So, I’m here to make an announcement that I’ve been keeping a secret for a while. No, I’m not pregnant again…no, I am not moving, and no I did not finish off the bag of kettle corn (*cough*). I’m pretty well known for making my own laundry detergent…and I made it for a long time. But, I don’t make it any more. I DO NOT MAKE HOMEMADE LAUNDRY DETERGENT ANYMORE! Whew! I’m so glad to have that off my chest.
Soap nuts are not nuts that you eat while making soap…although, eating nuts while making soap sounds like a good party to me! Soap nuts are dried shells of the soapberry. They contain saponin which is a cleaning agent that works like soap and detergent, minus the chemicals – it’s 100% natural. When they get wet, they create suds…and they’ll clean your dirty undies like nothing else!
I switched to soap nuts about a year ago after reading about using soap nuts on Kitchen Stewardship. While I didn’t mind making my own laundry detergent, the idea of having something that I didn’t have to make AND knowing that it was more natural that what I was using was a big draw for me…so I ordered the sample bag on Amazon using Swagbucks. I was hooked. There was no turning back. I fought the nuts and the nuts won.
The draw of homemade detergent is that it’s so stinkin’ cheap. Really…why would I want to move away from something like that? Well…I didn’t. Homemade detergent was running me about $.05 per load. I bought the 4 pound bag of Soap Nuts on Amazon for $44.95.That’s about 800 loads or more. If we just go with the low end (800 loads), that makes each load $.05 each! That’s exactly what I was paying for homemade detergent….but this is even better because I get back that time I was using to make soap AND I know it’s natural.
UPDATE: Apparently the seller who had them at this price is sold out as some readers are reporting a higher price from another seller and no free shipping. We are looking into this matter. Thanks! – :0(
Another plus for me is that I only need one type of soap now – I can use soap nuts on baby clothing, cloth diapers, and our regular laundry. One soap – all loads. That’s a WINNER. Bazinga!
So, how do they work?
1. You put 4-5 berries in a muslin bag that is provided when you buy the nuts.
2. Put the bag down into the washer and turn on the water. If you’re using warm or hot water (I only use warm and hot wash) then you just let them get wet a bit before putting your laundry in. If you’re using cold water, just place the bag of berries in a container of hot water for about 3 minutes before you want to do your load.
3. Launder as usual.
4. Take bag of berries out before drying clothing. (Note – accidentally tossing them in the dryer doesn’t seem to hurt anything, but I like getting mine out.)
5. Love your naturally, clean clothing.
Soap nuts will work for about 5-7 loads, depending on how big your loads are.
So, how can you keep track of how many loads you’ve done? Simply keep a dry erase marker in the laundry room. Make tallies on the top or side of the washer. These easily wipe off when you’re done and ready to make a new list. (This is also great for reminding yourself that you’re laundering something that doesn’t need to be placed in the dryer – just make a note on top of the washer).
-Are soap nuts good for those with sensitive skin? Are they safe for babies?
YES!! Soap nuts are hypoallergenic, so they’re great for those with sensitive skin and allergies – especially babies.
-Where do you buy them?
I like buying mine from Amazon for $44.95. That way I know I’m getting free shipping and I still get to buy from a smaller company (NaturOil). The bigger order you buy, the cheaper your loads are. If you are not sure you’ll like them, you could get the sample pack first like I did.
-Are they cloth diaper safe?
-How do I know when my soap nuts are “done?”
Here’s a great post from Kitchen Stewardship about how to know when soap nuts are “done.”
-Can I use them in my HE washer?
Yes! And HE washers yield more loads than regular washers.
-Are they pet safe for bathing?
-Can I add Oxyclean to my wash as usual? Vinegar?
Yep. Doesn’t affect the cleaning power at all.
-Doesn’t leaving them in the rinse cycle create more soap?
No…not as long as your rinse is cold. They do not release saponin in cold water.
NOTE: Keep out of the reach of pets and children. They do resemble date fruit – but they are harmful when eaten. Considering that most kids don’t like the taste of soap, they likely wouldn’t eat any – unless you child has a dirty mouth. HA!!!
So, that’s my spill on soap nuts. I love them. I don’t regret switching at all – and likely this is all I will use going forward. I do still sometimes use ECOS for my cloth diapers…but that’s just habit. 🙂