Author Topic: Has anyone tried soap nuts?  (Read 2931 times)

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Has anyone tried soap nuts?
« on: September 10, 2016, 08:29:25 AM »
We've used homemade powdered laundry detergent for a few years and like it, but we're thinking of trying soap nuts. Have you used them? What did you think?

They sound fantastic, but if they are, then why aren't they more popular? What am I missing? I'm not usually an early adopter so I'm skeptical.

Here's a link to a fancy kit if you don't know what I'm talking about https://www.amazon.com/NaturOli-Berries-Seedless-Cleaner-Processed/dp/B001DSNLH2/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1473533971&sr=8-5&keywords=soap+nuts

Basically, they're nuts from Asia that lather with agitation in water. They're supposed to be all-natural and you can buy them whole, but they're much cheaper in pieces. Does it matter? Do you have to use hot water? Is it a gimmick? What else do I need to know?

Thanks in advance.

ETA: I have Googled, of course, but haven't found any reviews from people who used them for months or longer. Some things seem great at first but turn out to not clean well or leave a residue. I'm looking for someone with personal experience.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2016, 01:02:38 PM by Julie@ChooseBetterLife »

bobechs

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Re: Has anyone tried soap nuts?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2016, 08:54:36 AM »
All you need to know is one word: google.  All your questions will be answered and some you don't, like why you are posting an (affiliate) link to a product sale.

TL;DR:  Kind of a pain in the ass to use for laundry, but cultural/traditional subcontinental thang for washing silk and hair (which have their similarities, y'know)

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=soap+nuts+scam&t=ffnt&ia=web

poppan

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Re: Has anyone tried soap nuts?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2016, 11:30:41 AM »
I've tried them; they didn't do much for me. But most natural laundry products don't do enough cleaning for us.

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Re: Has anyone tried soap nuts?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2016, 01:15:08 PM »
All you need to know is one word: google.  All your questions will be answered and some you don't, like why you are posting an (affiliate) link to a product sale.

TL;DR:  Kind of a pain in the ass to use for laundry, but cultural/traditional subcontinental thang for washing silk and hair (which have their similarities, y'know)

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=soap+nuts+scam&t=ffnt&ia=web
Of course I had Googled. I'm here looking for suggestions from people who have used a product I want to try, but I'd rather not invest in something if it stinks. If you haven't used it, then feel free to proceed to the next thread.

Isn't that the whole point of these forums? Most of the questions here can be answered somewhat by Google, but we're here in a spirit of friendliness to help each other with nuances and lessons that can sometimes only be learned from experience.

I took out the affiliate link. I'm sorry it offends you so. To get a non-affiliate link I have to log out, reload the browser, find the right item again, and then the link is super-long unless I also want to use bit.ly. So I took the lazy way the first time and also disclosed my laziness. TL;DR: Lighten up.

Also, it seems easier to toss a few nuts in a bag that I can leave in the machine for 5 or 6 loads than to mix up a big, dusty batch of powder that looks like smoke billowing from my food processor and gets everywhere.

I've tried them; they didn't do much for me. But most natural laundry products don't do enough cleaning for us.

Thanks, poppan. We're generally not too hard on our clothes and like simple, environmentally friendly products when they do a good job.


Meowkins

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Re: Has anyone tried soap nuts?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2016, 02:43:33 PM »
Sorry you encountered some rudeness to your post. It's interesting that there's someone scouring the advice section of the forum trying to figure out whether or not questions qualify as a google search or deserve to be responded to politely...

If you find any answers to this, that would be really interesting to me! I've thought about using soap nuts, but am using communal washers/dryers and any benefit would probably be negated by others' usage of different products, ha! My primary annoyance right now is build-up on armpits thanks to lovely antiperspirant.

Laundry is sooooo fun.

Moonwaves

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Re: Has anyone tried soap nuts?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2016, 07:16:45 PM »
I've mostly used soap nuts for about ten years now. They work well for me for the most part. Very occasionally they won't quite get out a grease stain from some time that I have managed to drip food on my top yet again but since conventional powder or liquid also used to struggle with that sometimes, I'm not sure I can lay the blame for not working fully at soap nuts' feet.

The only other issue I've had was after I moved to Germany, with it's very hard water. At least I think that's what made the difference. At any rate, once I move here I started to have problems that I had heard others talking about, of mysterious yellow/orange stains appearing on white stuff. Didn't have a problem for the couple of years using them in Ireland, it only started once I moved here. And I got a new washing machine when I moved here so that that is not likely to have been the cause. I don't have many white clothes really though, so I just got myself a packet of some eco-powder or other to use for whites. One small box lasted me for about six years. At the moment, I'm just using an ordinary liquid, as I haven't gotten around to installing the washing machine in my new apartment and there's one I can use for free in the cellar. Since the residue of other people's choices are in the machine anyway, it's better (for me) to have something with a smell I can tolerate at least masking the stench of some of what other people use. And that's actually the thing I love most about soap nuts - no smell on the washed clothes. It's great.

