This is what I’ve been washing my clothes with for over a month now and my clothes have never been fresher!
No more two-step laundry detergent and fabric softener or dryer sheets. No more harmful chemicals or perfumes. Soap Nuts are a natural, hypoallergenic, eco-friendly alternative to traditional laundry cleaners. And I’m in LOVE.
Not that I ever had any problem with the perfumes in detergent, although Don seemed to from time to time. Many people do have sensitive skin that may react badly to the many unknown chemical ingredients in traditional cleaners. Yet, we’ve all been trained to trust these products and to believe they are what we need to clean our clothes. They are not the only option. My eyes are open now (thank you CaveGirl!) and I’m in love with my new soap nuts. Not only are they better for me and the environment, I’m certain that I’m already saving money on the cost of two products for laundry. The bag you see pictured cost me $13.68 (including shipping – which will differ slightly depending on your location or your choice of shipping speed.) I’ve been using them since Dec 7th. Here we are more than a month later and I’ve maybe used half the bag. I never wrote down how often I bought laundry detergent and fabric softener in the past, or how much I was spending, but I’ve got a good sense of it after doing it for 15+ years and I am confident that the soap nuts are costing me less. Maybe not wads of money but definitely less, whether a couple of dollars or even just pennies, over time that will add up and make a difference in my budget.
So how exactly do I use these? I put a few nuts in a muslin, draw string wash bag and place it in my wash. It stays in the washer through the wash and rinse cycle. When the wash is done, I take the bag out, empty out the nuts, let dry until the next wash. Then I take my clothes out and dry as usual: a few minutes of fluff drying and then hang to dry for most of our outerwear, full drying for socks, towels, sheets, and other such things. No dryer sheets necessary. No fabric softener added during the wash. And no static. I think that amazed me the most. And the clothes smell CLEAN. Not perfumed. Just clean. I admit, it’s really weird at first. But the first time I washed my sheets and slept in freshly, soap nut washed sheets, I was in heaven. You just have to experience it to believe it.
I’ve washed campfire smoked clothes, hunting clothes, smelly gym clothes and every one of them came out fresh and clean. I find that the nuts are best for about 4-5 washes before they start to lose their potency and natural cleaning agent. I wanted to test the length of their use and at 6 or 7 washes I noticed a little bit of lingering smell (sock stink and smoke) so now I keep track of how many washes I use the nuts and stop about 4 or 5, composting the used nuts when I’m done.
I sent some to a friend and she sent me this last night. “Ok, my verdict is in. I love them for my regular laundry. For my (cloth) diapers, I needed just a bit more kick. So I am doing a medium low water level wash with 2 rinses and a half tsp of my normal diaper detergent. Then I do another wash with one rinse with the soap nuts. This has left my diapers so much fresher when clean and no ammonia smell whatsoever after they are used. I think this is a great wash plan and I think it is going to completely solve my detergent build up issues (which is what causes the (ammonia) smell.)”
I gave some to another friend whose newly born baby has been breaking out regularly due to traditional detergents and although I have not been able to get her feedback yet, she was excited to try them and I’m hopeful they will be as equally beneficial to her and her family. I would love to share them with everyone I know but I’m afraid many of you who have known me for years already think I’m off my rocker and turning “hippie.” (The acceptable term these days is crunchy. Yes. I’m certainly going crunchy. Although I think I always have been. I’m just finding more ways to embrace my inner crunchiness.)
To learn more about Soap Nuts, which aren’t truly nuts but dried berries, visit Green Virgin Products. They offer a trial size purchase that is good for 4-7 washes for only $1.89 if you’re interested but skeptical.**
**I’ve not been compensated or had any contact with Green Virgin Products regarding my opinion. I’m simply sharing my love of something with those who would listen in the hope that it might help someone who is looking for alternatives and hasn’t heard about this amazing natural product.
Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.
~ Harvey Fierstein