I wanted a way to do laundry without using potentially toxic chemicals. I know it’s possible to find more natural detergent online. But I hadn’t gotten around to ordering any.
Then, someone suggested soap nuts. I’d heard of these all natural berries. I knew they offered a safe way to do your laundry. But I hadn’t tried them. So I decided to finally get some.
For the last week or so, we’ve been using soap nuts in our washing machine. Our clothes come out smelling very clean and fresh, despite the fact soap nuts don’t create soap suds.
At first, I was a little disappointed. I expected suds. But, then, I did some research. Here’s what I learned. Soap nuts can clean without creating suds. Actually, when you see suds, this means a chemical agent has been added. So I got past the no suds issue. Now, I’m confident soap nuts do a good job of cleaning. Now, we’ll never need to use regular laundry detergent again.
How To Use Soap Nuts For Washing Clothes
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Most people use little linen bags to hold their soap nuts. These bags are then tossed into the washing machine. The bags are taken out of the washer right before you put the clothes in the dryer. (Or, you hang your clothes out to dry.)
Occasionally, while doing the laundry, my husband couldn’t find the little bag of soap nuts. So the bag went into the dryer. This isn’t a bad thing. The soap nuts help freshen the clothes. They also seem to also work as a natural fabric softener. Soap nuts can still be used even after a trip through the dryer cycle.
The term “soap nuts,” however, is a misnomer. That’s because they’re not nuts. Instead, they’re tropical fruits derived from the “soap berry” tree. Dried soap nuts have a slightly strange odor. But they make your laundry smell wonderful.
How Do Soap Nuts Work?
Okay, so soap nuts don’t create a lot of suds. But they do contain a compound called saponin. (That’s why they’re sometimes referred to as “saponified.” In the wash cycle, this totally natural agent is released. Saponin breaks down dirt and keeps it suspended in the water.
Soap nuts are grown throughout the warmer parts of Asia. In this part of the world, they’ve been used as natural cleaning agents for ages. Other types of plants contain saponin. But dried soap nuts contain an unusually high concentration.
Soap Nuts How Many To Use
I bought a brand of soap nuts called Eco Nuts. These USDA-certified berries arrived in a white box that contained three little linen bags, so I didn’t have to order these extra. (I ordered the largest size available. There is also a smaller size, good for 100 loads.)
The directions say to put 4 to 5 soap nuts in a bag and toss them into the laundry. I’m now following these directions, because I have confidence the soap nuts are going to clean. Before, I’d been doubling the recommended amount because I wasn’t seeing suds. So I assumed something was wrong. (Besides, soap nuts are so inexpensive that I didn’t mind using more.)
Do Soap Nuts Work for Laundry?
Now, though, I’m confident I can use just the recommended amount. Soap nuts can be used multiple times until they break down. The directions on my box say, “Re-use until they lose their color, become as thin as a piece of paper and are crunchy and brittle when dry and it is time to replace (up to 10 times).
The box of soap nuts that I ordered says they’ll last for 360 loads. So it’s going to be a long time until I need to order more. Soap nuts, by far, seem to be the most economical way to do your laundry.
Do Soap Nuts Actually Work?
I haven’t used soap nuts alone for a heavily soiled load. But they seem to work well for normal laundry cycles. A couple of times, our geriatric dog urinated on the kitchen floor. I washed the towels too times. The first wash was with liquid black soap and baking soda. Then, I did a second wash using just the soap nuts. (Black soap and Castile soap are also natural and non-toxic. But they’d be too expensive to use as regular laundry detergent.)
I’ve also heard of people adding a cup of white vinegar, along with soap nuts, to heavily soiled loads. Another option is to use vinegar with essential oils, or just essential oils with the soap nuts.
How To Use Essential Oils With Soap Nuts
Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts. They contain natural anti-microbial compounds, and they smell wonderful. So essential oils can be a good addition to your laundry cycle.
For regular cycles, you can add a few drops of lavender essential oil (along with your soap nuts). If it’s cold and flu season, you may want to try a special germ-fighting blend that contains lemon, rosemary, eucalyptus, clove and cinnamon essential oils.
I tend to always have a germ-fighting blend in the house. One year, I bought way too many bottles. So I ended up using some in my laundry.
How To Use Soap Nuts For Laundry
Going forward, we’ll be using soap nuts as our laundry detergent. This is a safe, and economical, way to wash your clothes. A number of years ago, I got rid of my chemical cosmetics. I use natural liquid soap to wash my dishes. I use DIY essential oil recipes to clean my house. I use essential oils for natural pest control as well. Ants, insects and even mice hate the smell of peppermint essential oils and other strong aromatics.
Finding an affordable, totally non-toxic laundry detergent remained a challenge. Then, someone on one of my Facebook pages reminded me about soap nuts. I’d been meaning to order some. I’m so happy she reminded me about these very useful dried berries, which can also be used for other household cleaning projects.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use essential oils unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.