I have been using Soap Nuts for my laundry for almost a year now. They come in a recyclable cardboard box and other than that they produce no waste.
The challenge is to keep them out of the dryer when you transfer your clean clothes. It won’t hurt them but it does make them last a little less long.
What are they? They are a deseeded, dried nut from a Soapnut Tree that contains a surfactant called saponin.
Surfactants reduce the surface tension of the water, essentially making it wetter and easier to penetrate into soiled fabrics. This combined with the agitation of your machine or handwashing removes the dirt or particles, then keeps them away from your clothing until rinsing occurs.
- Sustainable: It’s a renewable resource, easily grown organically.
- All Natural: No funky or harmful ingredients.
- Eco-Friendly: Less processing, less energy and less packaging.
- Affordable: They can replace multiple cleaners, and last longer.
- Reusable: Each berry can be used up to 6 times before it’s spent.
- Hypoallergenic: No skin or respiratory irritation and non-toxic.
- Not Actually Nuts: They’re totally safe for those with nut allergies.
- Simple: Throw them in your wash or make a simple liquid detergent.
- Odorless: But you can always add your own essential oils.
- Gentle: Their mild nature won’t damage delicate clothing or surfaces.
- No Fabric Softener: They naturally soften your fabrics!
- Save Water: They rinse easier so require less water.
- Save Energy: You can use a shorter rinse cycle in your laundry, too.
- Front-loading Friendly: No suds are perfect for HE machines.
- Works in Any Temperature: Use them in cold, warm or hot water.
- Non-polluting: 100% biodegradable and safe for graywater systems.
- Compostable: Used shells can be thrown in your compost.
- Self-sufficient: You can even grow a soap nut tree yourself!
To see if your soap nuts are still releasing saponin, get them wet and see if the suds are still present. http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/
If you prefer a liquid detergent, whip up a batch of homemade.
1/3 to 1/2 cup liquid lavender Castile soap
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
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Mix all ingredients in a 2-gallon bucket. Add hot water to fill the bucket and stir well. This will be a thinner concoction than commercial laundry detergent. Store your homemade detergent in a saved commercial bottle . Shake before you use because it has a tendency to separate. Use 1/4 cup for an average laundry load.
Until next time,