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Gardening expert shares shocking footage of plant lathering up like soap while camping: 'What in the world?'

"Natural hand-washing." 

Hand washing without soap

Photo Credit: @gardentotablewithcass / Instagram

Would you believe it if someone told you that you could scrub off the dirt and outdoor residue from your hands using plants? 

DIY urban gardener Cass (@gardentotablewithcass) demonstrates how to do this in one of their recent Instagram reels

The scoop 

The video features a peculiar sight — a hiker carrying part of a plant they picked, which we later find out is called Bouncing bet, and rubbing it between their hands with some water. 

The result is a handful of suds with a Shrek-style green substance. 

However, the video goes on to explain that Bouncing bet — otherwise known as soapwort, row soap, or soapweed — is common in North America and contains saponins, which have similar properties to soap

Cosmetic brands like Freshly Cosmetics advertise using saponins in their products, saying that "plant-derived saponins" are the "key" to their successful skincare line.

Now, these skincare products may involve more ingredients, but they go to show that even just a saponin-rich plant — which includes a variety of plants species like jewelweed and yarrow — can make a great natural cleanser when you stop for a lunch break on your hike. 

In the reel, Cass encourages viewers to try out the hack, saying, "Transform your trail experience: Natural hand-washing." 

How it's helping 

Having knowledge of these soapy plants is useful for when you're camping or spending time away from running water — you won't need to worry about packing soap or hand wipes. But it's also valuable information for emergency situations. 

The American Outdoor Guide mentions the importance of personal hygiene and that it's often overlooked by experts weighing in on survival situations. In these emergencies, "Being constantly in poor hygiene is not only raising a concern for your physical health, it is weighing heavily on your morale," the guide explains. 

Even just on a camping trip, knowing what plants can help you stay clean and smelling fresh can make the experience more enjoyable without having to carry around extra supplies. 

Using natural soap will also decrease the trash you have to throw away later and lessens the chance of you accidentally leaving it behind as litter. The average American produces approximately 5 pounds of trash per day, so using a natural cleanser when it's readily available is not only convenient, but also cuts down on your daily waste totals. 

If you struggle to identify plants, the New York Times recommends the free app PlantNet Plant Identification.  

What everyone's saying?

Some commenters on the reel had already given the idea some thought. One person said, "I was just thinking I needed to try to figure out some kind of wild soap to add to my survival list." 

Others were blown away by the idea that they could wash up with just a few leaves. One wrote, "What in the world?!" And another added, "I had no idea yarrow could be used like this too!" 

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