Looking for more natural ways to wash those dirty clothes? Try organic soap nuts! Soap nuts, otherwise known as “soap berries," come from the Chinese Soapberry tree (Sapindus mukorossi). Although they look like nuts, they are actually dried fruit that is similar to lychee. Soap nuts are usually harvested after they drop from trees grown in the jungles of Indonesia or India. Soap nuts have various uses, and they can be used for cleaning more than just your laundry. Check out these 7 reasons to go nuts over soap nuts!
Reason 1: Soap nuts are 100% natural.
Soap nuts are 100% natural! Now, I am always weary when it comes to the word “natural.” The word is thrown around a lot these days, and used heavily on a lot of conventional cleaning products that still contain ingredients which are “not so natural.” Soap nuts contain one ingredient—soap nuts, and nothing else. Because they simply come from a tree, they are about as natural as you get. Soap nuts contain surfactants, which are compounds that act like detergents. Conventional cleaning detergents are manufactured with chemical surfactants, but the ones in soap nuts are all natural.
Reason 2: Soap nuts work!
Although I knew about soap nuts a few years ago, I was a bit skeptical to try them. This was mostly because I had to pay to do my laundry, and I really didn’t want to waste my money on something that didn’t work. So, I waited for people I know to try them first. My sister-in-law and neighbor both had soap nuts, and tried them out on their soiled farm clothes. They reported back to me after trying them, and said they were a complete success. Now mind you, when I say soiled farm clothes, I mean clothes covered with things like chicken-poop, mud, and goat odors. They both washed several loads, and reported that they were a success. My neighbor kindly gave me some of her own soap nuts to try. I went home, put a load of stinky, sweaty workout clothes in the washing machine, threw in the soap nuts, and guess what? They worked! My clothes came out clean and smelling fresh.
Reason 3: Soap nuts are super easy to use.
Soap nuts are not only effective, they are also super easy to use. Making your own natural laundry detergent is nice, but sometimes it can be a pain when you are cut short for time, or if you don’t have all the ingredients on-hand. When you purchase soap nuts, they usually come with a small, cotton bag to place and seal them in. Since I borrowed mine from my neighbor, I didn’t have a bag, so I just wrapped 3 of them loosely in some cheesecloth, and tied the top so the nuts wouldn’t fall out. Then, I simply placed them in the washer with my dirty laundry. Easy peasy! You don’t even have to use fabric softener, as they naturally soften fabrics. It is recommended that you use up to only 3 or 4 of them per one load of clothes though, because using too many will make your clothes stiff.
Reason 4: Soap nuts are reusable.
You can re-use soap nuts up to 10 times, or even more depending on how big they are and what temperature of water you use. If you wash your clothes using colder temperatures you will use more, but they will last longer. For those who like to wash their clothes using hot water, you can use less soap nuts, but they don’t last as long. A way you can tell soap nuts are used up when they are soft, squishy, and no longer have a fruit smell when they are wet. Another way is to get them wet, squeeze them, and if they release little suds (saponin), they can still be used. When they are used up, just throw them in your compost!
Reason 5: Soap nuts have several uses.
Laundry detergent is not the only thing soap nuts are good for. You can use soap nuts for things such as shaving cream, shampoo, hair growth treatment, and washing sensitive skin. Some people use soap nuts in their dishwasher, and use white vinegar along with the nuts as a rinse aid. They have been used as a safe way to wash pets and repel bugs from them as well. A mild cleaning solution can also be made from soap nuts. Who knew dried fruit could have so many uses?
Reason 6: Soap nuts are hypoallergenic.
Not only are they 100% natural, they are safe too! Soap nuts are often recommended for babies or people with sensitive skin because they are gentle and odorless. They do not contain any synthetic, harsh or toxic chemicals like most conventional soaps, which often can wreak havoc on skin.
Reason 7: Soap nuts are eco-friendly.
My favorite characteristic about soap nuts is that they are extremely eco-friendly. They are renewable, and can easily be grown sustainably and organically. You can even plant your own soap nut tree if you wanted! They often require little to no processing or packaging, and are completely compostable. Soap nuts are renewable, and you can get more uses out of them than most commercial soaps. Since they are safe for graywater systems and 100% biodegradable, soap nuts cause no pollution.
You’ve just got to try them! Soap nuts are perfect for those who desire to replace their cleaners with something more eco-friendly, sustainable, natural, and versatile. There are a few different places you can find soap nuts. Online may be the easiest, but try checking around for them locally, or at your natural and whole food stores first.
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