Soap Nuts


Nuts about laundry

Soap nuts are a dried fruit with laundry-cleaning properties. Skeptical? Don’t be, because these work great and have freed us from commercial detergents and softeners.

We purchased Laundry Tree’s starter package for $14.95. In the package you receive a bag of soap nuts, some cotton drawstring bags, a small bottle of essential oil to provide a scent, and a small cotton drawstring bag already filled with six soap nuts.

All you need to do is place the bag directly in your washing machine with your laundry. The first time I used this product, my dirty clothes contained some white socks I had worn outside while digging a trench, so they were covered in soil. And in previous washings using commercial detergent, the dirt in the socks had become ingrained to the point where they looked like an old pair of fading, black socks.

One cycle in the wash with the soap nuts and they were white again. Two caveats: the company says to put 3-to-5 soap nuts into the drawstring bag. Make that 5-to-7 if you want really clean clothes. Second, while the the nuts are reusable, don’t expect to get more than 2 or 3 loads of laundry before replacing the soap nuts. Other than that I have no reservations about recommending this wonderful product.

The Laundry Tree starter comes wrapped in a small basket so you can proffer it as a housewarming present for your more ecologically-minded friends.

-- Tom Bundrick 10/12/11

(Genus Sapindus has useful cleaning properties due to its production of a natural surfactant. For more of the science behind the Soap Nut check out this article.--OH — editors)