Product Type: Other Brands Household Cleaning
Newest Review: ... compartment of my washing machine, about 20 drops for an extra freshness. Soapnuts do not have an scent and they can leave your cloth... more
I'm not nuts about Soapnuts.
Member Name: jo@145
Advantages: Natural and bio-degradable
Disadvantages: White washing wasn't as clean and didn't smell as good
:: Background ::
I had never heard of this product so before parting with my cash I did a bit of research! Sapindus is a genus of shrubs and small trees native to warm temperate and tropical regions, the ones I have came from India or Nepal. The fruit is called the Soapnut and is small and leathery skinned, about 1 -2cm diameter. The soap nuts contain Saponin which is a natural detergent, which are used to clean clothes and are safe to use on woolens, silk and delicate fabrics.
:: Description ::
The sample arrived quickly in a nice green recycled paper envelope with an information sheet, small cotton drawstring bag and 9 half soapnut shells. They are a tan colour and fairly hard and very wrinkled. The inside of the shell is smooth and shiny. After use they are much softer to touch, and if you squeeze them you can see a soapy solution. At first I didn't think there was any smell, but after use I thought they had a smell similar to vinegar.
My sample was purchased from www.inasoapnutshell.com and they say that a wash can cost as little as 3p compared with about 25p using a standard non-bio detergent. Using Soapnuts may be asolution for people with allergies especially eczema as they are natural. They say they have been assured that no child labour is involved and everyone is fairly paid.
:: Washing ::
Following the instructions I put my half shells about 6 -8 into the bag or you can use a knotted sock and put it in with my washing on the usual cycle, which for towels I usually use 40C, but sometimes use the 30C depending if my washing liquid and how dirty the washing is. They say you can add a few drops of essential oil in the softener drawer if you want your washing fragranced and recommend geranium and Lavender oil. I don't normally add softner to towels as it effects the drying properties so just used the soap nuts.
My second load was dark washing polo shirts, socks, mens pyjamas, pants etc.
Third load was white and light washing, like my underwear, a white shirt as hubby had been to a funeral, light T shirt, cream jumper, other light shirts.
Fourth load was duvet cover, sheets and pillowcases.
:: Results ::
I lifted the towels out when the cycle had finished and had to dry the washing indoors as it was raining, they didn't smell too bad and felt reasonably soft. When they were nearly dry I finished them off in the tumble drier as I always do, just to ensure they feel soft. They felt as soft as normal, but the following week when I went to use them I was disappointed as the bath towel had a strange smell, almost as if it had been used before and smelled stale. I presume that is the vinegar like smell I had noticed.
The dark load seemed OK, some of the things need ironing and I had no complaints from my husband that they didn't seem clean.
The third load I felt disappointed when I lifted the washing out as the shirt collars looked a little grubby and the white shirt wasn't as bright as expected. Apart from the collars there were no stains on the washing so I can't say how it would cope with food or grass stains.
My fourth load looked reasonably clean, but when I was ironing it I felt there was a smell from the sheets, not nice and fresh as usual.
Although there was still a sign of bubbles when I squeezed I haven't used the soap nuts again as I prefer my washing to smell nice and clean. I might use them the next time I stick the dusters in!
:: Cost ::
If you want to buy them they cost £7.00 for 500grams or £4.00 for 200grams including postage and packing. They can be purchased online or by using the order form that came with the sample.
:: Thoughts ::
I liked the idea of a natural product and it would be useful if you had a septic tank, plus after 4 - 6 washes they can be put in the compost to rot. Therefore no waste to fill up landfill sites. But I won't be buying again even though it would save me money as I like my washing to smell clean, and I wasn't convinced that it was really deep down clean and the white shirt needed another wash to look pristine.
:: Interesting extra ::
I have read that jewellers in India and Indonesia use the soapnuts to remove tarnish from silver and other precious metals, so perhaps I'll collect some of my silver earrings and see if it makes them gleam even if it doesn't make the whites dazzling!
Summary: Natural product for washing
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