Guanacastle soap

Something that results curious in the Coastal region of Oaxaca is how women used to wash their clothes before detergents and soaps were sold in communities.

People used to cut off the pods of the Guanacastle or Canopy tree (Enterolobgium cyclocarpum) and then soak them until the hard pods got softer and manageable. These pods, with seeds inside them, make some kind of foam, of course with the particular smell of the tree. After that, women washed their clothes in rivers and streams using this natural soap but, in order to avoid the deep smell of the tree, colthes were strongly washed off the soap and placed on boulders in order to dry them.

This way nature was not harmed and clothes were clean and neat, and rivers and streams stayed as they have been since many years.

Travel Guide Exploring Oaxaca

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