Vegan Lifestyle

Washing with Soap Nuts -Everything you need to know

As you may know, if you follow my main account on Instagram, I have recently ventured forth into the world of Soap Nuts and I’m loving it! So, I’m here today to give you the low-down on them. Everything from what they are, the pros and cons and most importantly how to get the most use out of them.

What are Soap Nuts?

Soap Nuts come from a tree called  ‘Sapindus Mukorossi’ and don’t actually contain any soap whatsoever. You see, Soap Nuts are actually Berries, they’re part of the Lychee family and contain a natural cleaner called ‘Saponin’. Saponin can dig into the fibers on clothes to free dirt, grime, and oils from clothing. They’re native to India and Nepal but have become a popular environmentally friendly alternative to chemical detergents over the years.

Before we get into the pros and cons. I just wanted to show you this comparison picture from ‘Eco Nut Soap‘. On the right are towels washed several times with a normal detergent and on the left are towel washed several times with the soap nuts.

The towels on the left are noticeably fluffier (and MUCH softer) because of the Soap Nuts’ ability to gently loosen fibers. Chemical detergents can beat and weaken fibers resulting in your clothes and towels “wearing out” much sooner.

The pros and cons

Hot and cold washes – Works great for both hot and cold washes – For both options I find they work best if you soak them in a small glass of warm/hot water for 5 minutes to start the process.

Eco-friendly and biodegradable – you can literally just chuck them in your compost when you’re done, helping to cut down on landfill with every load.

Inexpensive – I paid £8.99 for a bag of soap nuts that lasts at least 240 washes depending on how often you change the soap nuts out. Now compare this to a standard washing detergent. The longest lasting I could find was 38 washes for a whopping £7 and that was pretty average. And that’s just for the detergent! If you want softener as well that could be another £7 on top of that making is £14 for 38 washes compared to £8.99 for 240 washes with the Soap Nuts. It’s a no-brainer!

Long Lasting – Soap nuts are good or 3-7 washes depending on how durable each particular nut is and how well you take care of them.

Hypoallergenic – 100% Natural and Organic – which makes them especially good for sensitive skin and those prone to allergies. Also, due to the very gentle, mild detergent, they produce they’re safe for your delicates because they have no nasty chemicals.

Cruelty-free & Vegan-friendly – With no nasty chemicals as stated above. There is no chance of these being tested on animals which means they are both cruelty-free and due to them being in a natural form they’re also vegan-friendly.

2 in 1– Due to the soap nut ability to loosen fibers and no harsh chemicals within them, it means that clothes and towels last much longer and are super soft meaning they’re a great option for baby clothes as well.

May not remove tough stain – Soap nuts may not live up to the cleaning abilities and stain removal of chemical, manufactured washing detergents. It’s not bleach so whites won’t be super white but I can’t say I’ve ever noticed an issue with this.

Convenience – Soaking them in water, placing them in a bag, drying them out. It’s a few extra steps in your washing regime that some people have reported they just don’t get on with.

Where to buy and How to Use

I buy my Soap Nuts from Soapnuts.co.uk. They offer quick delivery and great prices as well as various amazing products. As well as Soap Nuts they also offer Liquid Detergent and complete starter kits which you may find useful. I just went with the usual Soap Nuts as I had already done the research.

There are plenty of other shops to buy them from as well, I’ve noticed more supermarkets starting to sell them recently such as Ocado so there’s plenty of options.

To use all you need to do is: 

Place between 3 and 6 in a muslin cloth bag and tie it shut. You chould also make your own cloth bag. I’ve heard some people also roll them into socks and that works well.

Prep them, possibly with the Suds Test (more on that below). Then place them bag into your wash. Wash as normal on the temperature you choose.

When your washing is done, take the bag out and leave out to dry. You can dry them in the bag or take the Soap Nuts out to dry seperately.

Now they’re ready for your next wash!

Simple right!?

Tips & Tricks

> The Suds Test -The suds test involves simple squeezing the Soap Nuts when they’re wet to see if they create suds. If they don’t then it’s time to replace them. I find this method easier by leaving them to soak in a glass of water for 5 minutes while I load the washer. Then I do the Suds Tests and put the water from the glass and the bag of Soap Nuts straight into the washer.

>You can use the Soap Nuts to make your own Washing Liquid if the Soap Nuts themselves don’t work as they are. There are plenty of tutorials for this online.

>If they stop making suds it can be as simple as throwing the bad ones out and adding in a couple of new ones to refresh the Soap Nuts as a whole.

>You will know if Soap Nuts are bad because the shells will start to break apart into smaller pieces and they may go a little lighter in color. This is your cue to throw them out. Don’t forget they’re biodegradable though! If you’re still unsure if they’re good or not don’t forget the suds test.

>If your washing doesn’t come out smelling like you want then simply add a few drops of essential oils into the bag with the Soap Nuts. A little can go a long way. I like to add Lavender but I also don’t mind it without either.

>Remember to take your Soap Nuts out of your washing load before drying. Especially if you use a Tumble Dryer as this will shorten the lifespan of the Soap Nuts.

>Softener and Stain Removal – If you want softer clothes or need something better for those whites then look at Natural ingredients to add to your wash alongside the Soap Nuts such as Lemon Juice or Sodium Percarbonate. Just do some research, there’s plenty of options out there.

What do you think?

So, what’s your opinion of Soap Nuts? Do you think you will give them a try? Personally, I love them and wish I had started using them sooner. I would love to hear what you think of them though, let me know below!

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