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How to use Earth’s Berries™ Soap Nuts
How Do They Clean Laundry?
You may wonder, “Can a fruit really clean laundry?” In the case of soap nuts, the answer is “Yes.” Grown in India and Nepal, these incredible natural cleaning agents can clean most any type of laundry, from delicates to wool to denim.
Soap Nuts and Laundry Embedded in the shells of soap nuts is the naturally-occurring chemical compound saponin. When this compound meets with an
aqueous solution, it produces a foam-like substance not unlike the foam produced by commercial laundry detergents. Consequently, soap nuts can be used in the same way as store-bought cleaners. In an eco-friendly world, such an alternative is a welcomed one.
How to Use Soap Nuts:
Soap nuts are simple to use and work in concert, as both a detergent and fabric softener. Everything you need is included: a muslin bag and dozens of dried soap nuts. Depending on the needs of your wash, simply:
1. Add the soap nuts to the muslin bag
2. Secure it with the tie
3. Toss the bundle into your laundry
4. Reuse the soap nuts a few times before returning them to the Earth as compost.
Soap nuts work with most all fabrics and being 100% natural, are gentle on the skin.
Though soap nuts do not have a natural fragrance, they are capable of removing odors, such as rancid smell resulting from oils. For fragrance, you can always add a few drops of essential oil to your laundry, which will diffuse during the wash cycle.
How Many Soap Nuts Do You Need?
As with any recipe, you can experiment with how much or how little soap nuts you need. It all depends on your laundry demands: the fabric, amount of dirt, stains, etc. What’s great about soap nuts is that such adjustments can be easily made. Simply keep in mind that soap nuts release saponin best in warm to hot water.
Soap nuts also work better in soft water. For areas with hard water, keep in mind that an average of two more soap nuts will be needed per load. However, since soap nuts are reusable, you can still save in the long run.
As said, soap nuts can be reused a few times before being discarded. If you’re washing both hot and cold loads, start with the hot first. For cold-only wash cycles, soak the soap nuts in warm/hot water first to activate the saponin and then, add the entire solution to your laundry. This way, you get the full effect of the soap nuts from the very start.
Tips on How to Use Soap Nuts
When using soap nuts, there are a few things to remember:
1. Temperature: Soap nuts need warm/hot water to activate. However, once activated, they will continue to work until discarded.
2. Hard and soft water: Is your water hard or soft? If it’s hard, try soaking the soap nuts in a “tea” solution first. (Use the same process as cold-only washes.)
3. Stains: Soap nuts can get stains out but do not stain themselves, despite being dark brown in color.
4. Oils: Perspiration leads to the release of more skin oils. Be aware of this when preparing a wash. Use hot water and soap nuts to loosen grime (and consider spot-treating stains).
Another benefit of soap nuts is that they work as a softener, making it unnecessary to add another chemical to your wash. Yet with this said, soap nuts do collaborate well with other products, such as essential oil or oxygen bleach (for whites). To pre-treat stains or soften water, add distilled white vinegar.
For sparkling whites: Add to soap nuts, a scoop of oxygen bleach to brighten fabrics. Be sure to separate whites from other colors.
For heavily soiled clothes: Use four or more soap nuts, presoaked in a hot bowl. Pour the entire mixture into the laundry. Tip: Try and limit the size of the load to enable greater agitation.
For delicates: Also for spot-washing or hand-washing, add soap nuts to a basin of warm or hot water and allow nuts to soak. Apply the resultant solution to your clothes as you would any cleaning agent.
Tip: Consider adding the solution to a spray bottle for controlled application.