Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Even More Eco-Laundry

Well after reading EcoYogini and Kelly's posts on laundry I had to throw in my two cents. See I'm a bit OCD when it comes to laundry, OKAY OKAY, I'm  REALLY OCD when it comes to laundry. I like to blame my mom.

Most of my laundry habits are very green. I will say the heavy loads with things like towels, bedding and underwear are normally washed on hot, this is only two loads a week and it's better for allergies and germs. I do make sure I wash full loads, I don't over dry the clothes (we have a lot of allergies so line drying doesn't really work), and I use eco-friendly products, this is the main reason I wanted to write this post.
EcoYogini said she soapnuts didn't work for her, well that's what I use so I wanted to talk about them.

So first off, what are soapnuts? As confusing as this is, they aren't nuts, they are berries. This is good news for those with nut allergies. The berries contain saponins, which is what makes the soap. They are great for HE and front loading washers because they don't create suds. They are also about as natural as it gets and you can get them plastic free. Oh and did I say, they are super cheap per load?

A common mistake that is made, when using soapnuts, is they must have hot water to release the saponin. So you can throw them straight in a load if you are using hot water but if you are using cold water they won't work. To use them in cold water you must make a liquid soap out of them.

This is quite simple, you boil 4 cups of water, turn off heat, throw in 6-8 soapnuts, cover and leave overnight. In the morning strain out the soapnuts (and compost them) and store in some container with a lid. If you aren't going to use it in a day or two be sure to store in the fridge as it doesn't have a preservative and can grow mold. Some people freeze theirs in ice cube trays and just throw in an ice cube with each load.

You can even add essential oils to the liquid if your want a scented soap. The soap can be used for other things as well. I haven't tried it yet but some people use it as shampoo. You can use it to soak laundry as well.

Soapnuts may not be for everyone but they are worth a try. You can get a small sample size package from LaundryTree so there is little risk.

So for people that have used soapnuts, what are your thoughts?

Photo Credit: gadl


Eco Yogini said...

OHHHH!!! hahaha, they didn't work because i used them in cold water!
lol, i bet there were instructions but i just never read instructions.....

I'll have to give the liquid soap nuts a try :)

Laura said...

I have had good success with them on everything BUT diapers. My washer has a setting that is essentially lukewarm water, so I use that. I keep them in a glass jar above my washer and it blows me away how long I've had them and will still have them! Gotta love that!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

When you use the liquid soap you've made, how much do you put in per load?

Julia said...

this is great to know! i'm going to put this on my list to get some soap nut samples.

SustainaMom said...

I like soap nuts and use them with warm water. My one issue with them is if I forget to take out the load right away the liquid from the soap nuts soaks into the clothes that are touching the bag of soap nuts. So I sometimes have towels or wash cloths that look dirty if you don't know that is just "soap nut juice." I need to try making the liquid soap to prevent this problem.

Lisa Sharp said...

Eco Yogini: I wondered if that's what happened. It seems to be the most common reason why they don't work for people. Let me know if this fixes your issues.

Laura: Not surprised about the diapers, you really need something with enzymes for diapers.

Erin: Honestly I just pour some in but around a shot glass full is about what I use. Our clothes aren't super dirty, I would use more if your kids have been playing in the mud or something.

Julia: Hope you like them, I love them! I got a huge bag a few years ago and still have more than half of it left. :)

SustainaMom: Yeah the liquid would keep this from happening. You also don't have to find the bag if you use the liquid, which I like.

Brenda Pike said...

I love my soap nuts! But I always make the soak, so I can wash my clothes in cold water. I use a quarter cup per load.


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