We have completely made the switch to only using organic soap nuts, and organic washing liquid in our house.
Soap nuts are inexpensive, natural and are still just as good at washing your clothes.
Not to mention that they are softer on your skin, as well as your cloths – making them great for those who suffer from sensitive skin!
In this article we will explore firstly what soap nuts are, and then I will guide you through how to use them, their benefits, and finally, recommend some of the best brands of soap nuts.
What are Soap Nuts?
Soap nuts are actually the dried shells of soap berries (which grow on a soap berry tree, or Sapindus Mukorossi). Believe it or not, soap nuts are actually from the same family as the Goji berry!
They contain a natural soap called saponin. This makes them a fantastic natural cleanser, as saponin is released when soap nuts are mixed with water and agitated.
Soap nuts are also anti-fungal and anti-microbial, and are free of parabens, foaming agents, phosphates and pthlates. They are also SLS-free.
How to use Soap Nuts
Soap nuts are easy to use – below is the process:
- Load your laundry into your washing machine
- Break apart 4-6 soap nuts into halves, and then place these into a muslin bag (you can also use a tied-up sock as a substitute)
- Place the bag into the washing cylinder with your laundry
- Wash the clothes on your normal settings (although warm/hot water helps to release the saponin more than cold water)
- Hang the muslin bag with the soap nuts to dry with your laundry
We tend to replace the soap nuts after 2/3 washes, when the shells become dry and brittle. You can see when this has happened as the shells will also turn lighter in colour, and break apart easily when dry.
You can also add white vinegar in with your soap nuts for extra softness (about 1/3 of a cup), and baking soda for an even deeper clean (about 1/4 of a cup).
The nuts will leave your clothing smelling fragrance-free,
Tip: You can turn ordinary soap nuts into liquid detergent instead. Simply boil some nuts for 1-2 hours, and then use 1 cup of liquid for a large laundry load. Be sure to keep the liquid detergent in the fridge, as it is an organic material after all – so it can go off!
Benefits of Soap Nuts
They are Great for Hypoallergenics, and Sensitive Skin
As soap nuts are technically a fruit, there is a small chance of being allergic to them – as it is rare to be allergic to a fruit!
Do you have sensitive skin?
Soap nuts are free from chemicals such as parabens, SLSs, foaming agents and phosphates. They are kinder to your skin, as well as your clothes!
They Don’t Block up Pipework
Soap nuts don’t contain suds, so they are great for stripping dirt from clothes, and getting it down the drain – without blocking the pipes of your washing machine!
Knowing that these natural cleaners won’t damage your washing machine over time is a big relief.
Especially when you look at the cost of a new machine!
They Save Money
Soap nuts are extremely inexpensive compared to bog standard laundry powder.
For example, Ariel is a popular laundry powder here in the UK. A box of Ariel powder that will do 40 washes on average will cost you £7.
Whereas a 1kg bag of soap nuts that can last you up to 330 washes only costs £8.99!
That is a saving of about 15p per wash!
We tend to find that a 1kg bag of soap nuts lasts us between 9 and 12 months on average.
They are Good for the Environment
When you have used the nuts until they have gone hard and brittle, they can be chucked in with your other natural waste in our compost bin.
The left over water from a wash with soap nuts is also better for the environment, as it only contains natural saponins and water!
It is disturbing to think just what an impact our waste has on our environment – on animals’ habitats, and the pollution of the oceans.
It is great to know that on a small scale, you are doing your part to only use natural and organic substances to wash your clothes. You are part of the solution to the problem, and not just adding to the problem of environmental pollution.
Where to Buy Soap Nuts
We purchase our soap nuts from Amazon. The brand we use is Salveo. They always wash clothes well for us, and we can get them on next-day delivery from Amazon Prime.
The great thing about Salveo is that they also include muslin bags for free to put the nuts in. They also come in a large muslin bag, which is then reusable after you have used all its contents! They are also vegetarian society approved.
A good choice if you live in the US or Canada are NaturOli and Green Virgin soap nuts. Both brands are USDA certified organic, and you can buy the nuts in bulk to reduce cost.