As part of our foray into living a more sustainable life, I decided to take the plunge and give Soapnuts a whirl. Since this particular plunge only cost £14.99 for a bag that potentially will last us 6 months, I was willing to give it a go.
According to Living Naturally, soapnuts are:
Soapnuts or soapberries are actually dried fruit shells which contain real natural soap and are completely free from synthetic and toxic ingredients.
They are a natural, non-polluting, compostable, alternative to conventional laundry detergents and synthetic soaps.
Perfect for sensitive skin and allergy & eczema sufferers.
I purchased my bag of soapnuts from Amazon, before I found the Living Naturally website. On Living Naturally, you can by 5kg for £50, whereas I bought just 1kg for £14.99 on Amazon, so bulk buying is definitely cheaper!
It is a little confusing, but one bag states it lasts anywhere between 100 (in hard water areas) and 330 washes. I’m hoping for good things since we live in a soft water area (Scotland!). In a standard month, we wash about 25-30 times, so a 1 kg bag just used for clothes washing in the washing machine should last us between 4 – 12 months. Will let you know! I expect around 6 months, and would be happy with that at that price 🙂
Unfortunately, the Soapnuts came in a plastic bag:
If you look at the amount of plastic in this bag compared with 6 months (at least) worth of washing liquid bottles, I’m not complaining. However, I was hoping for a natural alternative, given that I was sold a ‘sustainable and ethical’ product!
There is one reason for a plastic bag, since the nuts are a natural soap and therefore prone to be slightly sticky. I will keep looking for a bag that doesn’t need to come with plastic.
The soapnuts come with a little mesh bag into which you put a few soapnuts, pop them in the machine with your clothes and let them do their thing. It is important between washes to hang up this bag somewhere to dry as much as possible. This helps the soapnuts last for longer. The same is true if you keep a bar of soap as dry as possible between uses.
We’ve used the soapnuts now for a week or so, and so far, are more than happy with the results. In fact, my husband’s reaction after the first wash was ‘I don’t know why everyone doesn’t use them’! We will probably try to check more carefully for stains and use our stain remover soap bar. Soapnuts can be made into a liquid by shaking in warm water, and spraying directly onto a stain. I will be using up our Splosh laundry liquid for washing our cloth nappies as I don’t yet know the full power of soapnuts.
I definitely recommend soapnuts if you’re looking to save money and wash your normal load more sustainably.