Why I Don’t Make Laundry Detergent

I love making DIY Home Products, but one thing I DON"T make is laundry detergent. Find out why and find out why I LOVE soap nuts and read my soap nuts review.

You know by now that I get a real kick out of MYO (Make Your Own) projects, right?

My husband says I get this little mischievous smile on my face when I figure out a way to make something that we’ve been buying (or not buying because it is just way too expensive :-)), or even when I just think I’ll be able to do so.

I really feel like I am beating the system or something.

Kind of like winning a mini lottery!

Today I am going to tell you one thing that I do not make – and that is homemade laundry detergent.

Here’s why.

Years ago (too many. I’d really rather not think about it :-)) when we lived in the Chicago area, we were living on very little money (ummm..like $13,000 per year).  Let’s just say that $13,000 a year doesn’t go very far in Chicago :-)!

My oldest was born and I was forced to leave my job.

Well, really I chose to.  My boss reneged on a work-at-home offer and so I quit, not wanting to leave my son with anyone else.

So saving money was a really big deal to me.  Really big.

I was buying the loss leaders at the grocery store (we got a lot of funny looks and stares with our grocery cart full of 10 cent oranges or 10 cent yogurts :-)), buying nothing new, and we even lived with my inlaws for 2 years.

Anyway, I had a friend who made her own laundry detergent and for some reason it really mystified me.

I have no idea why, but there are sometimes projects that stump me for awhile.

I feel like I just can’t get myself to do them for some reason.

Other things like that have been :

making bread (I ended up with the most amazing whole wheat bread recipe – in our pre-gluten free days)
making candy (I finally ended up learning how to make lollipops in our pre-sugar-free days)
making lip balm or deodorant (this is coming soon!)

Laundry detergent was one of them.  I would just buy an allergy free brand at a local store and make it last as best I could.

Well, fast forward about 8 years to our home in Michigan.

I finally got up the gumption to make my own homemade laundry detergent.

I bought myself some Pure Kirk’s Castille Soap (because those recipes featuring Fels Naptha just wouldn’t cut it for this all natural gal.  That soap has colors and chemicals and a pretty intense artificial fragrance that really throws me for a loop.  Ick.

I grated that soap (I think my grater is permanently soap flavored now), heated it all up in my now soap-flavored calphalon pot (:-().

And used it.

And hubby wasn’t happy.

Maybe it was the lack of fragrance, but he really wasn’t happy with what was going on with his t-shirts.

And I didn’t like making the soap.  I got pretty depressed when I saw the bucket was almost empty.

So I tried something new that I am going to introduce to you today – soap nuts!!

What?  Nuts that make soap?

Yes.  Really.  And they work (i.e. no more complaints from hubby).  Actually it’s the hulls that make the soap.  Pretty neat eh?

And it’s more than just interesting, it’s good for your wallet because there is a great 20% off sale going on right now that you can take advantage of through tomorrow.

First, a tutorial of sorts on Soap Nuts…..

What are Soap Nuts?

From Naturoli’s website:

soap nuts are the dried shells (or husks) from the soapberry (or soap berry nut). These berries are the fruit from a quite unique tree species. These shells contain a substance called saponin that produces a soaping effect. Saponin is a 100% natural alternative to chemical laundry detergent and cleansers. It can replace many chemical detergents such as those containing sodium laureth sulphate (SLS) that are becoming well known by consumers for being a skin irritant and health hazard.

NOTE:  Soap nuts are not nuts – they are fruits.  So even if you have an allergy to nuts, soap nuts should be just fine for you :).

Why I Love Soap Nuts

1.  They are all natural – no chemicals going on my clothes, on my family’s skin, or into our environment.

2.  They are very reasonable.  Just pennies per load, especially if you buy the larger bulk sizes.

3.  They are super easy to use!  And my pots and graters don’t end up tasting like soap!

4.  The resulting used-up soap nuts are compostable :-)!

5.  Soap nuts leave no smell.  I mean, I like nice smelling things, but this way, all you get is clean.

How to Use Soap Nuts?

1.  Put 4-5 soap nuts in a small muslin bag (you buy some of these with your soap nuts).

2.  Put a large clip on the bag (this is my handy dandy idea – keeps that soap nuts bag closed tight and keeps it from getting lost in the wash.)  I LOVE the large Twixit Clips for this purpose.  See below for more info on these great clips!

3. Toss in washing machine before your clothes go in.

4.  Remove from laundry after washing (Naturoli tells me it’s really OK to dry them if you miss this step!)

5.  Re-use 3-5 times.  Well, truth is I use mine about 6.  Cheapskate frugal mama!  Told you I like to save money.

6.  The above directions are for a warm or hot water wash.  If you are going to wash in cold water, soak the soapnuts in a cup of hot water (from the tap is OK – thanks for the tip, Katie of Kitchen Stewardship…Silly me – I’ve been heating water in a pan.  But then, especially in the winter it can take awhile for our water to heat up) for about 3-8 minutes prior to using to activate the saponin.

Below is a handy dandy photo of my tiny bag of soap nuts secured with the Handy Twixit Clip and my “heavy duty” plastic container that I use:

How to Use Soap Nuts

Tips for Using Soap Nuts:

1.  The biggest tip in my mind is using the Twixit Clip on the bag.  Otherwise I can only imagine how many lost soap nuts bags I’d still be looking for (they’re not very big!)  You can use the Twixit Clips for so many other things around the house that it’s great to buy the whole set even if you’re only using one for your Soap Nuts bag.  You can see more ways I use them in my posts on How to Store Nuts and Seeds,  The Easiest Way to Freeze and Store Berries, and Easiest Sun-Dried Tomatoes.   No more pesky twist ties!!

2.  I use about 6 soap nuts because I have a front loader and it washes a bigger load.

3.  Use a heavy duty container for pre-soaking your soap nuts if you are using cold water for washing.  I once decimated a plastic container since it couldn’t stand up to the hot water :-(.

4.  After loading the soap nuts into the washing machine, I set the plastic container on top of the washer.  Then when the load is done I just find the little bag (with the help of that big clip) and drop it in the container, all ready for the next wash.

5.  When it’s time to pre-soak the nuts, I just fill up the container with water, drop it in a saucepan, heat it up and pour it back into the container.  Wait a few minutes and run it down to the laundry machine.

6.  You can tell the soap nuts are done when they look grayish and are falling apart.  Sometimes this frugal mom tries to get just one more load out of them though :-)!

7.  Thanks to a reader asking….soap nuts can be used in HE machines.

Why I Use Naturoli’s Soap Nuts

There are a bunch of soap nuts companies out there.  I spent a bunch of time researching them (what else is new???) and found that though other brands are cheaper, they may not be real soap nuts.  They may not clean as well and they are sometimes not deseeded, meaning that they weigh more.  That means you are paying for the seeds as well which do not do the cleaning.  For me, I chose to purchase these since they appeared to be a great value and I have been pleased with them.

Well, that’s it.  Except there is better news.

A whole bunch of the most popular products at Naturoli are on sale right now, through midnight, MST, Tues., Aug. 28th.  Even if the items are already on sale you can get another 20% off using CODE SoapNuts20.


UPDATE -8/29-  THE SALE AT NATUROLI IS OVER – But you can still get a great deal on the same Soap Nuts by purchasing them through me – I am an authorized retailer.  Just see my Store Page for pricing and info.  The prices are great!

(While you are there, you can check out the other items I have – especially the Glee Gum – great clearance prices :-)!)


Just go to the Naturoli site, click on the “Soap Nuts Sale” link on the left hand side of their store and you will see everything that this extra 20% off applies to.

Also, orders over $100 ship for free.

There are some really great deals over there.

So….I don’t make laundry detergent, but I do make…….

Top Photo Credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/sophistechate/3015591720/

This post contains affiliate links.  All opinions are mine.  Please read my disclaimer here.

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    Speak Your Mind


  1. Great post! I get my soap nuts from Green Virgin Products (GVP). FYI: GVP charge $10.95 for their 83 loads soap nuts package (and that include one muslin bag to use). That’s much cheaper than the on-sale price of $15.95 for the Naturoli 80+ load soap nuts package.

    Now, I don’t know if there’s a difference in soap nut quality between the two products or not. The ones I use from Green Virgin products do sometimes contain a seed that has to be removed. But, I don’t mind that so much since it’s such a great deal. The GVP Soap Nuts soap very well and I also make liquid dish soap to use from them.

    I love soap nuts! :)

  2. Question-

    If I presoak the soapnuts in hot water and then use them in a cold load do I have to resoak in hot water before the next load?

    This sounds like something I need to try!

    • Yes. You soak them before each cold water wash. Hope you like them!!

      • Do you really soak them before every cold wash?? I’ve been using soap nuts for almost 3 years and have never ever soaked them before any loads. If my first load is cold I just put an extra one or two nuts in the bag – which is what the instructions I got with my first pack said. They work marvelously for me! I love them – and we even use them with cloth diapers and they work great!! Thanks for the article!

  3. Can soap nuts be used in HE machines?

  4. This sounds great! We’ve been making our own and this really does sound way better. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I have read about these before but just haven’t taken the leap yet. I am really tired of buying all those plastic bottles and having to take them to the recycling. We don’t have recycling pick up in the country.

    Can you use them with Bleach?

    Thank you!

    • Yes, you can use them with bleach. Let me encourage you to take the plunge. I am so glad I did. I feel a little victorious every time I use them. No more plastic bottles!!! Like when I used cloth diapers. :)

  6. i note wikipedia says this about saponins

    “Most saponins, which readily dissolve in water, are poisonous to fish.[8] Therefore, in ethnobotany, they are primarily known for their use by indigenous people in obtaining aquatic food sources.
    Since prehistoric times, cultures throughout the world have used piscicidal plants, mostly those containing saponins, for fishing.[9][10] Although prohibited by law, fish poison plants are still widely used by indigenous tribes in Guyana.[11]”

    • Hmmm… I don’t know what to say about that. Can you offer some insight? I guess if we use a ton of these it might be a problem. I will email Naturoli and see what they think.

    • Here is the response from Naturoli:

      One really needs to use Wikipedia with some discretion. There are large data gaps in this area, and it’s not an issue of concern predominantly because saponins do not leave fish toxic to other animals which consume the fish. As a lifelong fisherman myself, many substances cause fish kills. In the lake that I reside on we have periodic natural golden algae blooms for example that can devastate fish populations every few years, but the blooms are non-toxic to our water supply. In that case the algae causes the fish to suffocate.

      Yes, for eons, man has found efficient ways in which to harvest fish using both botanical and mineral sources. The key here is harvesting for safe human consumption. Alternatively, heavy doses of sulfates would surely be highly toxic to fish – and man, too.

      There has been zero cases that I’ve read of that are reason to create any concern regarding saponins. Keep in mind that merely a change in pH (or even quick change of temperature) can result in fish kills. Some fish are very resilient, other species are very sensitive to minor water changes.

      I wouldn’t make much of this at all.

    • I went to school for fish and wildlife biology and I think that even if there was some pollution runoff from these nuts that was harmful to fish it’s most likely less more harmful than regular laundry detergent 😉 When siting “facts” you must remember to compare! I once had someone tell me eating and making banana chips was unhealthy – comparing them to bananas….as opposed to comparing them to chips 😉

  7. Thanks so much for doing this post! I have had soap nuts on the brain in a big way lately (running low on my homemade soap that I found out isn’t such a great alternative chemical wise). I think I shall take the plunge. I’m just worried about them actually getting clothes clean. Side note: About the wikipedia comment below and fish poisoning – how much more poisonous is commercial laundry detergent to fish? What about the ecological safety of bathroom cleaners, oven degreaser, or even round-up on the sidewalk weeds? We dump so much garbage into the water system that I think using soap nuts (while still not completely safe for animals) might be a step up. I’ll just make sure I don’t put any in my aquarium! 😉

    • Very funny, Kate! You are so right! I think you will like them. Of course, massive stains are still massive stains but we have been happy with them. Enjoy!!

  8. Wow sounds like a neat idea however with a kids that are completely anaphlactic to nuts Peanuts and all Treenuts this totally freaks me out. I am wondering if he comes in contact with kids at school or on the playground that are washing their clothing with nuts if this would effect him. For this reason not loving this idea. FYI one out of every four kids are allergic to nuts even tree nuts not just peanuts. Something to think about if you have kids going to school. :)

  9. I, too, tried the homemade laundry soap… and didn’t like it at all. LOVE soap nuts, though! :)

  10. I have always wanted to try them. I have been making my own baby detergent, but we just use store-bought for our clothes. I keep wanting to try soap nuts, but I know my hubby will be skeptical and if I buy them and they don’t work well, then it will be an I told you so moment.

    • My advice would be try a small amount and then who cares? Little risk – little waste if it’s not what you thought. Not that I want you to gloat, but it just might be you who says, “I told you so!”

  11. I love the clip idea! The biggest reason I haven’t been using my soap nuts is because it is such a nuisance to try to open the little baggie to change then out. I am going to start using them more regularily now. Thanks for the great tips.

  12. Thanks Adrienne! I’m going to try them-you convinced me. I make my own laundry soap and am not that happy with it so with this sale, I am ready to take the plunge.

  13. Been thinking of making my own detergent , glad I read your blog first, definitely going to try the soap nuts first! Thanks!

  14. I have been using soapnuts from Naturoil for a while, and I like your clip tip. I got tired of trying to find that tiny bag and have resorted to boiling my soapnuts and washing with the liquid. This works really well for me and our clothes are still coming out super clean!

  15. Does it leave any smell to the clothing?

  16. hi…. thinking of joining the bandwagon- but had a question- my laundry usually gets done @ the corner laundromat where I will do 2 washes and 2 rinses/ load… I wont be pulling the little bag out in the middle of the cycle- so what happens in the rinse cycle??? more soap? thanks for all the tips you put out!!

    • You leave it in for the rinse cycle. There are virtually no suds – it isn’t anything you need to be concerned about regarding rinsing :-). I would rinse in cold so you don’t wear out the soap nuts though. You are so welcome!!!

    • Since I moved to a condo with a shared laundry room (I miss having my own washer/dryer SO MUCH), I have not been happy with soap nuts. I loved them when I had my own washing machine. Naturoli recommends to clean the awful detergent residue from your personal washing machine before you start washing using soap nuts. Well, that’s impossible with a shared washer. My clothes end up smelling like the last detergent used in the machine :-( I haven’t been able to come up with a good alternative. I’ve also used Charlie’s liquid soap, but it doesn’t help. Tide or Cheer or whatever my neighbors are using is just too strong for the natural stuff to compete. Any ideas?

      • I heard back from Naturoli and they weren’t sure of what you could do. I would really not like that at all. How many folks do you share with? Any chance to get a small unit for your own place? Ugh.

      • Jennifer says:

        What about asking your neighbors if they’d like to make the switch? Just a simple flyer, even, with info posted, and a chance to do a group buy and save. Who doesn’t want to spend only 6 cents a load?

  17. Thanks for your great post. I have made washing powder and my grater took a while to get that taste out too. Will definitely try the soap nuts. My only question is – what about the rinse cycle ? I have a front loader. Do the nuts lose the soaping effect by the time the rinse starts? Also for the lady worried about stains, I have made my own stain removal spray – water and eucalyptus oil. Works a treat.

    • They don’t suds up much at all so now worries there. I personally haven’t asked about that but I would do a cold rinse so you aren’t wearing out the soap nuts. I’ll shoot Naturoli an email about that. Thanks! Great questions!

    • Thanks,by the way, for the stain removal tip. I can’t believe that works!! I have something made up already but I will try that! Here is Naturoli’s response about the rinse cycle.

      Do you need to remove the soap nuts before rinsing? This is asked a lot! ! No need to at all. If you do, you may get more uses out of the soap nuts. Saponin is so benign that if there is any residual saponin (which would not be much) it will not be problematic, and is totally non-irritating to your skin. Interestingly, depending upon how dirty the laundry is, many soap nut users skip the rinse cycle entirely to save energy and water. Simply experiment for yourself. There are so many variables in doing laundry. It’s hard to do anything really wrong when following basic instructions. Always let the end results always speak for themselves. When you are happy with the results, you’re home. Your personal taste and objectives are key. Just use your best judgment, and don’t be afraid to experiment.

  18. Thank you so much for your quick response Adrienne. Now I will have to source these nuts in Australia. Can’t wait to try them. Yeah love euculyptus – I also use it to soak the males in the house socks so they don’t stink out the house! A friend does the same for her baby’s bibs etc.

    • If you can’t find them, I offer them in my blog’s store and maybe shipping won’t be too horrendous somehow :-).

      • I know this is from two years ago, but I scrolled through the comments and didn’t see any suggestions.
        I’ve ordered by soap nuts from Woven Wraps Australia – http://www.wovenwraps.com.au/
        I am not affiliated with them, but just wanted to share – as this is a site for baby wraps, it’s not where I would have looked! My sister-in-law put me onto it after receiving a free sample of soap nuts with one of her orders. Postage & pricing were reasonable, and I still have a large bag of soap nuts to use.
        After reading this article and learning they need hot water, I have realised WHY I was not impressed with them and why others seem to love them – I was everything in cold water.

        Hope that is helpful to some other Aussies out there :)

  19. Carrie- young living oil lady says:

    Amazing post! I never would have thought soap nuts- wow! