Soap Nuts Laundry: What is it?
When I first decided to write an article about soap nuts and why are they the best when it comes to washing laundry, the first thing that popped in my mind was “Oh, man, people are gonna think I went nuts.”
Then came other jokes and irreverent thoughts, all centered around this four lettered word, but I won’t share them here, I’m quite certain most of you know what I am talking about.
Jokes aside, these little fruits are the Supermen of laundry washing. Why? In a nutshell (had to, no more I promise!), because they’re cheap, natural, and so easy to use.
What are soap nuts, and where can I get them?
First off, soap nuts aren’t exactly “nuts“. They’re more like berries or drupes, so you don’t have to worry about allergens. Actually, these wonders of nature are closer to plums or apricots than to walnuts or almonds.
They grow in small shrubs or small trees in the Lychee family and are native to warm and tropical regions in Asia and the Americas.
What’s more important, they’ve been used for washing for thousands of years because of the natural soap they contain.
There are more than a handful of species out there, but the best soap nuts for laundry are those of the Sapindus Mukorossi tree, which is native to India and Nepal.
What makes soap nuts (or soapberries – they’re the same) great when it comes to clean natural washing is the saponins (a natural surfactant) they contain.
Compared to homemade laundry soaps, they don’t leave waste or residues behind, and the chemicals are in their natural form. You don’t have to work with washing soda, lye, or borax, and you don’t need protective gloves: the soap nuts are safe to handle, environmentally friendly and won’t affect people with allergies. You can read more here.
They’re also quite cheap! A [easyazon_link identifier=”B003OUALB6″ locale=”US” tag=”tictin-20″]box of soap nuts[/easyazon_link] laundry with 360 loads sells for about $33, but there are smaller packages with 10 or 100 loads, if you’d like to test them first.
Just keep in mind each soap nut can be used between 3 to 7 times before you should throw it away.
How to Use Soap Nuts
Choosing the right soap nuts is the hard part, using them is a piece of cake.
All you need is a muslin bag (some retailers provide their own bags; if not, you can [easyazon_link identifier=”B004ZEAH1E” locale=”US” tag=”tictin-20″]buy online[/easyazon_link] or at your local shops).
You put 4 or 5 soap nuts in the bag, tie it at the mouth, and throw it in the washer under the laundry. Everything else is the same as with standard detergents, you don’t have to use a special program with the washing machine.
If you don’t see much suds, don’t worry: the laundry nuts are not known for frothing. They don’t leave a scent either, which is, in my opinion, a good thing.
How to Make Sure Your Soap Nuts Are Still Active
There are several ways to detect if your nuts have enough saponin left in them for another wash.
Color helps a lot: if they become grey and soft, that’s one sign it’s time to change the batch with fresh ones.
Another way is to put them in the bag and run them through warm water, then squeeze and rub the bag. if you see bubbles coming out, they’re still good enough for another wash.
How to Make Your Own Liquid Soap Nuts Laundry Detergent
Not everybody is at ease with throwing a bunch of laundry nuts in the washing machine, alongside their best clothes, underwear, or children’s diapers. If that’s you, you might want to try the following recipe for homemade liquid soap nuts laundry detergent.
– 1 cup of [easyazon_link keywords=”soap berries” locale=”US” tag=”tictin-20″][easyazon_link identifier=”B00AHRGN6Q” locale=”US” tag=”tictin-20″]soap berries[/easyazon_link][/easyazon_link].
– 4 cups of water
– 1/2 cup of vinegar
– one measuring cup
– a mesh strainer
– one water tight storage jar
First, you put all the ingredients in a large pot and bring the mixture to a low boil.
Once there, reduce the heat and keep the pot right under the boiling point for about 30 minutes, with the lid on.
You can stir the mixture and occasionally crack the nuts with a spoon.
After half an hour, remove the lid and let simmer for another 30 minutes, until you get rid of all the excess water. Once that time has passed, strain the liquid and pour it in the watertight jar for safe keeping.
Now, depending on how much of the liquid detergent you’re using, this recipe will get you approximately 20 loads in a standard washing machine. Two tablespoons per load are enough, but if your clothes are really soiled, you might consider using more.
Other Uses for Soap Nuts
Because of their active ingredient, soap nuts can be employed in other household roles:
- great natural shampoo
- help repel bugs and insects
- protect your plants
- an all-purpose cleaner
You can find some recipes here. If you don’t want to make your own liquid nut soap, you can always buy it [easyazon_link identifier=”B003OUIVU4″ locale=”US” tag=”tictin-20″]online[/easyazon_link].
What do you think, will you try soap nuts?
If you don’t want to mess with something like that, there’s another great, natural and HE washer friendly option that’s super convenient and great for the environment.
MyGreenFills keeps all the yucky stuff out of their products so you don’t have to worry about the toxic chemicals that are in conventional laundry soap.
This will also be the last jug you’ll ever need because their innovative product is sent in a little refill packet whenever you want. (No more running out of detergent because you forgot to pick it up at the store, or for that matter, lugging those heavy jugs home, and the landfills don’ have to mess with tons of jugs!)
AND they have a new Discovery Kit so you can try it out for yourself!