Soapnuts

Laundry update: I ordered me some Soapnuts. This brand.

Soap Nuts 8-27-08

They came in the mail and I was all excited. I washed 4 loads of laundry with them so far. And I haven’t been impressed. Two of the loads were towels and swimsuits, both which smelled slightly of chlorine. Well, my laundry came out of the dryer still smelling like chlorine. Sigh…

A bloggy friend of mine (hi, Bren!) also tried them and has had much more success, but she calculates that making our own laundry soap would still be cheaper. Perhaps so, but I have 326 loads worth of Soapnuts left to go…guess I’ll try in two years?

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8 thoughts on “Soapnuts

  1. 326 loads is a lot of laundry to muddle through.

    I wonder how this soap will perform with seriously funky/dirty laundry—like if you gardened for a whole hot summer day.

    Keep us posted. I am curious about it, but would hate to invest if it doesn’t work on scary-dirty stuff. That’s the only kind of laundry we generate around here…especially in the summer.

  2. Bummer.

    Have you tried using baking soda in the wash? I’ve found that to work on other smelly laundry, and I’m going to give it a go on a load of chlorinated swimsuits today or tomorrow. (I keep forgetting to try it until the swimsuits have been washed and still smell like the pool. Darn short long-term memory.)

  3. That’s hilarious, Heidi! So many loads!!

    You know what though, since the soapnuts don’t have any additives and whatnot in them, they should be great for washing baby clothes. Did you ever find any essential oils?

    I suppose you could always ebay them – or save them for your next bloggy giveaway. 🙂

  4. I had that happen to me once with an alternative detergent. The bottle is still sitting partially used on our laundry shelf. I dont know why we dont toss it – maybe holding out for emergencies??? hehehehe

    GL with all those nuts!

  5. I’ve been wanting to try Soap Nuts. Maybe now I won’t. I’m pretty picky about laundry soap. Scent is important!

    If you make your own, tell us about it. I’ve been considering it, but again, the scent thing.

  6. I’ve been using soap nuts for over 4 months and I am thrilled with all the results from them. I turned my whole family and every friend I can think of on to soap nuts. ALL of those people which right now is over 40 people has been thrilled and will never go back to other detergents.

    One of them has a 16 year old son who is a competitive swimmer that means wet towels and chlorine stench in the swimwear. She has called me over and over to tell me how much she loves soap nuts and how fabulously all of her laundry turns out.

    I want to share a couple of things with those of you who are new to them that may explain your less than impressive outcome.

    One thing is they work best in WARM not hot water. Also, despite what you will read all over the net from soap nut sellers and suppliers. All soap nuts are NOT created equal.
    There are two varieties of this tree that are used for the packaged soap nuts. The lesser of the two has about 6 percent less saponin in the berries. That lesser one is the trifoliatus (three leaf). Even though every seller in North America believes all they are selling is the better grade it isn’t true unfortunately because it is VERY common to buy them from a supplier who does the packaging overseas. So the supplier gets them already packaged into their own warehouse (or garage for some big names). What is happening is that the foreign suppliers are mixing the two varieties but not telling the supplier. So you get the better and the lesser mixed together and you have inconsistent results.

    Another thing is how many did you use in how large a load?

    Soap nuts work BEST if used in a load that is not overstuffed because it is the agitation that moves them around and the warm water that releases the saponins. If the washing machine is too full the agitation can’t happen properly.

    One thing you probably noticed from the brand you show is they are packaged in the muslin bag, but inside is a plastic bag.
    Your soap nuts probably felt sticky and smelled REALLY strongly of vinegar. I know this because I also tried that brand.
    The problem is the stickiness means the saponins are already releasing from the berries before you use them so you’re not getting even release. I tried four different suppliers in small quantities before I found the one that gives consistent quality and consistent results.

    I don’t want to make this a mile long comment, nor do I want to commercialize your blog by posting links to the people I buy from.

    I do want to help anyone who is interested in using soap nuts as a natural laundry detergent. I have tons of information, a great source for absolutely top quality soap nuts and really detailed information about the right way to use them and get the best results.

    Also for anyone who must have scented laundry, you can use soap nuts, and to get the scent all you need to do is put a small piece of cloth or a wash rag in the dryer with several drops of essential (not fragrance) oil on it and you will have naturally scented laundry. Fragrance oils are alcohol based so the dryer heat makes them evaporate and you don’t get much scent. Don’t do what the sellers say with putting essential oil on the bag in the washer, this is silly and will dilute the scent of the fragrance oil and wash most of it out in the rinse water. The heat in the dryer is what releases the scent of the essential oil. That’s why dryer sheets make your clothes smell.

    Please don’t give up on these amazing natural alternatives, they do work, but like anything, proper use is the key.

    You can also boil them and make a liquid which will be more concentrated and the saponins will be more readily circulated in the washer (this is also the answer for washing in cold water with them).

    Anyone who wants information please let me know. You can find my contact information if you visit my blog which is about all of the ways I have used soap nuts and how well they have worked for everything.

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