Many of us have grown so accustomed to regular laundry detergents and washing powders from the supermarket, we’ve never even considered an alternative. Now that we are becoming more aware of the impact our household habits have on our planet, we are learning about eco-friendly methods that are guaranteed to keep everyone healthy and happy: our environment as well as ourselves.
We have been schooled by a chemical generation, one that had us believe that a sparkling clean kitchen could only be achieved with high levels of toxins. The longer the list of chemical ingredients on the label of our commercial laundry detergents and floor cleaners, the better the result. Anyone who has ever cleaned their home with the miracle that is vinegar, knows this to be a lie.
Don’t worry. We’re not going to suggest you start washing your clothes with nothing but vinegar. Instead, we highly recommend using nuts. And – you’re going to love this – not just any nut, but a specific type of nut native to India and Nepal: the wash nut!
What Are Soap Nuts?
The Sapindus mukorossi tree seems to have been planted on this earth with a very special purpose: to provide us with a highly effective, eco-friendly laundry detergent. Its fruit – the wash or soap nut – is known for its pharmacological and cleansing properties and is used for a variety of purposes.
Their name already gives away one of their most popular uses as wash nuts for the skin, hair and clothing. Containing the saponin compound, it is a natural cleanser and therefore ideal to use as shampoo, soap or laundry detergent. When the fruit comes in contact with water and is activated, it creates its own bubbles and silky-smooth soap.
Using Soap Nuts as Laundry Detergent
To use soap nuts in the washing machine, simply pop them into a laundry satchel and throw them in with your load. You’ll only need two to three nuts per hot-water cycle, depending on how heavy and dirty your load is.
Soap nuts aren’t quite as effective in cold water, meaning you’ll need between four and five nuts per load. If you’re washing cold, the nuts can be reused up to six times. Once they’ve come to the end of their lifecycle you can compost them, they are 100% biodegradable.
While soap nuts do the trick in terms of cleansing, they can’t compete with bleach when it comes to stubborn stains. You can add other natural ingredients to your soap nut satchel to do the trick, including our trusted vinegar, essential oils and baking soda.
Advantages of Using Soap Nuts in the Washing Machine
There are so many advantages to using soap nuts in your washing machine, there’s really no reason not to make the switch from commercial laundry detergents. Used in Ayurveda to treat eczema and psoriasis, soap nuts are a great choice of detergent for people who are prone to allergies. They are also the ideal choice for washing baby clothing.
Aquatic organisms and algae will also thank you for your nutty new habits, let alone your conscience. It is estimated that the carbon footprint of our laundry detergents amount to almost 10 pounds a week – that’s 480 pounds a year. Now if that isn’t incentive enough to embrace the change…
A Green Washing Machine
Using soap nuts as opposed to regular laundry detergents couldn’t be any easier. Just pop them into the washing satchel or brew your own liquid concentration to add in and you’re good to go. It’s time to let your washing machine run green!