2014:


In my hereditary there is no one with baldness.... But now i have a continuous loss of more hair in a single day... but there is no hair growth and regrowth. am upset with this... and almost i have lost half of them... even i have scalp and itching on my head... Please suggest me a way to have regrowth of hair free from hair loss and scalp.....

Raja on June 06, 2014:


In my hereditary there is no one with baldness.... But now i have a continuous loss of more hair in a single day... but there is no hair growth and regrowth. am upset with this... and almost i have lost half of them... even i have scalp and itching on my head... Please suggest me a way to have regrowth of hair free from hair loss and scalp.....

BetterAlive (author) on April 03, 2014:

Hi Rupak,

If baldness is hereditary in your family, there isn't much that you can do.

Using amla, shikakai and reetha shampoo is a good idea. Application of coconut oil is a good idea but olive oil works well too.

You should keep an eye on your diet. Make sure to cut down on fatty and fried foods and eat fresh fruits, vegetables, juices etc. Make sure you are eating enough protein rich foods such as eggs.

Exercising, especially the headstand yoga pose is excellent for hair loss. But make sure to learn this first from a professional and then do it daily. It is definitely going to help.

All the best!

rupak on April 03, 2014:

Hi i m getting bald spots in my scalp...and my hair getting vry thin nd less day by day..i dnt use any chamical product...i use this amla reetha shikakai shampoo from past one me to come out of this problem.and i alws apply olive oil overnyt.

BetterAlive (author) on February 21, 2014:

Hi Kidusha,

Means you also add dried amla to the reetha and then boil it.

Learn more about amla here:

All the best!

KIDUSHA ISRAEL on February 21, 2014:


BetterAlive (author) on February 06, 2014:

Hi Aanya,

boiled water se teenon cheezon ka extract achi tarah se nikal jaata hai.

And this saying about boiled paani se baal safed ho jaate hain, not true.

Phir bhi agar aap ko doubt hai, to aap cold water mein raat bhar chod do aur paani ke istemal karo.

Equal amount lena chahiye. Yahan par recipe di hui hai.

Aanya on February 06, 2014:

hum boil paani hi kyon le ,cold paani kyon nahi le sakte,boil paani use karne se to baal white ho jata hain n?hame kitane paani mein aur kitana amla,reetha,shikakai use karna chahiye?Plz suggest.

BetterAlive (author) on February 04, 2014:

Hi Ananya,

agar baalon mein oil hai to amla, ritha or shikakai ka shampoo phir bhi use kar sakte hain. un teenon ko paani mein ubal kar raat bhar rakh do. phir subah paani ko chaan lo. use karon. tel hoga to apko wash do baar karna hoga. tabhi oil nikalega.

agar tab bhi tel na nikle to next day apne regular shampoo se wash kar lo.

Aanya on February 03, 2014:

agar hair mein oil ho to, amla, ritha,shikakai kaise use karenge?kya other shampoo use karne k baad hame amla,ritha,shikakai use karna chahiye?Plz suggest in hindi.

BetterAlive (author) on February 02, 2014:

Hi Aanya,

Please check the section on How to use reetha powder for your hair. It's all given there.

All the best!

Aanya on February 02, 2014:

how to use amla,ritha,shikakai on hair,plz suggest in detail

BetterAlive (author) on December 29, 2013:

Hi Karishma,

Excessive use of reetha in your shampoo or excessive use of the shampoo itself can make your hair further dry. So, make sure you are not using too much of reetha. Add amla and shikakai to the shampoo since these two will make your hair softer and condition it.

Always apply oil before washing your hair since it is dry. Massage it thoroughly into hair, preferably at night. Wrap a warm towel for about 30 minutes before washing it off with your homemade shampoo.

You can also use it in the form of a hair pack by mixing equal amounts of amla, reetha, shikakai powder and adding a whole egg or curd along with oil to it. Apply it and wash after an hour.

All the best!

Karishma on December 29, 2013:

My hair is very frizzy & dry. I used this shampoo but didn't use any conditioner after that. My hair is more frizzy after using it. Please suggest.

BetterAlive (author) on October 26, 2013:

Hi Ann,

Thanks for stopping by. Ideally, you should boil equal quantities of amla, shikakai and reetha for about 10 minutes. Allow it to sit overnight and then use it.

I hope this helps in getting you gorgeous hair!

Ann on October 25, 2013:

Do you have the recipe for adding amla, shikakaki and soap nut to make into a shampoo? How much water and how many spoon of each powder. Thanks.

I'm currently using soap nut liquid with a castile soap. I would like to add alma and shikakaki

BetterAlive (author) on July 17, 2013:

Thank you Firoz for taking the time to read this article and voting for it!

Firoz from India on July 17, 2013:

Interesting article on how to use Reetha for washing hair. Voted up and useful.

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