We’re right in the middle of moving, and I’m just squeezing in this little post about another new acquisition of ours. After contemplating whether or not to make my own laundry liquid, I stumbled across something that made the decision a lot easier: soap nuts!
You might wonder what these are (so did I), and it is exactly what it says on the tin. “Nuts” (alright, dried berries if you want to be exact) that naturally – without us humans doing anything – contain soap. Agitated in warm or hot water, they release this soap, which makes them a perfect laundry detergent.
Is this effective? Isn’t it very expensive? All these questions! I am right now in the process of conducting my own medium-to-long-term study about how well they actually work (i.e. I use them and see what happens). One factor which was highly irritating to begin with was the fact that they don’t leave any smell whatsoever. There is no way to smell-check whether your clothes are actually cleaned. But then we remember that it’s not really the smell that determines cleanness – that’s just a great lie we’ve ingested from chemical-detergent-manufacturers. It was irritating nonetheless, which is why we decided to add a few drops of lemon essential oil to the little bag of nuts, and our laundry came out clean and beautifully scented. I will probably shop around at some point to see what other scents I could infuse my washing with. Having the choice over how your clothes smell opens up whole new possibilities which I find very refreshing!
As I mentioned, we’ve only been able to use the soap nuts for a few loads of washing so far, and I’m curious to investigate how well they will deal with more heavily stained clothes. It’s very hard to predict the cleanliness, as mentioned, especially if the clothes didn’t have visible stains on them. I will surely keep you updated about this issue.
I’m very happy to say, though, that if the soap nuts continue to work well in our laundry, I will have not only solved my dilemma about making my own laundry detergent, but also invested in a highly sustainable and green product. Soap nuts are 100% natural, and the remaining soapy water from washing can even be used to water your plants, which in my opinion says a lot about their chemical safety.
In order to mention this, there is one downside still, as the nuts are shipped all the way from India to the UK, which means a fairly large carbon footprint in this regard. But, as we are all aware, it is next to impossible to make 100% environmental and ethical decisions, and these soap nuts make the race in every category so far.
You can check out the website of the company I bought them from here. If they do keep their promises, the nuts will be even cheaper than shop-bought detergent! The tub cost £7 and is supposed to last for up to 108 washes. My non-bio powder which cost £5 apparently lasts 25 washes (even though I use a lot less). And a bigger 1kg soap nuts bag is even cheaper: £12 for 480 washes.
Have you tried soap nuts? How did it go for you? Are there any differences between hard and soft water trials? How did you tackle the no-smell problem?