WHAT ARE SOAP NUTS AND DO THEY REALLY WORK?
WHAT ARE SOAP NUTS?
Soap nuts or Soapberries are actually dried fruit shells and are 100% completely natural. They can be used as an environmentally friendly, biodegradable and chemical free detergent for your washing machine and have been used as such for centuries in Indian homes.
ARE SOAP NUTS GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?
They come from completely renewable sources, as it is just the empty, discarded husk that is used rather than the soapberry nut itself. They are sustainable and the trees are easily grown without the need for fertiliser or pesticides.
Soap nuts aren’t treated in any way, just left out to dry in the sun, and don’t contain synthetic foaming agents or harsh chemicals. They are hypoallergenic so suitable for sensitive skin and allergy sufferers. They are also vegan and cruelty free.
Suitable for all fabrics and all temperatures from 30-90 degrees they are a very economical way of washing at lower temperatures.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
Soap nut shells contain saponin, a natural soap which, when agitated with water, release suds. They possess wonderful cleaning properties, all without the use of harsh chemicals. They are used as a natural, eco-friendly alternative to laundry powder and household cleaner.
Natural soap that actually does grow on trees, can you get more eco-friendly than that?
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOAP NUTS AND SOAP BERRIES?
The simple answer is no. Both names are used to describe the same thing – the dried shell of berries that grow on the Sapindus tree found mainly in India and Nepal.
HOW DO YOU USE SOAP NUTS?
A few nuts are added to a cotton wash bag and placed in the drum of your machine. When agitated in water they produce the saponins which work as a surfactant, breaking the surface tension of the water to penetrate the fibres of your clothing, lifting stains from the fabric, and leaving dirt suspended in the water that is rinsed away.
Soap nuts don’t have a scent of their own, but if required you can add a few drops of essential oil to the cotton bag to fragrance your washing. Lemon and Lavender are perfect for a fresh, subtle and clean smell.
For optimum performance add a tablespoon of Soda Crystals to your wash to soften the water and help prevent lime scale build up, this can also help lift more stubborn stains.
ARE SOAP NUTS COST EFFECTIVE?
Soap nuts can be reused a few times before being discarded. 1kg of soapnuts is enough for at least 140 washes at 60 degrees - washing at a lower temperature will increase this amount. You can easily tell if the nuts are ok to re-use by squeezing the still wet bag, if you feel and see suds you can use them again for another load.
As a guide here is the amount of washes you can expect to get out of them depending on the Temperature you wash at.... remember the lower the temperature the better for the environment!!
30 degrees = 4 uses 40 degrees = 3 uses 60 degrees = 2
HOW DO I DISPOSE OF SOAP NUTS AFTER USE?
Once you have finished with your soap nuts you can pop them in your compost or green recycling. You could even throw them onto your garden, they help to fend off snails and slugs and are also great for the soil.
DO SOAP NUTS REALLY WORK?
Honestly, I have used soap nuts along with lemon essential oil to wash my families clothes for a few years now. You don’t get the strong “laundry detergent” smell, it’s a more subtle, clean scent. But I actually prefer that. I always wash at 30 degrees and on an eco or quick cycle. I found the results to be great on light to normal, everyday soiled clothes. I must say they didn’t touch the grass stains on my boys cricket whites, but then neither did typical laundry detergent to be fair. I found with more stubborn stains, mixing a small amount of soda crystals with a little water to form a paste and rubbing on the stain before hand helped. But on the whole I am very happy with the results they achieve.
Fancy giving them a try yourself but don’t want to commit to a full kilo bag just yet? Then I have some 250g trial bags available. These are the perfect size to “give it a go” and see what all the fuss is about for yourself.