Hello and welcome along today. With living eco friendly, I get a lot of questions on where to buy certain items. One in particular is where can I buy soap nuts from? To date, I haven’t found a physical shop that sells them unfortunately. There are plenty of suppliers out there that offer them at different prices. What I have done previously, is written a product review and also given a link for where to buy them online. You can find this here.
What are soap nuts?
I’m guessing, if you have stumbled across this page that you have a good idea of what soap nuts are. I thought I would give a little more details about these as it may well help in your decision making process to know as much about them as you can. Soap nuts are a berry shell that naturally contain soap in them called Saponin. Saponin is a natural cleaning agent that works by breaking the surface tension of the water, to then penetrate the fibres of your clothing. It lifts stains from your clothes and leaves the dirt from your clothing suspended in the water that is then rinsed away.The soap nuts are very gentle on your clothes and your skin. This makes them ideal for people who have very sensitive skin, eczema and allergies etc. They are even suitable for baby clothing such as cloth nappies due to it being so kind to the skin.
We are very used to conventional cleaning detergents giving lot’s of bubbles or foam in your washing machines. We are also told that this is the cleaning power, so more foam equals cleaner clothes and this is simply not the case. With soap nuts, you will not see lot’s of foam in your washing machine, you will however see the natural cleaning results just the same.
Are they sustainable?
Soap nuts are harvested in the wild and grow on the soap berry tree in the Himalayas. This means they are gathered from wild trees which are grown without any chemicals or pesticides etc. The saponin itself, tastes bad to insects so they won’t eat them and naturally love growing in poor, uncultivated soil. They are 100% organic, compostable, 100% biodegradable and grown sustainably.
They are not ‘nuts’
‘Soap nuts’ are actually a berry, which is dried to have a hard exterior and it’s the shell in which we use. The soapberry tree is closely related to the Lychee. A lot of the companies that sell them will remove the seed for you. So if you have a nut allergy, consider yourself safe to use these. For someone who has servre allergies, it will always be wise to patch test before using, although we see no reason you should react to them.
How do they work?
The soap nuts themselves work best in warmer water. So when you do the rinse cycle woth your washingmachine, little to no saponin is released during this process, as it uses cold water to rinse. You have a couple of options with how to use them. If you want to conserve energy and use a colder wash, soaking the soap nuts in a mug full of hot water, like making a cup of tea is the most efficient way. You can then add to the drum with the water and start the cycle as normal. If you are doing a hot wash for whites, add the soap nuts in their cloth bag to the drum without soaking before hand and they will work perfectly fine. Do make sure that you keep soap nuts store in a cool, dry place away from moisture. Some suppliers will deliver them in a suitable cloth bag and these will be fine to store. Other options can be to store them in Tupperware, glass jars (out of direct sunlight), air tight containers. When the soap nuts are used up, you will be able to tell. They will break up, go thin, light on colour and will be floppy when dry. When the soap nuts are like this, simply pop the used ones into the compost and start using new ones.
Did you know? To get whites, whiter hanging them out in the sun will naturally bleach them!?
So why not give them a try?
There is no harm in given these a try. They are a wonderful, natural and organic way to clean your laundry. Each soap nut can be reused 3-4 times, usually works out about 3 pence per wash! So as well as being cost effective, you are being kinder to the planet and yourself at the same time. In my review of these, I have gone through my thoughts on them and how they effected my skin. I personally suffer with eczema and so does my husband, when we started using these, we notice a great improvement in our skin. Don’t take my word for it and given them a try!
If you use soap nuts already, I would love to hear about your experience with them. Want to give them a try? Let me know how you find them. I would love to hear from you in the comments below.