Are you looking for a more natural, eco-friendly, safe, effective, and yet cost-efficient laundry detergent? If so, have I got something for you to try that’s going to throw your friends for a loop! We’ve been using more natural laundry detergents for quite awhile (read: Seventh Generation and the like) and after a recent eczema reaction and rash I had, I wanted to find something even better. My husband knew of just the thing to try – soap nuts!

Soap nuts come from the Chinese Soapberry tree and have been used for hundreds of years in India. When they fall from the tree the inner fruit is removed from the shell and the shell then dried in the sun, using no chemical processing. That outer shell contains saponins which act as water surfactants. Simply put 2-3 soap nuts into a small cloth bag and toss in your wash. The nuts release their saponins which reduces the surface tension of the water and frees dirt, grime, and oils from clothing. When washed downstream the saponins remain harmless to the environment. There are no synthetic chemicals, no fragrance chemicals, no foaming agents or other toxins; just nut shells grown by nature.

bag of soap nuts, which came with the small bag to toss in the wash

We have washed a few loads so far and have been impressed. The clothes came out clean and had no smell to them – which means they are clean! It doesn’t produce suds as it washes, but that’s OK as it’s not supposed to. Commercial detergents add sudsing agents to give the impression of more cleaning power anyway. And it’s cost effective as well, at about 15 cents per load!

In my previous post Baby Products: What to Get and What to Forget, I mention that there is no need for special laundry detergent for baby’s clothes. Soap nuts are another great option for your baby’s and child’s laundry, and all the laundry in the house.

We use NaturOli Soap Nuts ordered from Amazon. (Updated: 10/11/15)

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