Spring view

Spring view
A View From Our Deck

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Soap Nuts For Your Laundry

Several months ago I wrote a blog about how I make and use homemade laundry soap.  It worked very well, and it is very economical to make.  This detergent costs only a few cents per load.  For a long time I made the liquid version, but it was messy and it was a large amount to store.  Then I switched to the dry powder which I blogged about.

http://www.thecabincountess.com/2013/01/what-on-earth-is-zote.html

Recently I learned of something else to use for laundry soap.  This is what it is!

Soap Nuts

These are called Soap Nuts. Soap nuts are the dried shells (or husks) from the soapberry tree.  These shells contain a substance called saponin that produces a soaping effect. Saponin is a low sudsing natural soap that can be used in top loading and front loading high efficiency machines.  It doesn't contain any of the harsh chemicals that are found in many laundry detergents, and they are antibacterial and biodegradable.  I ordered a half a pound of nuts.  Apparently I will be able to wash about 80-100 loads of laundry with this amount.


All you do is put 3-5 of the nuts in a little muslin bag (I also use little knitted soap bags) which comes with the order, tie it shut and toss the bag into the washer.  You can use the same bag of nuts 5 times before putting in new ones.  If the bag wears out, an old sock works just as well.  There is also a way to make liquid detergent with them.  You just boil them according to directions and strain the liquid into a jar.  A little goes a long way.  I ordered mine from a company called Pucketa Creek Trading (http://www.naturallaundrysoap.net).  They offer free shipping on an order or a free sample to try.  Amazon.com and others also sell them.  I admit I haven't used them for very long and haven't made the liquid, but they seem to clean well.  I'm sure heavy stains would have to be pre-treated just like you would with any detergent.  It was even suggested that you freeze the liquid in ice cube trays and toss one or two into the washer.

I also found a website that gives recipes for using these Soap Nuts to make dishwasher detergent, window cleaner, general cleaner, bathroom cleaner, face, hand or body wash and insect repellent in your garden.  http://www.crunchybetty.com/the-mother-of-all-soap-nuts-recipe-resources

I know it doesn't seem possible that these would work, but nature provides us a lot of things we aren't familiar with.  I read a blog from a person who has used them for two years and loves them.  http://www.stacymakescents.com/?s=soap+nuts

I will report back in a few weeks to report whether I continue to like using these Soap Nuts.  So far, I love them.  

Update:  I have used the soap nuts for several months now.  I like them because our clothes don't get that dirty and they are so easy to use.  I noticed the whites need a little boost now and then and spots need to be pretreated.   Overall, they are great and I will continue to use them.