Soap In A Nutshell – Doing Laundry With Soapnuts.


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*UpdateSoap In A Nutshell is now giving 10% off any orders if you mention The Good Human. So if you are interested in ordering any, just be sure to mention that when you are checking out.

A few weeks ago, the people from Soap In A Nutshell contacted me to see if I would be interested in trying out their soapnuts here at home, and I jumped at the chance. I had always been curious about soapnuts and how they actually get your laundry clean, so getting to test them on my own laundry was going to be pretty cool. But before I get to the results, some of you might be wondering just what a soapnut actually is, and you wouldn’t be alone in your question – probably not too many people have heard of them!

A soapnut, or Sapindus Mukorossi, is found in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres and comes from several different kinds of trees and shrubs. The term soapnut refers to the crushed seeds that contain saponin, a natural detergent, which has been used by people to clean clothes for a very long time. Soapnuts are also used medically as an expectorant, emetic, contraceptive, and for treatment of excessive salivation, epilepsy, chlorosis, and migraines. Sounds like good stuff, no? And according to these guys and other sources on the internet, there are many advantages to using soap nuts instead of other cleaning agents:

  • Sustainable, bio-degradable and renewable
  • Anti-microbial
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Multifunctional – laundry, cleaning solutions, shampoo, pet wash, etc.
  • No need for fabric softener

Well, the soapnuts arrived at the house with a little cotton bag that you actually put them in before putting them in with the laundry. According to the directions, 2-3 soapnuts in the bag is all you need to clean a load of laundry, and they can be reused up to 5 times. In between use you take them out of the pouch and let them dry, and once they have been used the maximum amount of times you can either boil them in water to make a cleaning solution or you can throw them in our compost bin. I think I will try the boiling route, as I should try to get one more use out of them before composting them. If I remember, I will post about that here too. But back to the results – I washed a load of white towels and a load of dark stuff like jeans, and both loads came out just as clean as when I use my regular eco-detergent. The white towels came out white (and not the color of the soapnuts, which I honestly was worried about) and were actually softer than normal (I hang them outside to dry). Overall I was pretty happy about the fact that these little soapnuts actually clean the same as the bottles and boxes of detergent that we all buy, and at a fraction of the cost too. On the website, they say that 100 grams of soapnuts will wash at least 40 loads of laundry, meaning each load only costs $.19 to wash; that is very cost effective even compared to what I usually use.

So if you were curious about soapnuts like me and were not sure if they were effective – they are. I have been reading and hearing about them for years now and never got around to trying them, but they work even better than I thought they were going to. If you want to learn more about them or try them for yourself, you can check out the guys over at Soap In A Nutshell.

*UpdateSoap In A Nutshell is now giving 10% off any orders if you mention The Good Human. So if you are interested in ordering any, just be sure to mention that when you are checking out.

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  1. I have been using soapnuts to wash clothes for about six months and I love them! We have allergies in our house and you can always tell when I use regular detergent. I’ll never go back!

  2. I have a high efficiency top-loader, so I do not use them in the little bag directly on the clothes. I take 12 cups of water and 2-3 handfuls of soapnuts (I have small hands) and boil them for at least 30 minutes. I let the mixture cool, then strain out the chunks. I keep it stored in old shampoo bottles in the refrigerator. I use 1-2 capfuls (the cap is from All Free and Clear’s concentrated detergent bottle) and that’s it! I never use softener. I just bought a huge bag of Naturoli soapnuts for $50.00 with shipping from Ebay. That should last a year or two.

    I was trying to use the soapnut juice for shampoo, but I have a lot of hair and the juice has no viscosity like regular shampoo. So, I am hoping one of the soapnuts distributors creates a soapnuts shampoo for me.

    You really can clean just about anything with them. They are organic, sustainable and really great.

  3. I didn’t see any information on the Soap in a Nutshell site on how exactly the nuts are harvested (I’m wondering about both environmental and fair trade aspects, specifically). Do you have any information about that? I’ll do some more searching on this myself, but I thought I’d ask in case you have it handy.

  4. I do know they are harvested by hand or picked off the ground by those who harvest them. Other than that, its hard to find information. Please do let us know if you find anything more!

  5. I have been using soap nuts for about a month. My kids all have allegeries. I use about 4 and have used one with 10 washes. They seem to still work. Not mussy or anything.

    I have a HE washing machine and just throw the bag in the wash.

  6. A low cost, green eco friendly, healthy natural way to bathe, shampoo and generally clean is to make a homemade liquid from soapberry which grows on the Chinaberry tree and has been used for thousands of years. It works very effectively.

  7. How about comparing them to using no detergent of any kind? You might find that you simply can’t tell the difference between the “cleanliness” of your clothes by sight no matter what you use.

    Over the years, I’ve gradually reduced the amount of detergent I use to less than 1/4″ of the cap. I could probably live without even that but DH is a little creeped out by no soap. I have used no soap when visiting–I have allergies to some detergents and forgot to bring my own. The clothes didn’t appear any different than they do at home.

    But then, also, I wasn’t washing something like ground in dirt from gardening either.

  8. I do all our wash with soap nuts. The clothes are so clean and I find that they are softer than any regular detergent. My wife has eczema and it helps her lots. I laso use it for cleaning. Easy and a great product.

  9. I’m a hairdresser and a friend from Vietnam told me about the soap nuts and I would like to make my own shampoo and conditioner. or are they making this already? I wouldlike to know where I could buy some

  10. I’m a hairdresser and a friend from Vietnam told me about the soap nuts and I would like to make my own shampoo and conditioner. or are they making this already? I would like to know where I could buy some.

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