I recently read this post on one of the blogs I frequent, and I was intrigued. It's about something called Soap Nuts. Actually they are a dried fruit from the Soapberry tree that grows in the Himalayan mountains. I found the concept interesting, but was a little hesitant that a bag of dried fruits could actually clean my family's laundry. I mean...I've got two boys, afterall!
Well, this weekend I ran out of our regular detergent. I use natural cleaners for everything in my house, and natural body products, too. I'm really passionate about trying to get those chemicals out of my house! But the one thing I have never found works well for the level of grime on my kids' clothes is natural detergent. I've tried all different brands, and I have been less than satisfied with everything. Today, though, when I was perusing the aisles at my local health food store, lo, and behold, I found soap nuts there! So, needing something to clean the growing piles of laundry at my house, I decided to buy some.
The first load I tried them on was my daughter's clothes. They came out of the washer all clean and with a very fresh smell (not an actual scent...just very fresh.) And I was pleasantly surprised to see that they, indeed, fulfill their promise of providing very soft laundry. When I pulled them out of the dryer, they were very soft--not at all starchy feeling like with regular detergent without fabric softener.
But the true test was on my boys clothes. It's something I don't really advertise, but both of my little boys are bedwetters. Every morning, I have pajamas and bedding to wash. And one of my sons wets his pants during the day, too. So, I have wet, urine soaked clothes to wash, too. And no matter how much I wash those clothes, and no matter what combination of detergent, odor eliminator, etc. I use, I have never been able to get the urine smell completely out of their clothes!! But I am so thrilled to announce that their laundry came out completely fresh without a hint of stink to them!! So, now I am sold on these strange, but lovely little dried fruits that somehow wash my laundry.
I also wanted to share an added benefit of using soap nuts over regular detergent. Obviously they are a better choice than chemicals for your family, but I have found they have a nice little perk. We have a front loading washer and dryer, and I have been trying to teach my young children to do their own laundry. My kids are all under the age of 7, and although they can push the buttons on the machines, they have never been tall enough (or coordinated enough) to add the soap or softener to the dispenser. Nor have I wanted them to touch what my son refers to as "the laundry chemicals." :) So, eventhough they can put their own laundry in the machine and start it, they still need me to stop what I am doing to add the detergent. With the soap nuts, my home is going to be a little more efficient because the kids can throw the little bag of soap nuts into the washer with the clothes, and I don't have to help them. That's a real help for me, and for all of you out there who are training your little ones to help around the house.
What do you think? Have you tried soap nuts before? Does anyone have recommendations for good places and brands to buy in bulk?