Saturday, April 3, 2010


I'm always looking for a great all purpose cleaner, something natural, green, gentle, and easy to use. While I was looking for such product I came upon soapnuts. At first the whole thing sounds a little crazy, you just put these date looking things in with your laundry and it comes out clean.  They are different, but I had heard a little bit about people using this product with sensitive skin. Annabella's bum gets red pretty often, never a bad diaper rash, but its not that baby bum that you're used to. I liked the idea that if the product worked on my laundry, it would also work for cleaning other things in my house.

They are also affordable, one bag of nuts at twenty five dollars does around 160 loads of laundry,. The sample pack which does five loads is only two dollars and ninety cents.

My order arrived in about two days, very quickly.It arrived in a cardboard box, the nuts were packed in a muslin bag, with a smaller muslin bag enclosed. The nuts were dry and looked like dates, wrinkly and dark brown, They were very dry, and I was curious how they would make soap. There was also an instruction book with instructions on how to use the nuts, and some information about them. I liked how organic the soapnuts looked.

The soapnuts are grown in New Delhi, near the Himalayan mountains, but they grow in other places, they have been used for centuries as a laundry detergent.

this is what the soapnuts look like

How To Use:

The instructions that came with my nuts were lacking in a few areas, I was a little confused at how much water to add to make the solution, this was quickly managed by looking on the internet where I found clearer instructions, basically what you are doing is making a  tea, that you simmer for a long time.

To  make a liquid, I boiled 12 nuts in six cups of water and let them simmer till it seemed all the saponin  was out of them, it was a little hard to tell if they were done or not, but they looked grey and they started to fall apart. I let it cool and strained out a thick liquid, when I held it up to the light I  couldn't see my hand behind it. After that I felt confident that I had done it correctly. I can best relate the smell to an artichoke, my friend, Heather said it smelled like a squash, I'm not sure how much I like the smell, but it can easily be fixed with some essential oils

To make an all purpose spray you just add some of this liquid to a spray bottle (I used about two ounces) and fill the rest with water. I then added essential oils to make it smell good. I made to spray bottles one with vinegar and one without.

You can also add the liquid to the laundry in place of using the muslin bag with the soapnuts in it.

The liquid can also be used in dishwater like regular dish soap.

If you need to scrub something, just grind the soapnuts in your coffee grinder, but be warned, that when I did this, I let it grind a little too long, and upon opening the lid got a nose-full of soapnuts powder, which is not very pleasant, I would recommend leaving the lid on for a minute before opening it. After that I used the scrub on my stove.

How it Works

Overall I really like them, for the kitchen I found that the liquid mixed with the vinegar worked wonders to clean off the baked food on my stove top. Any spots that were hard to get off, I used the soap nut powder, I was amazed at how the powder worked. It is scrubby; then it gets soapy as it gets wet so it cleans very well.

I did not however like it for dish water, it doesn't get enough suds for me to feel like the dishes are clean, I would however use it if I was out of dish soap.

I used the spray to clean my bathroom , I loved how when mixed with the vinegar it got the soap scum off my shower, it also cut through the toothpaste that was in my sink so I didn't have to scrub it off which I hate.

I loved it for laundry, and I have found my new laundry detergent. What I first noticed about the nuts were that they were simple to put in the laundry, no measuring or putting too much or too little soap in. Just toss the bag in and you are done. I did however, have a hard time finding the bag as I transfered my laundry from the washer to the dryer.   Annabella's diapers smelled fresh, and looked VERY clean, much cleaner then I have gotten with other detergents. They were also so soft! All of the clothes that I have washed with the soapnuts with have come out soft and fresh, almost like I used a chemical cleaner or fabric softener. Its my new favorite for towels and diapers. Annabella's rash has also gone away and not come back since I've been using soapnuts for the diapers.

The soapnuts can be used in compost after the saponin is expressed. I read that they can be added directly to the soil, I didn't' try this because I was unsure what nutrients they would provide and I didn't want to shock my plants

Where to Buy
Soapnuts can be purchased in lots of different forms from Naturoli. They are available in a concentrate form if you don't want to boil them down yourself. Naturoli has excellent customer service, and they ship orders quickly

What I like

  • I love them for cloth diapers they are natural so keep up absorbency, as well as make the diapers clean and soft.
  • they are gentle on sensitive skin
  • they are easy, no measuring
  • they are all purpose, no need to buy multiple products, you can stick with one
  • they work wonders as a scrub
  • as a spray, they can clean soap scum!
  • they confuse my neighbor 

What I don't like

  • they don't get sudsy in dish water
  • its hard to remember to remove the bag from the laundry
  • the smell of the powder

Overall, I think soapnuts are amazing, they are my favorite laundry detergent so far (and I have tried upwards of twenty in the last year).  I also love them as an all purpose cleaner. I will continue to wash my dishes with regular sudsy soap, but plan to use the soapnuts for most other cleaning.


  1. Excellent Review and very informative. Thinkin about trying this.....

    Thanks Mally!

  2. blogged about it!

  3. I've read about this online, I think they're interesting... I'd be up for giving them a try on our cloth diapers!

  4. I've wanted to try them but too nervous to invest in buying them, I'd lovee to give them a shot!