A little while back, I won a free sample of Soapnuts from It's a Slow Learning Curve.
What exactly are Soapnuts? The short answer is an organic substitute for laundry detergent. According to the Laundry Tree website, "Soapnuts are the fruit of a tree (Sapindus Mukorossi), found primarily in India, Indonesia, and Nepal. They are harvested, de-seeded, and then dried in the sun." They get their cleaning power from saponin, which has been used as a natural cleanser for centuries.
The Soapnuts arrived in a little canvas bag. There were eight inside. I kept out half and put the remaining four back inside the little bag, as the instructions dictate, and then gathered up some laundry. The first load was dark clothes washed on cold. Soapnuts work best in warm water but I like putting things to the test.
My sister is all about the organic so I knew she would be proud of me for trying out these little things.
Results from the first load: Pretty good! Clothes were as clean as normal (and I have little kids, so that is saying something). There was no scent and I kinda like scents so I made sure to use a fabric softener sheet in the dryer.
The instructions say the nuts are good for a few loads so I tossed the little bag back in the washer. Next load, I tested them in warm water but this time with whites.
Results from the second load: Not so good. The clothes didn't smell clean. In fact, they smelled just like they did when I put them in the wash. They didn't look clean. I took out the nuts and rewashed the load with regular detergent. Disappointing, but not entirely unexpected. Whites are hard to get clean.
I gave the Soapnuts one last chance. Warm water with lighter-colored clothes.
Results from the third load: Not bad! I was a little worried that they were reaching the end of their cleaning abilities but these clothes came out looking fine. I used a stain treatment on a couple shirts (because I have a Boy) and the stains came out like normal.
So, to sum up, Soapnuts are a great mild detergent. I wouldn't recommend them for heavily soiled, large or white loads but for normal, every day laundry, they work just fine.
If you'd like to try Soapnuts for yourself or want more information, visit the Laundry Tree.
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