Healthy Living: Soap Nuts Anyone?

While we are on a roll  with healthy living, and since so many of you showed such great interest both in person and in the blogworld, let’s talk about soap nuts. Ever since our firstborn was a baby, she’s battled a skin condition called eczema. Nothing too serious, but annoying and extremely frustrating nonetheless. Who wants to watch their little one uncomfortable and itchy all the time? We’ve visited doctors, allergists, and researched homeopathic  remedies only to find that we must patiently wait for her to out-grow her skin condition that most likely is not linked  directly to any specific food allergy. We have found, however, that so many soaps, lotions, shampoos, and detergents out there are filled with skin irritants and most of that stuff tends to worsen her eczema. So, began my search for a laundry detergent that would not irritate my sweet girl’s skin and be “healthier” for all of us in the long run anyway.

Enter: Soap Nuts.  Most commercial detergents are filled with harsh chemicals and the natural alternatives often contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and other ingredients that are now being debated over their safety. Most commercial detergents leave perfumes (cover scents), brighteners, and/or fabric softeners on your clothes to cover up the fact that the detergent really didn’t clean anything. These additives can easily cause skin irritations.  Soap Nuts are the only laundry soap that grows on trees, thus giving us the most sustainable and natural option out there. It is 100% safe and natural for the most sensitive skin. Soap nuts are the dried fruit of the Chinese Soapberry tree. They contain saponin, a natural cleaner. They are simply harvested, de-seeded, and then dried in the sun. Great for hard water and high efficiency machines. It is biodegradable, hypo-allergenic, brightens colors, low sudsing, and contains a natural fabric softener. You can reuse a handful of nuts for 5 or more loads (depending upon water temperature, etc), and then they can be added to your compost! Most soap nut orders come with a reusable cotton bag which you use to place the nuts in and then throw in the washer, keeping them contained. The best price I have found is the NaturOli Soap Nuts. You can also find them here.  If you buy it in larger quantities ($50 for 800 loads), you are looking at around $0.07 per load! You can also purchase them in smaller quantities, which will be no more than $0.12 per load. Plus you will save additional money as there is no need for dryer sheets or fabric softeners.

We absolutely love these things. They have been a tremendous cost effective source of blessing to us. I still have our bag of Soap nuts that I ordered just about a year ago and it’s still going strong. And for added softening effects and “bleach like” dis-infectant , I’ll often add a 1/2 cup of vinegar to our loads of laundry.

Curious about trying Soap nuts? Since we’re prize-happy around here, leave a comment and you’ll have a chance to  Win a hand-sewn organic cloth bag of soap-nuts that will last you through 5-7 loads of laundry.  See for yourselves just how amazing this little “fruit” is!

*Word of caution: although Soap Nuts are technically a fruit, they are not to be consumed. Keep them away from little ones and pets.