Soap nuts: Making laundry even easier (and greener!)
So I’ve been using my own homemade laundry detergent for several years now. It works great. I like it. My husband likes it. Even though she hasn’t mentioned it, I’m sure my one-year old girl likes it, too. What’s not to like? It’s all natural. Safe. Frugal.
And still, I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to making my own laundry detergent again. Why? Two words: Soap nuts.
I’ve had several people ask me on facebook and on the blog about soap nuts. And while I’ve heard about these cool little gems for a long time, I just hadn’t tried them because I still had plenty of homemade laundry detergent on hand. But I promised myself that I would try them once I was out of my other stuff. And try them I did.
And love them I do.
While working on my eBook, Toxic Free, I already had two great laundry detergent recipes ready to go. But I didn’t feel satisfied without getting this whole soap nuts things figured out. And even though you can still find those two great laundry detergent recipes in my book, you will also find this not-so-much-a-recipe-as-a-tutorial for soap nuts, too. Whether you choose to get the book or not, here is a little feature on my new favorite laundry “detergent.”
What are soap nuts?
Soap nuts are dried shells/husks from the soapberry. These berries are the fruit from a unique tree species. These shells contain a substance called saponin that produces a soaping effect. Saponin is 100% natural and a great alternative to chemical laundry detergent.
Why do I love soap nuts?
Three simple reasons:
1. They pass my hippie-lovin’, all natural requirements for my toxic-free home.
2. They make laundry time so easy! Seriously, it’s awesome.
3. It’s one less thing I have to make.
Don’t get me wrong, I love making my own stuff… clearly. But life is busy. Being a mom takes a lot of time. And sometimes you just want an “easy way out.” Especially if that easy way out doesn’t compromise my standards. At all.
To use soap nuts:
1. Put 4-5 soap nuts in a small muslin bag (check to see if these come with your soap nuts… mine did).
2. Put a large clip on the bag to secure it, if needed. (The bags with draw strings don’t need one.)
3. Toss in washing machine before your clothes go in.
4. Remove from laundry after washing (If you forget to take them out and accidentally dry them, don’t stress.)
You can reuse these soap nuts 3 – 6 times. You can tell the soap nuts are done when they look grayish and are falling apart. Soap nuts can be used in HE machines.
*The above directions are for a warm or hot water wash. If you are going to wash in cold water, soak the soap nuts in a cup of hot water (from the tap is OK for about 3-8 minutes prior to using to activate the saponin.
Looking for other great ways to ditch toxic chemicals and change your life? Be sure to check out my book, Toxic Free!
Have you tried soap nuts? Do you love them as much as I do? Why or why not?
This post is part of Frugal Days Sustainable Ways.