Over the years we have used many different types of laundry detergent for our large family of “mostly” boys. We started off making homemade laundry detergent, and were quite happy, until we seemed to have dull and drab looking clothes. I tweaked the recipe a few times, but was never fully happy. I also needed something that worked really well for our cloth diapers. I started using Rockin’ Green, but quickly switched over to Charlie’s Soap and fell madly in love. I’ve used Charlie’s Soap for all of our laundry for many years now and have been very happy with it. The laundry is left clean, bright and crisp smelling, and the diapers get clean, too.
But I wanted something even more natural and sustainable. Enter the soap nut. For those of you who might not be familiar with these, they are a berry that grows on the Soap Nut Tree (Sapindus mukorossi). The trees produces small black berries, approximately one inch (2-2.5 cm) in diameter. They are deseeded and the shell is dried prior to use. The shells contain something called saponin, which is a natural surfactant. Most commercial detergents contain chemical surfactants, such as 1,2-Dioxane, which have been shown to be carcinogenic and volatile. Soap nuts, on the other hand, are all-natural and have been used for centuries around the world.
The Benefits of Soap Nuts
- Sustainable: It’s a renewable resource, easily grown organically.
- All Natural: No harmful ingredients.
- Eco-Friendly: Less processing, less energy and less packaging.
- Reusable: Each berry can be used up to 6 times before it’s spent.
- Hypoallergenic: No skin or respiratory irritation and non-toxic.
- Not Actually Nuts: They’re totally safe for those with nut allergies.
- Simple: Throw them in your wash or make a simple liquid detergent.
- Odorless: But you can always add your own pure essential oils.
- Gentle: Their mild nature won’t damage delicate clothing or surfaces.
- Front-loading Friendly: No suds are perfect for HE machines.
- Works in Any Temperature: Use them in cold, warm or hot water.
- Non-polluting: 100% biodegradable and safe for graywater systems.
- Compostable: Used shells can be thrown in your compost.
- Self-sufficient: You can even grow a soap nut tree yourself if you live in a warm climate!
How to Use Soap Nuts
Put a few soap nuts inside a muslin bag and toss it into washing machine! Simple, non toxic, and effective. I also like to add a few drops of essential oils to the water for a little scent, such as Cedarwood or Cypress or any oil that strikes my fancy.
Where to buy Soap Nuts
I buy mine on Amazon from a USDA Organic certified company and I’m very happy with them. They even come with a little muslin bag to put the soap nuts in.
Non Toxic Dryer Sheets
Instead of using toxic, chemical laden dryer sheets, use some organic, chemical free wool dryer balls. Toss a couple balls into the dryer with a few drops of essential oils, and no more hormone disrupting laundry scents!
Natural Stain Remover
Lemon essential oil straight to the stain!
Natural Fabric Softener
- 1 gallon distilled white vinegar
- 2 cups baking soda
- 20 drops clove essential oil
- 10 drops lemon essential oil
Combine ingredients in a large container and add 1/4- 1/2 cup per load. Enjoy soft and chemical free laundry!
Non Toxic Bleach Alternative
- 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
- 10 drops lemon essential oil
Combine ingredients and pour into the bleach compartment of your washing machine or straight into the water. Natural whitener and brightener for your whites!
Make The Change
So as you can see, there are many natural options to replace the chemical laden products that litter the store shelves. We have an epidemic in our country, and many health problems are stemming from all the chemicals that people are surrounded by in all aspects of their lives. Take a stand, and make healthier choices for your household! The laundry room is a good place to start.
*Some of the above links are affiliate links, and if you purchase through them, my family will receive a small kick back at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!*