Soap Nuts are an allergy-friendly and eco-friendly alternative to washing detergents. Soap Nuts, also known as Soap Berries or Indian Wash Nuts, have been used for thousands of years by native people in the Americas and Asia. The Soap Nuts grow on trees and contain saponin, which cleans clothes naturally and gently. I have sensitive skin which reacts to some detergents, and my eldest daughter has eczema so I’ve tried out a number of different sensitive/allergy/eco washing detergents and alternatives over the years, and Soap Nuts are my current favourite.
We’ve been using Ecozone Soap Nuts for a few months now. They cost £15.99 (RRP) for 1kg, or £4.99 for 300g, which works out at around 5p per wash. You simple place the Soap Nuts in a little mesh bag (provided) according to the dosage instructions, and pop the bag into the washing machine on top of your clothes, and away you go. Afterwards, you can leave the soap nuts to dry and reuse them up to five times. When you’ve finished with them, they are totally biodegradable so you can pop them in the compost.
We are a family of four, with two adults and two young children aged 5 and 2. The children’s clothes are always heavily soiled from food, grass, mud, paint, you name it! Overall I’m very pleased with the cleaning power of the soap nuts, they get most everyday dirt out of clothes and nappies. I usually wash at 40 degrees, I know we’re all told to wash at 30 degrees for environmental reasons, and I did when I was working full time, but when your clothes are actually properly dirty I find they need a 40 wash. For persistent stains I usually use some Ecozone Stain Remover which works 90% of time. I do keep some Vanish in the cupboard as well for emergencies, but I don’t use it very often. To be honest any stains that don’t come out are mainly because I tend to just leave things in the washing basket and forget about them; domestic duties are not my strong point!
When we started using the Soap Nuts I was also using cloth nappies on my youngest daughter (we used Motherease cotton nappies). I was pleased to find that they even get cloth nappies clean, although obviously the Soap Nuts don’t contain any optical brighteners so they weren’t bright white any more. I did find I needed to strip wash them every couple of months (on a hot wash with some non-bio detergent) but to be honest I’ve had to do this with every type of detergent I’ve used for washing nappies.
There are other things I like about Soap Nuts too – for example, you won’t need to use any fabric softener because they are so gentle. They also don’t smell of anything – I really don’t like artificial smells like fabric softener, and it’s also good for the butterflies (if you’re drying washing outside) as they can still smell the flowers and not get confused. I love the fact that they’re totally natural, with no chemicals in them, and just one ingredient: soap nuts!
I bought a 300g bag of Soap Nuts to begin with, so we’ve tried them for about 100 washes, and I’ve now just purchased a 1kg bag as I like them so much. I’d definitely recommend them if you have sensitive skin or eczema as they are so gentle. They’re also perfect if you just want to be more eco-friendly or if you’re trying to reduce the amount of chemicals in your home.
Disclosure: Ecozone Soap Nuts and Stain Remover were bought and paid for with my own money. This post does contain affiliate links, which means if you purchase anything after clicking on the link, I will receive a small commission. The cost to you is the same. Thank you for supporting Zoe’s Kitchen!