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Super detergent Soap Nuts

Aisling FitzGibbon

My aunt Rachel who is forever on the lookout for eco-friendly bargains introduced me to soap nuts. I am now nuts about nuts. 

 Soap nuts are dried shells from the soapberry plant that release saponin to produce a soaping and cleansing effect for clothes. The nuts are biodegradable which means I can put them in my composter when they have done their job. The soap nuts work in all machines. Just pop between 3-5 nuts into the cotton bag- tie carefully and put on top of the laundry.  If the cotton bag gets lost to another dimension as these little things tend to do in my life, then you can put the soap nuts into an old sock that lost its mate and is grateful to be taken out of redundancy. Upcycling opportunity! Tie tightly or you will have a soap nut rebellion. They can be reused a few times until they become grey and crumble. 

The soap nuts are hypoallergenic which means that even those people with nut allergies can use them. They are wonderfully economical and leave your clothes soft, clean and fragrance free. They are non -irritating for sensitive skin.  Unlike some commercial detergents, soap nuts help clothes maintain their colours for longer and are great with delicates such as silk. When washing at a low temperature it's best to soak the nuts in hot water in a cup and after an hour pour the liquid into the washing machine as you would with any liquid detergent. 

Please let me know your own experience of using soap nuts. My aunt Rachel uses 1/3 of a cup of white vinegar for extra softness for towels. I am just using the soap nuts at the moment. 

Soap nuts and happy washing,

Aisling