Do Soap Nuts Actually Work...and How?

Over the years as we moved to plastic free, zero waster, sustainable living...soap nuts have come up in article over article.

So we went ahead and ordered some.

Do Soap Nuts Actually Work...and How?

We have been very impressed with soap nuts but there is a way to use them effectively and when we don't use it right, then it won't work that well.

We have used soap nuts in both top load washers, front load washers, and camp washers will positive results in all of them.

We wash all our clothes in cool water and we don't separate colors/whites anymore. 

1) Soap nuts MUST be soaked prior to use

The saponins in the plant (which I will discuss here shortly) are only activated by water.

Yes, there is water in your wash BUT the soap nuts need to be thoroughly soaked in able for the saponins to be released. Soaking the nuts in a small dish/cup of water overnight before washing will increased their efficacy.

2) Soap nuts MUST be dried thoroughly after wash

Hold on...didn't you just say they needed to be wet before using? Yes BUT if the soap nuts stay constantly wet, they will start to break down without getting all the use out of them for our laundry.

If you are using the soap nuts in a muslin bag, you can just let them dry in the bag and then soak them in the bag. 

3) Compost when graying

After several washes (will depends on the length of cycles and temperature of water), the soap nuts will start to turn gray. Its not necessarily GRAY but you will start to see them fading.

These soap nuts are done and should be tossed into the compost.

Continuing to use them in this state will not produce the best results.

4) Liquid

Yes, you can turn the soap nuts into a liquid option as well. 2 handfuls of soap nuts into a quart of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about an hour.

Strain and bottle. Use within the week (no preservatives and this is essential oil tea).

Use 2 tablespoons of liquid (more for heavily soiled items).

So how do these crazy things work?

Soap nuts, technically a berry, contain saponins. Saponins, are natural "soaping" agent and help to clean the dirt and oils off of our fabrics.

Because they are just the deseeded berries, the "soap" from these berries don't pose risk to our environment. They are gentle for sensitive skin...and of course, do not contribute to our landfills.

They don't take up a lot of space, which is great for tiny living!

Anyone here use soap nuts?