What’s the Deal with Soap Nuts?

July 16, 2009 at 10:33 am | Posted in Homemaking, Natural Living | 3 Comments
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My son Judah has pretty sensitive skin. We’ve been battling with eczema for the past few months and luckily it has only claimed a very tiny little spot on his back. As a nursing mom, I’ve had to monitor my diet very closely. I try to avoid eggs completely and have been trying to cut out wheat and dairy as well. (My current battle is with Mr. Haagen Daz. He’s winning so far, but I’ve been diligently fighting anyway!) 

Gracie had terrible eczema from around 6 months old until she turned two. If I don’t monitor her dairy intake it will pop back up in little patches on her hands and cheeks. Emma seems to have the least allergenic skin, but she has seasonal allergies and asthma as well. 
Needless to say, I am a momma with a dilemma. A while back the Lord put it on my heart to begin moving towards a more natural, “green” lifestyle. This is a big reason for our move back to Hilo, amongst other things. So I have been trying to go the organic, plastic-free, as-natural-as-possible way. It’s been difficult and full of baby steps.
My latest baby step led me to soap nuts. I’ve been researching alternatives to store-bought laundry detergent for a while now. At first, I thought I would try making my own using Borax. But then I came across a few articles about how Borax is considered a toxin by the US government and decided that was not the way for me to go. 
A wonderful blog, Passionate Homemaking, featured an article on soap nuts. (You can read it here.) After reading it, I did some additional research on the web and was delighted at what I discovered! 
Soap nuts are:
  • sustainable, wild-crafted, dried fruit shells from the Sapindus Mukorossi tree (native to Northern India and Nepal) that contain saponins (soap)
  • hypoallergenic and fragrance free
  • free of synthetic chemicals, fillers, toxins, dyes and perfumes
  • ideal for washing cloth diapers–no chemicals or fillers to clog the diaper and make it less absorbent!
I ordered my soap nuts from NaturOli and have been so pleased with the results! My clothes are clean, soft and fresh-smelling, and our skin has never been healthier! I highly recommend this 100% natural product!


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  1. I'm so glad you posted this. I too have moved to another laundry detergent to avoid the Borax dilemna. I haven't tried soap nuts, but am so curious about them. I have a link in one of my posts to your entry so people can understand what soap nuts are.

  2. I have been using soapnuts for nearly 2 years and have never looked back even though we do not suffer with any allergies it is nice to know that they are completely chemical free and sustainable. It takes a while to get used to them, due to the fact that saporin does not produce alot of suds most people think they do not work and that is how the producers of regular laundry products want us to think.
    I also use soda crystals these just give soapnuts a boost, and if you want a scent to your wash, as soapnuts have not smell then add a few drops of essential oil.
    I am so pleased that more people are turning to this natural way of washing.

    • Thanks for your comment Mark! I have been nothing but pleased with the results we’ve seen since we began using soap nuts. Thanks for the tip on using soda crystals–is that the same thing as washing soda? And I’m also curious–sometimes the soap nut bag gets thrown into the dryer with the wet clothes. Does the heat harm the soap nuts? I’ve continued using them as usual and haven’t noticed a difference.

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