Soap Nuts for Laundry

Soap nuts
Photo courtesy of Victoria @

Apparently the laundry detergent that I’ve been using has some problems. Some of the chemicals in it are known to cause asthma and respiratory problems. Like this:

High Concern: developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects; Some Concern: skin irritation/allergies/damage, respiratory effects

And this:

Moderate Concern: respiratory effects, general systemic/organ effects; Some Concern: chronic aquatic toxicity, nervous system effects, skin irritation/allergies/damage

…and a long list of others.

It got an “F” on the EWG’s healthy cleaning guide. So I’m going back to my soap nuts. These fantastic little round nuts clean my laundry just fine. There are no added perfumes or hazardous, cancerous, toxic chemicals added to them. They grow on trees, contain Saponin, and clean my clothes. Saponin is “an effective, hypoallergenic, biodegradable organic cleaning agent that ends our reliance on sulfates, synthetic chemicals and other toxins” according to, which is where I bought mine.

I first tried these about 6 years ago when I still had two kids in diapers. I started using regular detergent again because they were not getting the smell out of my little guy’s urine soaked footie pajamas. That was a tough smell to get out. We don’t have that problem anymore. I’ve started using the soap nuts again for the past two weeks and the laundry all looks and smells nice and fresh, but not perfumed. Thank goodness for potty training!

Soap nuts are super easy to use. If you buy them from Naturoli, they come with a little canvas drawstring bag. You put 5 soap nut berries in there, pull the strings tight and place them in the washing machine. They need to be replaced after 4-5 loads. That’s it.
There is a good review and more info on Soap nuts here.

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