The Magic of Soap Nuts…
Each day we are more and more amazed at our planet’s offering and raw materials. Mother Nature blesses us with yummy fruits, colourful veg and nuts that we can eat and cook with.
Not to mention the herbs that have many medicinal purposes, flowers that obviously smell glorious and have beneficial properties too – like lavender. Some fruit and nuts are used for more than just cooking, like skincare and cleaning for example. Through many years of trial and error, we now use those raw materials in our daily lifestyles.
But who would have ever thought that you could wash your clothes with nuts?!
Soap nuts to be more specific, also known as soapberries – the clue is in the name kids. It just made us think – how awesome is our planet?! We just could not believe the resources we have, most of us don’t even know about them, as they’re not widely available and aren’t the most popular choice.
You can understand our shock and surprise when we learnt about soap nuts – you could say, we went nuts when we heard about them!
It really shows that you can live naturally, holistically and in harmony with mother nature, instead of inventing new products, new chemicals and more things for us to buy – when we can just make the most of our planet’s resources.
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Why Use Soap Nuts?
Well, for starters they’re hypoallergenic. Here’s our story – time and time again we were buying washing powder that would cause Ben to have itchy legs.
Through trial and error we soon learnt that it was the washing powder causing the itching. So we tried various “gentle” and “sensitive” washing powders. However, the itchy leg problem continued… Probably because there was nothing gentle about the chemicals in the washing powders we tried. Then, a miracle happened. Just like that by some force of the Universe I came across soap nuts.
Voila! The itching stopped. Thanks mama nature.
Soap nuts are a natural laundry detergent and washing powder. Here’s a list of soap nuts’ benefits, to show just how amazing they are:
- They’re hypoallergenic
- Free from pesticides and chemicals
- Completely natural
- Versatile – they can be used to make shampoo, soap, washing liquid and more
Pretty great, huh? Okay but here’s a question we’re all wondering… Although soap nuts are used as an alternative to washing powder, are they cheaper than standard washing powder?
Are Soap Nuts Cheaper Than Washing Powder?
Yes, absolutely they are. It’s around 60% cheaper to use soap nuts than washing powder. Soap nuts are much cheaper, cost-efficient and you get more for your money.
An average bag of soap nuts costs around £12.99 / $17.00 for a 1kg bag. Each 1 kg bag contains enough soap nuts to use for roughly 480 washes – that works out to just 2.7p / 3.6 US cents per wash.
Your regular shop-bought washing powder costs around £4.50 / $5.90 for a 3kg bag, which is around 45 washes. That works out to 10p / 13 US cents per wash – which is a lot higher than the 2.7p wash load with soap nuts.
As 1kg bag of soap nuts gets your 480 washes, if you wanted to get 480 washes from your standard washing powder, you’d have to spend £49.50 / $65. Thus, soap nuts could actually save you £36.50 / $48 on your washing while also doing a good bit for the planet, yay!
How Many Times Can You Re-Use Soap Nuts?
You can use one batch of soap nuts for up to 10 washes, when washing in cold cycles.
The above number and estimates we used are based on a cold wash cycle. Here’s the deal – one batch of 6 nuts in a cold wash cycle can be re-used up to 10 times, when they start to lose their colour and go a bit grey, that’s when you know it’s time to throw them out in your compost.
If you use hot cycles however, you’ll reduce the soap nuts’ lifetime and you’ll only be able to use them 4-5 times. This may affect how much you save, so, for a clear breakdown suited to your cycle preference – here’s a table of the estimates for both cold and hot washes:
*prices correct as of August 2020
Now that you know you could be saving money, I bet you’re wondering how to use these magical nuts – oh an by the way, they are actually classed as fruits! Hence the term soapberries.
Guide to Using Soap Nuts
There are so many great pins and guides out there (even YouTube tutorials!) on how to use soap nuts. Rather than making another same old guide, we thought we’d share some. If you want to know how to use them for washing in your washing machine – Peace With the Wild have a great and easy to follow guide.
If you like, you can even make your own shampoo and body wash – how cool is that?!
How Much Do Soap Nuts Weigh?
4-5 soap nuts are as light as 16 grams so that 1kg bag is about 250 nuts. So if you have that precious 1kg bag of soap nuts, you can see just how sustainable and cost efficient they are.
Particularly if you can re-use them multiple times and also use them for many different household and beauty products. Happy days!
Plus, you don’t need to worry about buying washing powder in your weekly/monthly shop – no one likes carrying that heavy thing up the stairs, am I right? We’re just wishing for lighter cat litter now…
If You Need to Hand Wash Something Quickly…
Newsflash… You can still use soap nuts.
All you need to do is place the soap nuts in a muslin bag or a small jug, soak them in hot water for 3-5 minutes. Then, all you do is add the water mixture (which should be bubbly) and add it to your basin or washing up bowl where you are planning to hand wash.
Do Soap Nuts Have Any Use After Washing?
They just happen to keep on giving, they are just that amazing that even when you’ve washed all your smelly socks and pants with them, you can still use them afterwards.
Once you’re done washing your smellies, you can pop the soap nuts in your compost bin – they’re biodegradable. If you have are having problems with slugs and snails eating your veggies in the garden, soap nuts can be used a natural repellant.
Particularly useful of course if you’re living in the UK, am I right Brits?
Unlike pesticides they do not harm the environment but they naturally repel the insects, because soap berries aren’t very tasty and they, just like humans, don’t like the taste of soap. Hence why they stay well away from them.
In Our Humble Conclusion – Why Aren’t You Using Soap Nuts Yet?
They’re so great, there’s really no reason not to. Particularly if they’re going to save you cash. Kerching. oh, and help the planet while making you a good citizen ? We’ve put together a list of a few great Etsy shops here that sell soap nuts, you can get a starter kit or a sample pack to try it before you commit to using it long-term! You can also use Amazon, starting with a smaller bag – click here.
You’d be doing us a massive favour and another good deed if you would be able to please share our blog – spread the soap nuts love…
Peace + love,
Ben + Aggie