The Road to Hippie: Soap Nut Edition

For the most part, without really talking about it, Greg and I have divided up the roles at home into typical gender roles. I do nearly all the cooking and shopping, while he deals with the cars and takes out the trash. (If you are wondering who does the cleaning, that is Santi, our heaven-sent housekeeper who has made it possible for us to happily live in 750 square feet while we save for a 15 year mortgage.)

The one thing we both happen to do is laundry, since we usually do it on the weekend when we’re both home.  We were running out of laundry detergent and I offered to take care of picking it up. {Enter evil cackle.} I’ve been hearing about soap nuts in the Paleo community for a while. Here’s how Amazon (where I bought them) describes the nuts:

Soap Nuts are dried shells of the soapberry (a fruit) containing saponin (a highly effective cleaning agent) that works like most detergents & soaps, but WITH NO CHEMICALS! They have been used for ages in personal hygiene, hair care & multi-purpose cleaning. Easily converted to powder or liquid. Common to Asia, but only recently rediscovered in US & CA. NaturOli Soap Nuts are selected for optimal quality & guaranteed to be of the highest grade & effectiveness. Only wild harvested Sapindus Mukorossi soap berries – the most prized species.

They particularly peeked my interest as I have super sensitive skin when it comes to laundry detergent and many brands give me awesome red bumps all over my chest and back. I didn’t know much more about them than what Amazon had to say, but since they are very economical I ordered a pound and thought I’d give them a try. Luckily Greg was out of town when they arrived so I could do a test run before throwing the idea out there. I put a load of towels and a cotton dress that had a food stain on it into the wash. I will admit I was very surprised when they came out looking, feeling, and smelling just as clean as normal detergent.

Greg is begrudgingly using them, which is about as much as I can ask from someone who feels that the best way to ensure clean is a heavy chemical smell, preferably individually wrapped. Maybe someday we’ll stop using the little cancer-causing dishwashing detergent pods, but for now I’m happy at least our laundry is not killing us. Marrigage is all about compromise, right?

You put 4 - 5 nuts in a small linen bag and use for 5 loads of laundry.

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