Editor’s Note: In our initial post we linked to the incorrect soap nuts brand. Please note that the brand of soap nuts that Sarah used in her review was from EcoNuts. We apologize for any confusion! -FuzziBunz Editor.
When they arrived in the mail, I put them on the counter and went upstairs. When I came back, my husband is turning them around in his hand muttering, “what the…?”
He’s put up with many a new “eco-fad” that I’ve been crazy excited about for the moment, but I think he thought I went over the edge with this one. He was standing there holding my new soap nuts, wondering what the heck I was up to now.
Soap nuts come from a berry that grows on trees mainly in Asia. Yes, a berry that has cleaning properties and work much like detergents do to get clothes clean, but without the chemicals unnecessary foaming action. The dried berry shells contain saponins, a natural surfactant that advocates claim to be better for people with sensitive skin or allergies. Soap nuts have been used in other countries for eons and are now gaining popularity in North America and Europe. I love the fact that they are organic, biodegradable and compostable.
And yes, they even work for cloth diapers.
So, I tried them. Following the directions that came in the packaging, here’s what I did.
Put about four of the nuts (both whole nuts and a couple halves or pieces) into the included cloth bag.
Loaded the cloth bag right into the wash drum with my dirty (but already rinsed) diapers. For me and my HE machine, that act of putting the “detergent” right in with the diapers gave me a little pause, but I went with it.
Washed on a hot cycle with a cold rinse (no need to remove the bag for the rinse).
Removed the cloth bag containing the soap nuts and laid it out to dry while I dried my diapers.
Since the first use, I’ve washed the diapers with my soap nuts several more times (the same ones – you can reuse the same nuts up to ten times!). The diapers definitely come out clean, scent-free, soft and fluffy. Our newer inserts, in particular, came out noticeably fluffier.
I did notice a bit of a filmy feeling on the diapers that is hard to describe. I’ve been struggling with stink and hard water issues, so that could be something that is easily solved, but I’m trying not to add anything else to my list of issues. The instructions do recommend regular diaper stripping.
The great news is that soap nuts work incredibly well on regular laundry too. I’ve used them with my kids’ clothes and they come out buttery soft, fluffy and easy to fold. When I used them for the first time on my husband’s and my whites, he actually asked me if I’d changed detergents because he loved the way his undershirts felt.
Bottom line, I am still undecided on soap nuts. They are definitely not my go-to method for cleaning the diapers, but they do work and I do use them occasionally. My skeptical husband, on the other hand, is completely sold and wants me to use only soap nuts on his undershirts.
A far cry from his baffled “what the…?”
Sarah is a mom of two and blogs about her adventures in motherhood, cloth diapering and everything in between. Catch her “Cloth Diapering Unwrapped” series on the FuzziBunz blog every Tuesday.