I’m a total hippie at heart. I love the idea of using natural, biodegradable, non- toxic products whenever possible. I am also a real person living in the world who understands from experience that, sadly, those products are often very expensive and often don’t really work very well. Sad, but true, right? So when I stumbled across Eco Nuts soap nuts a few weeks ago, I was thrilled (if a bit wary). I brought them home and was surprised to see what looked to be actual nuts inside the box along with two small pouches. Why was I surprised to see them? Well, I guess I just assumed I was buying ground up, powdery bits that looked like….well, laundry soap. Seeing these cutie patootie little shells filled me with glee. Suddenly, my next batch of laundry seemed like an adventure!
As you can see, these aren’t actually nuts; they’re shells. I was a tad confused, but thankfully the folks over at Eco Nuts included a handy and very informative flier in the box. In a nutshell (see what I did there?), here’s what I learned: “Soap nuts are berries that grow on a tree that naturally contain soap.”. My reaction was something along the lines of, “Say what?!?!?”. After years of trying to find the least harmful soap, attempting to make my own sans lye (that didn’t work too well), and then just resigning myself to chemicals, this stuff can be found in nature? Amazingness!!!
So, clearly, I was excited. However, the question remained, “do they actually work?”. I snapped a quick photo and posted it to my Instagram account to see if anyone else had experiences with them. One of my Insta-buddies had, and she tipped me to pre-soaking them. Very good advice! I popped four little shells into the provided bag, dropped them into about 1 1/2 cups very hot water, and let them soak for ten minutes. When I started my laundry (I use a front load high efficiency washer) I first put in the clothes, then just poured the water and bag-o-soap-nuts on top of the pile. After washing, I chose to leave the bag in with the laundry while it dried, in hopes of getting a laundry softening effect. That worked pretty well. I can’t say if doing that lessens the life span of your soap nuts, but I can say I’ve used the same bag for at least ten loads so far without adding new shells. Our laundry emerged from the dryer clean, smelling wonderfully (if subtlety) fresh, and very soft! I am an official soap nut convert…wait, I’ve got it…I’m nutty for soap nuts! Did I just say that? Yep…oh well, let’s move along.
It turns out, the good folks over at Eco Nuts have a pretty nice assortment of products! I bought mine at my local Whole Foods, and it didn’t occur to me that there may be more. Their website is filled with great natural product and loads of information. I’m a fan and truly recommend giving them a go. One note, though, I have not (yet) had the chance to try them out on truly, deeply, soiled fabrics. Have you tried them? If so, I would loooooove to hear your thoughts. Or, do you have an amazing natural product I should try? Tell me, I’m always looking for better, greener, options for my family!