Lerak or Sapindus Rarak DC (https://othervisions.wordpress.com)
In the article “13 Batik Care Tips”, lerak is the recommended material for washing the two fabrics. However, not many of us know what lerak is. And why lerak?
Lerak plant has the Latin name Sapindus Rarak DC. The pronunciation is different in each region. The Sundanese call it Rêrêk, the Minang people call it Kanikia. In Java, it is called Lerak/Werak. Palembang people call it Lamuran, while in Jambi it is called Kalikea.
The lerak tree is a wild plant found throughout Indonesia, especially Java and Sumatra. Its height can reach 42 meters. The new lerak tree will produce fruit after the age of 30 years. To harvest, you don’t need to bother, because the lerak fruit will fall by itself.
Lerak Tree (https://harimurtee.wordpress.com)
The fruit and seeds of lerak are round. The composition is 73% brownish yellow flesh, and 27% black seeds. Lerak fruit flesh is poisonous. It contains saponins, a poisonous alkaloid. But it is this part that produces foam and is used for washing.
Lerak as laundry soap has advantages over detergents sold in the market. Washing batik using lerak, keeps the quality of the fabric awake, and lasts longer. When put into water, Saponins make the water “wetter”. This makes it easy for Saponins to penetrate the fabric fibers, bind dirt, and release dirt from the washing water.
As a laundry soap, lerak does not cause a slippery effect. It also doesn’t produce as much lather like detergent. This actually makes us save water. Because, to rinse the laundry does not require a lot of water. In addition, the water used for washing is environmentally friendly. Can be used to water the yard or plants.
One example of Lerak in packaging (http://www.kayanabatik.co.id)
Lerak can not only be used to wash clothes. It can be used to clean household furniture, such as plates or plastic utensils. Fat that sticks to plastic equipment is very difficult to remove. Well, lerak is one solution, because lerak is very easy to dissolve fat.
In Kota Gede, Yogyakarta, lerak is commonly used to clean silver. Lerak can also be used to wash wooden and glass furniture. In addition, the toxic content in lerak seeds serves to kill insects. In addition to washing batik, weaving, or clothes, lerak can also be used as facial soap to reduce acne. Hmmm … it turns out that there are many benefits that can be obtained from the lerak fruit. Maybe we have never seen the fruit or the tree. Maybe we also think whether to plant it? Then how to process it? Don’t worry, now we can find processed lerak in batik shops. We can also buy it via the internet. Good luck!