I’ve been a proponent of natural laundry detergents for a long while. In my mind, it just makes sense. No need to cover myself or my family in clothes that have been soaked with carcinogens. After all, our clothing comes in direct, long-term contact with our body’s largest organ: our skin.
My go-to detergent is Ecos; it’s inexpensive and it works. I’ve tried lots of other brands throughout the years, including Seventh Generation and Method, and they also work fabulously. But who knew that there is a species of nuts that does the trick too?
I have to admit, although this gift of soap nuts from my sister was totally up my alley, it has sat untouched in the pedestal of my washing machine since December 25 of last year. However, as my last dribble of Ecos ran out and additional laundry lingered, I had no desire to run to the store. Enter the soap nuts.
According to the direct importer and seller, Green Virgin Products, soap nuts are the fruit of the Chinese Soap Berry Tree, and the best varietals (yes, there are varietals) grow in Northern India and Nepal. The handy tag on the product further explains how it works: the berries are cracked open, the large seed is removed, and the outer shell that remains contains large amounts of a natural soap called saponin.
Partly skeptical but mostly intrigued, I cracked 4-6 of the nuts in half as instructed and placed them in the small wash bag provided . I tossed them into my front load washer with a batch of the usual clothes on normal cycle. I followed up with a batch of work clothes on permanent press. Finally, I washed a full load of heavy towels.
I gotta say, every load came out clean and soft. Go figure!
The other neat thing, I used the same 4-6 nuts for all three loads of laundry. The packaging claims they can be reused 4-7 times for a top loader and even more for a front loader. To tell if they are used up or not, take one of the used nuts and place them in a glass with a lid and shake. If it suds up, they’ve still got life. Brilliant!
Apparently, laundry is just the beginning. Green Virgin Products claims you can wash you car, counters, dishes, pets, and even your hair with soap nuts. They also provide instructions for making a concentrated liquid soap.
I’ll keep you posted as soap nuts slowly tackle those (ok, maybe not the hair quite yet) and other cleaning tasks in our house. In the meantime, I’m happy with my laundry results, and thrilled knowing the product is totally organic, hypoallergenic, non-polluting, and weighs little, lessoning the transportation footprint.
Learn more and pick up your own bag of soap nuts at www.GreenVirginProducts.com. Costs range from $1.89 for a sampler bag to $16.95 for a 500 gram bag. My 250 gram bag retails for $11.95 and washes approximately 83 loads of clothes.
That’s just nuts (sorry, I had to say it!), and a great bang for the buck all the way around. Thanks, sister, and happy cleaning!
I shared this post on Sunday School.