Soap Nuts as a Detergent?


img_1565Who would have thought that the earth provides a nut that will make your clothes squeaky
clean? I walked into this cute little shop called Time and Again in Hayward, Wisconsin. I glanced down and saw a barrel full of these nut looking things. There were some muslin sacks nearby. So curious Claire got the best of me and naturally, I had to ask what the heck these balls were.

“Soap nuts,” the woman at the counter answered.

You can use these awesome natural nuts instead of laundry detergent. You’re really probably thinking I’m nuts! Soap nuts come from the dried fruit of the Chinese Soapberry Tree. They release saponin (in other words, soap) when they come in contact with water. Warm water releases the saponin quicker than cold water but you can use them with both temperatures. They can be reused up to six times!

The soap nuts are also hypoallergenic, which means they’re great for babies and people with sensitive skin. Since they come from a dried fruit, people with nut allergies do not have to worry about using these in their laundry.

But you love the scent of your laundry detergent, right? Since they do not give a fragrance to your clothes, you can add your own essential oils for that clean laundry smell. I recommend lavender!

Soap nuts are great for conserving water. They do not leave a soapy residue that needs to be rinsed away so don’t even worry about the rinse cycle during washing. Add them to your compost pile when you are ready to retire the soap nuts.

How to use soap nuts:

  1. Place 5 nuts in a drawstring bag.
  2. Put in the bag in the washing machine and launder your clothes.
  3. Remove the soap nuts from the muslin bag and let dry.
  4. The nuts should last about 5-6 times or until they feel soft and look gray.

What other ways have you used your soap nuts?

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