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jecombs's Avatar jecombs 12:50 PM 01-15-2011

 I'm thinking about trying some Soap Nuts for our laundry.  Does anyone have any experience with Soap Nuts?  Do you have any recommendations for reputable sellers?  I just want to try a small bag at first, to see if I like them.  Right now we're using Tide Free & Gentle because my DH and DD have eczema, but I'd like to try something chemical-free.  Part of my New Year's resolution was to use less chemicals in my daily living.  So far, I've gone no-poo and I'm doing most of my household cleaning with vinegar and baking soda.  I think changing my laundry routine is good next step toward a more chemcial-free existance.  :)

Think of Winter's Avatar Think of Winter 06:41 PM 01-18-2011

I didn't like them, in fact, I sold them after a few weeks of use.  I rarely use hot water, and they don't work well in cold.  I also thought the little bags were a pain, couldn't remember how many uses they'd had, and kept putting them in the dryer.  I love my homemade soap.  It's cheap, easy, and it works.  1 shredded bar of Ivory, 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of washing soda, use 1-2 T / load.

cristeen's Avatar cristeen 06:09 PM 01-20-2011


I liked them, but i cant wash in cold. I dont use them for dipes.

I got a sample of them from Banana Peels Diaper when i ordered a bunch of dipes.

The bag can go through the dryer, and theyre done when they're essentially empty husks. The bulk of the nut washes away with use. You just have to look/feel them before each load, when they can crumble they need replacing.
FloridaBorn's Avatar FloridaBorn 06:56 AM 01-23-2011

I didn't like them.  Clothes didn't smell clean.  

crazyms's Avatar crazyms 12:25 AM 01-27-2011

I have been wanting to try them too. I have been using the same detergent as think of winter for over 3 years now though and love it! I was considering trying the soapnuts though but I didn't realize they couldn't be used in cold water and I rarely ever use hot. Hmmm now I'm not sure if they would work for us if that's the case. The homemade detergent works great though even in cold water and clothes smell clean too. Our family have skin sensitivities too and the detergent doesn't bother any of us. I even used it from the time DS was born and he never had any issues. Used it on cloth diapers without any issues too.

crazyms's Avatar crazyms 12:30 AM 01-27-2011

Okay a quick search looks like maybe the saponin isn't released from the nuts when used in cold water and the suggestion is to make a liquid detergent from the soapnuts if it is to be used in cold water. That would also allow for adding a little scent if you wanted. I'm gonna do some more looking around tomorrow but might still give them a try.

Think of Winter's Avatar Think of Winter 12:17 PM 01-28-2011

Just so you know, with the liquid, you have to take precautions that it doesn't spoil.

JulianneW's Avatar JulianneW 12:26 PM 01-28-2011

My friend and his wife own the following soap nut company. Their website is very informative and you can place orders through it. If you want your clothes to smell you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the bag.

The how to use page is great and it includes instructions for making liquid detergent and preserving it.


They were also recently features on Dragons Den

vivalamama's Avatar vivalamama 06:38 PM 02-02-2011
I just boiled up my first batch of soap nut liquid today. I had tried the nuts with just cold (our washer only runs on cold), but didn't feel like I got good results. I followed the directions on the link above, but added a couple drops of TTO to hopefully help preserve it. How do you know if your liquid goes bad, I wonder?
granthammom's Avatar granthammom 07:44 AM 02-08-2011

I've been using Soap Nuts for a couple of years (I also keep some of the homemade washing gel around as well) and may be able to answer some questions.  Liquid soap nuts  will get moldy.  I put TTO in my liquid, keep a small jar near the washer and the rest in the fridge.  I just refill the small jar as it empties.  I also make my liquid in the crock pot!  I use the nuts for a few times, then save them in a jar.  When the jar is full, put them in a crock pot, cover with water, cook on low for most of the day.  It does look cloudy at first, but it settles out and doesn't affect the performance of the liquid.  I have found that soap nuts don't do a great job of removing grease, but you can pretreat stains with something else.  Overall, we're happy with them.  I purchase ours from Maggies Soap Nuts.  In fact, I liked them well enough that we have started selling them in our retail store and we generally sell one package of soap nut product each week (it's a small rural store).  I hope this helps some of you.

JennyJ's Avatar JennyJ 02:38 AM 03-03-2011

EcoNuts has a great liquid soap nuts detergent that doesn't spoil and you only use a tiny bit! I love it!


I didn't like the Maggies soap nuts - they smelled bad. The ones I got from econuts didn't smell at all.


Also, I wash in cold and haven't has the same problems with the nuts not working. difference in brands maybe?

P.J.'s Avatar P.J. 03:10 PM 03-31-2011
I have been using soap nuts for a couple months now and like them a lot! I notice the clothes are much softer and they smell nice, but not a strong smell just fresh and clean. One thing I do not like at all is having to fish the bag out from the load before I out in the often gets all tangled and hidden in a sleeve or sheet or something and it's a pain in the butt to find it!
Here in Germany they are sold at every health food store, and are the cheapest non-toxic thing available!

My question is: does anyone know about how they are harvested? Is it a sustainable process? I couldn't find anything researching online.
Smiller529's Avatar Smiller529 06:55 AM 07-19-2011

Soap nuts are AWESOME!


we have hard water, and we only wash in cold. The first load i did with them i got really annoyed because i used the little bags. But then i tried making the "liquid soap" and i am VERY happy. The liquid is not hard to make at all. Just boil the nuts in hot water and freeze them into ice cubes. they last a really long time when they are frozen (PLUS- no "soap" in the rinse cycle, this annoyed me when using the soap nuts in the bag). When making the liquid, the house smells a bit like vinegar, however, items washed with soap nuts come out very clean smelling. NO FRAGRENCE, just clean.  I wash all my towels, cloth mama pads and underwear with them.  I still use regular detergent with some of our clothes, but when we have children, i plan to wash everything with these. I will update this post after i have washed a few "fully loaded" cloth diapers and let you know what i think then.

Smiller529's Avatar Smiller529 06:56 AM 07-19-2011

And here is info on harvesting. very sustainable! whoop!


Peek-a-boo's Avatar Peek-a-boo 08:12 PM 07-20-2011

Originally Posted by Think of Winter View Post

I didn't like them, in fact, I sold them after a few weeks of use.  I rarely use hot water, and they don't work well in cold.  I also thought the little bags were a pain, couldn't remember how many uses they'd had, and kept putting them in the dryer.  I love my homemade soap.  It's cheap, easy, and it works.  1 shredded bar of Ivory, 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of washing soda, use 1-2 T / load.

What kind of ivory soap are you using?  Bar soap like for the bath tub?