I have previously been using a natural laundry detergent that while I am completely happy with, I wanted something even more natural. In my searching, I came across soap nuts.
What Are Soap Nuts?
Soap nuts sound like either a tiny chunk of soap or some crazy hippy thing. Let’s just say it’s a crazy hippy thing. Soap nuts are not actually a nut at all but are actually a berry that is related to the lychee. Why they call them soap nuts and not soap BERRIES is beyond me; they probably decided it was better to call them nuts which makes people think of hard shells rather than berries, which conjures up images of squishy perishable fruit.
These “nuts” release saponin when they are wet. It is saponin that is the soap which cleans your laundry. Totally strange, I know. A plant that makes soap that actually can clean clothes!
Why Choose Soap Nuts?
- Soap nuts are a great choice for those with sensitive skin.
- Soap nuts are safe for baby clothes and cloth diapers.
- Soap nuts are all right to use with septic water systems.
- No crazy chemicals as soap nuts can be found growing on a tree!
- Soap nuts are a cheap choice when it comes to natural detergents.
- Soap nuts are compostable.
- Soap nuts help your laundry stay soft and fluffy, almost like a natural fabric softener.
How To Use Soap Nuts?
Simply place 4-5 nuts in a muslin bag and toss into your laundry water. Generally it is recommended to use soap nuts in warm or hot water as that helps release the saponin. However, if you like to do your laundry in cold water like me
then you simply soak your bag of soap nuts in a cup of warm water for a few minutes before dumping the entire contents into the wash.
You can leave the soap nuts in the wash for the entire cycle including the rinse cycle. You will not end up with soap nut residue on your clothes or diapers if you leave it in for the rinse cycle. Once your wash cycle has finished, simply take out your soap nut bag and dry your clothes. Generally you can use one batch of soap nuts for 5-10 loads of laundry. If you are looking for a good visual aid for when you should toss those nuts then check out this one from Eco Nuts.
There’s also a way to make a soap nut liquid. You can find my recipe here.
I was on the fence about just how well these soap nuts could possibly work. However, once I actually tried them, I was hooked! So simple, so safe! They work just as well as my old detergent, my clothes look great, my diapers look great and as far as I know, I have never heard of build up problems when using soap nuts for cloth diapers so there’s another perk! I truly am sold on soap nuts! I like to buy Eco Nuts but there are quite a few brands out there.
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