A little while back I told you about a different eco-friendly washing detergent I was wanting to try called ‘Soap Nuts’. I heard about them from a friend of mine who was thrilled with the totally natural and mild detergent. After using them for a few weeks I thought that it would be a good time to let you know how I got on.
What are Soap Nuts?
If you haven’t heard of soap nuts* before, then here is a quick overview of what they are.
Soap nuts (or Indian wash nuts) are a totally natural product that grow on trees in areas such as South India. They are are harvested in October and dried out. Once the kernels have been removed they are ready to use.
They work as a detergent when they come into contact with water because they create mild suds which gently wash your clothes. The fact that they are 100% natural and a mild alternative to your conventional detergents has made them appeal to a variety of different people.
What has my experience of using soap nuts been like, though?
When the bag of soap nuts arrived I was really disappointed that the small wash bag* that was supposed to be included in the package wasn’t there. This obviously delayed me being able to try them out because we had to wait another couple of days for them to arrive. However, the company that we bought the soap nuts from were very apologetic and reimbursed us for the trouble.
Now, because I was going down the whole eco-friendly route I decided that I wanted an eco-friendly fabric conditioner too. My friend advised me to use white vinegar with a few drops of organic natural essence oil. I think that this is a bit of a trial and error area because you need to find the right smell for you and also you need to work out the ratio of vinegar to oil that you feel works best.
Personally I preferred the organic lemongrass oil* at a ratio of about 1 cap of vinegar to 10 drops of oil. But like I said, this is completely up to you.
How long do they last?
The instructions that came with my bag of Soap Nuts said that 5 half shells in a small bag should last up to 5 washes before they need replacing. This is great value for money as you can buy a 1kg bag of soap nuts* for around £10!
Once you’re finished with the nuts you can either pop them in the bin or to be super eco friendly you can chuck them onto your compost heap.
How well did they wash?
OK, so I suppose that the main thing you’re all wondering is whether they actually work or not. The answer to that is yes they definitely do wash your clothes. They look clean and bright which really did surprise me. Although I have got to admit that I struggled with the natural fabric conditioner at first, I didn’t feel that the clothes were as soft as usual but I persevered!
Now even though the soap nuts washed the clothes quite well, I did notice that the natural mildness of them meant that they struggled to remove the harder marks or stains without the help of a stain remover pre-treatment. I suppose that for some people this wouldn’t really cause any issues if maybe you only have to do it rarely or maybe you do that as part of your normal laundry routine anyway, but for me this was an extra effort that I didn’t really have the time to do. I think having 2 young boys who seem to pick up grass stains and chocolate stains on a daily occurrence it felt like too much effort.
Would I swap?
Would I swap my regular detergent for the cheaper, eco-friendly soap nuts? I’m very sad to say that I wouldn’t. The reason that I’m not happy about this is because they could possibly save me a (very) small fortune. They are such good value for money that I don’t think there is another detergent out there that can come close to how much they can save you.
I’m also sad that I won’t be making a permanent swap because I love the idea of using something 100% natural. Knowing that it doesn’t harm the environment and that they aren’t harsh on the boys skin are two reasons that I really wanted them to work for me.
However, even though all of the above are very good reasons for using the Soap Nuts, unfortunately for me I just can’t spare the extra time in pre-treating the clothes before each wash.
If you aren’t too worried about pre-treating some of your clothes before popping them into the machine then I would definitely recommend that you give soap nuts a try*!