Are you sick and tired of spending ridiculous amounts of money on laundry detergent and still not having a product that is free from toxic ingredients?? I know I was! I hated that I couldn’t find a good laundry detergent that I felt was safe to use. Everything is always “derived from coconut oil” or something similar. What that says to me is that the company wants me to believe it is a natural product, but the reality is those ingredients are chemically extracted and altered so much they don’t even resemble the natural ingredient they claim to be from!
Luckily, I discovered the wonder that is SOAP NUTS!! These little things come from a plant native to India and Nepal, and now grow in many other places around the world. They have “saponin” in them which is a truly natural detergent. They have a ton of uses, from shampoo to laundry soap to washing windows or dishes-basically anything you would normally wash with a detergent. In India they are used to remove tarnish from precious metals.
To use them for laundry, you can either throw a few of them in a small muslin bag and toss in with the laundry or you can do what I do and make a liquid out of them.
They have a smell somewhat similar to apple cider vinegar, but not as strong. I am not very fond of the scent so I have a few solutions to make it smell better. Keep in mind that any scent you add will not end up on your clothes after they come out of the dryer. If you air dry your clothes you might get a faint scent leftover.
I use 15 soap nuts per batch. I crack them open with a hammer, but this is not necessary. I just find that it is easier to squeeze all the soapy goodness out of them when they are in smaller pieces and the hard little center is out. Toss them into a large stockpot- and I mean large! They are going to bubble a LOT! If you don’t have enough room in the pot it will end up overflowing.
Add 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low or medium low and cover. You will want to let it simmer for about 35-40 minutes. Keep an eye on it the first couple of times you make it to figure out what temp you should have it to keep it bubbling, but not overflowing. After the 40 minutes, turn it off and let it cool.
Now for making it smell good, there are a couple options. Right after you take it off the heat you can throw in some lavender flowers or rose petals or some dried orange peel. Get creative, use whatever dried herbs or flowers you like the scent of. Don’t use anything that has a strong color like hibiscus- it might stain your clothes. Then just let it steep until the liquid is cooled and strain. Viola! You are done! You should have about 4 cups of liquid. I store mine in an old Dr Bronner’s bottle and keep it in my laundry room which normally stays pretty cold. In the summer, I keep it in the fridge. Just keep it in a dark, cool place and it should last until you use it all.
If the dried herb route is not for you, wait until it’s cooled and strained, then add some essential oils. Start with 20 drops and if it’s not enough add a little more.
I use 1/4 cup per load with 1/4 cup baking soda. I don’t use any fabric softener or dryer sheets.
I bought 2 pounds of soap nuts from Mountain Rose Herbs at $6 a pound. I still have at least 3-4 batches worth of soap nuts left and I have been making this laundry soap for over a year! That is quite a savings over ANY brand found in a grocery store!
Let me know if you try this and how you like it.