Anyway, I dug up a link to an old thread on a discussion forum I used to frequent a lot. Have just spent a pleasant half-an-hour remembering how lovely the people over there were. Can't believe ten years have passed since that thread. Where is the time flying to? http://www.thegreenlivingforum.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=630

luciep

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Re: Has anyone tried soap nuts?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2016, 07:44:30 PM »
I've been using soap nuts since February 2016. I wash my laundry in cold water in a little Haier compact washer. I put 4 nuts in the little bag they provided with the nuts bag and I change them about every 4 load.

With soap nuts, I find that my laundry doesn't smell like anything. I sometimes use some lavender Seventh Generation laundry soap to get my clothes to smell fresh and clean.

Otherwise, everything seems to get cleaned up properly. I work with little kids and often have random stains (from snot, food, paint etc) on my clothes and it goes away. I do have to pre-clean any blood stain though. I also work out on regular basis and my stinky workout clothes do not smell anymore after a wash.

Choices

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Re: Has anyone tried soap nuts?
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2016, 08:07:12 PM »
Sorry you encountered some rudeness to your post. It's interesting that there's someone scouring the advice section of the forum trying to figure out whether or not questions qualify as a google search or deserve to be responded to politely...

If you find any answers to this, that would be really interesting to me! I've thought about using soap nuts, but am using communal washers/dryers and any benefit would probably be negated by others' usage of different products, ha! My primary annoyance right now is build-up on armpits thanks to lovely antiperspirant.

Laundry is sooooo fun.

Thanks, Meowkins. It looks like we got some good advice!
As for antiperspirant stains, have you tried making your own deodorant? I use coconut oil, baking soda, and corn starch and it works well, though it gets soft if it gets over about 80 degrees so be careful with it when traveling. It isn't an antiperspirant, but it keeps the odors at bay and doesn't stain my clothes.

Moonwaves, thanks for the advice and for the link. I'll check it out tonight.

luciep, thanks also. My husband is really sensitive to the perfumes in most soaps and fabric softeners, so no scent is great! We use wool dryer balls already, so having scent-free soap will make him even happier.

Choices

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Re: Has anyone tried soap nuts?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2016, 11:19:39 AM »
I've mostly used soap nuts for about ten years now. They work well for me for the most part. Very occasionally they won't quite get out a grease stain from some time that I have managed to drip food on my top yet again but since conventional powder or liquid also used to struggle with that sometimes, I'm not sure I can lay the blame for not working fully at soap nuts' feet.

The only other issue I've had was after I moved to Germany, with it's very hard water. At least I think that's what made the difference. At any rate, once I move here I started to have problems that I had heard others talking about, of mysterious yellow/orange stains appearing on white stuff. Didn't have a problem for the couple of years using them in Ireland, it only started once I moved here. And I got a new washing machine when I moved here so that that is not likely to have been the cause. I don't have many white clothes really though, so I just got myself a packet of some eco-powder or other to use for whites. One small box lasted me for about six years. At the moment, I'm just using an ordinary liquid, as I haven't gotten around to installing the washing machine in my new apartment and there's one I can use for free in the cellar. Since the residue of other people's choices are in the machine anyway, it's better (for me) to have something with a smell I can tolerate at least masking the stench of some of what other people use. And that's actually the thing I love most about soap nuts - no smell on the washed clothes. It's great.

Anyway, I dug up a link to an old thread on a discussion forum I used to frequent a lot. Have just spent a pleasant half-an-hour remembering how lovely the people over there were. Can't believe ten years have passed since that thread. Where is the time flying to? http://www.thegreenlivingforum.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=630

Moonwaves, I read the green lving forum and want to check a few hypotheses with you:
- Did you get the yellow/orange stains only with the first wash with a new set of nuts?
- Do you store the used bag of soap nuts in water?

Some of the posts aren't specific enough to tell, but from what I can tell these two things are associated with the stains. It seems counterintuitive, though, because the soap nuts would be dry for their first use.

Overall, though, they seem like a good option at least for dark loads.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2016, 12:48:31 PM by Julie@ChooseBetterLife »

Moonwaves

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Re: Has anyone tried soap nuts?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2016, 12:32:36 PM »
- Did you get the yellow/orange stains only with the first wash with a new set of nuts?
I don't remember if I ever tested that hypothesis. I think that once it happened a couple of times I just didn't want to run the risk of it happening again.

- Do you store the used bag of soap nuts in water?
No, I never did that. I read at some stage that when the soappods are dry, if they are still firm to the touch, you can keep using them. Once all of the saponin is used up, they stay a bit squishy, even when they're dry. I found that a handy way to keep track of when to change them, rather than trying to remember exactly how many washes I'd already done with that bag already. As a general rule, I use a 500g bag in about a year.

They're definitely worth giving a try. Anywhere I've ever seen them on sale generally also sells small tester bags, so you don't need to take the plunge and buy a big bag until you've given them a try.