I recently stumbled across this amazing product online called soap nuts. They are the dried shells of soapberries that grow on the Sapindus tree in locations around the world. What makes these husks so special is their unique and natural soaping agent called saponin. For thousands of years this substance has been used for laundry detergent and body soaps. As a consumer always on the search for sustainable products, soap nuts definitely rang my bell.
I found a fantastic company called NaturOli that has embraced the soap nut in their line of home and personal care products. Their website is chock full of information that I happily lost myself in for the better part of an hour. When I emerged, it was with a new passion for this tiny nut that is boldly slinging stones at the chemically fueled giants of the home care industry. I had caught the soap nut fever. I couldn't wait to try them and the kind people at NaturOli were happy to send some my way.
Before trying them out on my first load, I made sure to read through the literature. While soap nuts are just as handy (if not more so) than typical detergent, they are a completely different product, so it makes sense that the method of usage would also be quite different. After reviewing the instructions and tips I got started.
The first wash was a load of lightly soiled dark clothes. They came out clean and fresh just as they would have with the other detergents I use.
I decided to test the powers of soap nuts a little further with a load of heavily soiled kitchen towels. My husband has this dreadful habit of using the kitchen towels to wipe up spills on the counter- any spills including the most common, coffee. This does not bode well for our white towels.
I made more tea and started the wash. Thirty minutes later I was eager to see how the soap nuts had done. The towel came out much cleaner. The coffee spills were still visible but it is important to note that 1) no detergent I have ever tried has been able to get them any cleaner 2) I did not use any stain treatment as I would typically have done.
I had opted for warm water on this load as well as a more vigorous wash cycle because it contained a heavily soiled bath mat and towels. Since I was using warm water, I skipped the soaking process and just through the bag of soap nuts into the wash with the towels and mat.
Many of the towels came out fine, but one particularly soiled washcloth (it’s just makeup people) and bath mat (my dog likes to sleep on it when I’m in the shower) were slightly cleaner but not enough to make me want to use them again. This could be because I had already used the soap nuts five times and they had lost some of their effectiveness, or because I did not use the tea method. (This method seems to be most effective with heavily soiled loads.)
Overall, my experience with soap nuts has a positive one. I will definitely be using them more! They are the purest, most natural and earth friendly form of detergent available.
Here’s what I like most about soap nuts:
They are gentle on fabrics and completely fragrance free.
My laundry comes out simply smelling fresh and clean.
There is also no need for fabric softener with soap nuts as they naturally condition and soften fabrics.
They are also hypoallergenic, making them the ideal choice for homes with babies, people with sensitive skin, allergies or asthma.
They are naturally anti-fungal and anti-microbial.
They are a natural odor remover.
They have multiple uses around the house. Make the soap nut tea or grind them into a powder to incorporate them into all your household chores. They are even reported to be effective on your windows!
Are not harmful to pets and are 100% free of animal testing or cruelty!
Endless shelf life
Come from a sustainable resource and require little energy to harvest and process.They are 100% natural, chemical free and biodegradable! They come in reusable bags and are shipped in recyclable packaging.
They are also very affordable. You can purchase an 8 oz. bag of soap nuts online from NaturOli for only $12.75! If you stick to the recommended five loads per five nuts that comes to 80 loads, making it the most affordable natural detergent I have been able to find!
NaturOli’s soap nuts have received the prestigious Green Dot Award and continue to be recognized for their quality and positive impact on the environment. I highly recommend them and will be ordering these cute bags to give with my some of my Christmas presents this year. Visit NaturOli’s site if you’re looking for unique gifts that carry a positive impact this season.
Have you found other uses for soap nuts? If so please share them in a comment below!