Have you heard of Soapnuts? They are a super simple, 100% natural, cheap and effective way to wash all your clothes. They are great for sensitive skin and the garden, support fair trade community enterprises in India, are a healthier option, help reduce electricity & water use, and save you money.
I'm not sure why I had forgotten about these wondrous things - I had used them in the past. I'm so glad to have rediscovered them in my world. Thanks to Plastic-free July for making me reassess lots of my current practices.
If you've heard of the, but been reluctant for one reason or other to try, I wholeheartedly encourage you to give them a go. If you are already using them, let us know how you find them....
Soapnuts are not actually nuts, they are dried berries of the Indian Soapberry tree (Sapindus mukorossi). I think they are absolutely amazing - for all of the reasons I explain in this post and more - but particularly for inspiring my 8yo son to be interested in learning how to do laundry! He was super proud of himself today and wants this to be one of his jobs (woohoo!!)
|Soapnuts inspired young Hugh to learn the ropes in the laundry today. He was super excited - me too!|
|Put a small handful in a little bag provided and toss into the washing machine - it's that simple!!|
Here's some amazing bits of information about soapnuts. Check them out:
- Each wash costs around 5-10 cents. A 500gm bag of soapnuts can last you 200-400 washes - more if you use cold water and crush the pieces a bit more.
- Soapnuts come from a very large tree that produces prodigious amounts of this saponifying nut that you can use as a greywater safe laundry detergent, dish, hand soap pet soap, shampoo...
|Lots of ways to use them...|
- Soapnuts are great for washing cloth nappies. They eliminate lingering odours and due to their antibacterial qualities, leave the nappies clean and safe for baby. They will also clean nappies of all residue from chemical detergents that can potentially harms sensitive skin, and leave them more absorbent and softer.
- Soapnuts make towels feel soft and more absorbent without the need for toxic fabric softeners
- Soapnuts are great for delicate fabrics such as wool and silk.
- You don’t need to do a rinse cycle as there is no soapy residue to rinse out! You can therefore reduce the machine rinse cycles and save electricity and water. The greywater is great for the garden.
- After you've done 4-6 loads with each handful, put them in your compost bin, worm farm or scatter over your garden bed. They are 100% biodegradable and great for your garden!
- Tip: Pre soaking your washing in soapnut liquid overnight will assist with especially dirty loads.
- Tip: Crush the soapnuts into smaller pieces so that the surface area in contact with the water increases - easier release of the saponin.
|All the things I look for in products...|
|I bought mine from New Internationalist because they were offering them at a good price, but mostly because I knew they would definitely be Fair Trade.|