One woman's quest to save money, save the planet and save my sanity

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Soaking in Soap Nuts - A Review

When I originally wrote about discovering Soap Nuts, it was purely because my curiosity was peaked. So much so that based upon Easy Eco To Go's write up, I ordered some from Laundry Tree and waited patiently for their arrival. At the same time, Easy Eco was having her Soap Nuts giveaway and since I already did a bunch of stuff needed to enter (like writing on your blog) I figured I should give that a whirl as well. Little did I know the success that would follow. Not only do I lovey, love, lover, loveness my Soap Nuts, but I won the Easy Eco giveaway. Double my pleasure!
So armed with a decent stash of Soap Nuts, I have set about transforming my cleaning of everything from underwear to windows. Here are some of my findings.
In my opinion, the Soap Nuts did an equal, if not slightly better job of getting things clean compared to regular HE detergent. The first load I tried was on wet dishtowels and the cloth napkins and washcloths we use at the table. This is usually the stinkiest stuff in the laundry as it has been very wet and has usually wiped up food, spilled milk, etc. The Soap Nuts got these perfectly clean and funky odor free.
I am a psycho about stain removal because there is nothing I hate more than a perfectly good piece of clothing ruined because somebody slopped chocolate down the front. I tried running a few things without applying any stain pre-treatment, but the stains remained. I pulled those items out, did my usual stain spray ritual and ran them again. The stains were gone. So I had to use a pre-treament, but I also have to use it with regular detergent. I am continuing to look for a reliable "green" alternative for stain removal. Sometimes, stains get better when the clothes are hung out in the sun to dry, but not always.
If bought in bulk and using the number of loads that Laundry Tree estimates you can do, the cost per load is about 17 cents. This is virtually the same as my regular detergent when purchase in the 150 fl oz size. If you want to use the Soap Nuts in the traditional method by throwing them right in with the wash, you will need some of the little bags and those are two for a $1.00. This is a one time investment. Purchasing the essential oils to add a nice scent to your laundry can add an additional $5, but it will last forever and is completely optional. Obviously if you buy in smaller quantities the cost goes up. If you don't need enough for 175 loads, you might consider splitting an order with someone.
In order to wash on cold, which is the most energy efficient choice, you need to make the "Soap Nut Soak". This could not be easier. Boil water, throw in your nuts. Let it sit overnight. Fish our your nuts. Done. I think this is the way to get the maximum amount of loads out of the Soap Nuts. Even the Laundry Tree website says "If you use hot water washes, your soapnuts will quickly release all of their saponin, and they won’t be good for as many re-uses". I found that I got two to three washes when I did them on warm, but they are never as foamy as the first load. With the Soak, you know that each load is getting the same amount of soap and it eliminates the guesswork.
Ease of use:
Overall, it could not have been simpler. Throw a few nuts in the little bag and toss it in. Much less messy than my regular liquid detergent which is constantly dripping all over the place and I always feel like so much is wasted in the measuring cup and left in the bottle. The only thing that was a challenge was finding the bag in the mass of wet laundry before I threw it in the dryer. A couple of times I ended up drying it because it was caught up in something. So now I am just more careful when transferring things.
Final Laundry Results:
I have to admit I was cautiously optimistic, but I can honestly say that the laundry has smelled better (with or without the addition of the essential oil) and is MUCH softer. Even the line dried stuff is softer and doesn't have that "chemicaled to death" feel. I have also seen a difference in my darling Josie's skin. She has super sensitive areas like (she is going to kill me) her butt cheeks. They are always red. Since I have been washing with the Soap Nuts they look way better because her underwear isn't irritating them anymore. Either that or she is getting around naked more and I just haven't noticed.
Other Cleaning:
One of the things that most intrigued me was the amount of other household cleaning that the Soak can be used for. I made the window cleaner by combining a bit of the soak with water and vinegar and it worked awesome! I did my sliding glass doors and they came out great. I also took the opportunity to try something I have always been skeptical about. I used newspaper instead of paper towels and  it worked just as well. Phasing out paper towels has been a struggle for me, but I may have stumbled upon a solution. Stay tuned for some love in that department!
I also used the soak to do a full kitchen cleanup and the counters got super clean. Plus, I always feel oogey about using chemicals (even the cleaners that claim to be "green") on food surfaces. Even if there was any residue from the soak it's natural so go ahead and eat right off the table kids. No need for plates anymore.
There are a bunch of other uses for the Soak and the one I still want to try is as a shampoo. I have previously mentioned my infrequent hair washing and I have been looking into the "No-Poo" method. I am thinking I will do a big experiment and try out some different things, but that will take a bit since I need to go a while between "poos" to get a true result.
So I honestly think I am sold on Soap Nuts and Laundry Tree should probably start harvesting double time because I may actually stay on top of my laundry with the added "feel good" appeal that washing now holds. Combine this with the ability to get stuff on the line on a regular basis now that's it's Spring and I may just become the Basket Master that I always wanted to be. Now if I could just teach the chickens to fold towels, I'd be in heaven.


  1. Yea, I love the soapnuts too:) they work great!

  2. We are pleased to introduce ourselves as one of the largest wholesale exporter of Soap Nut (SAPINDUS MUKOROSSI) from Nepal. We harvest our own soap nuts from the Himalayan region. Our product is certified as organic by USDA
    The shell contains a high level of saponins which is an excellent hair tonic and is also known for its ability to cleanse and wash and used in cleansing lotion, protein shampoo, and protein shampoo with conditioner.
    Soap nut, highly effective mild and natural, preserves the colors and the structure of your valuable clothing longer than chemical detergents
    We also offer packaging per your requirements. We also offer custom packaging with your own artwork, logo, text, a product completely ready for your customer.
    If you need soap Nuts from Nepal, we are there for a steady and long term supply .
    Some portions of the sales help support an orphanage and a single mom income generation program in the region.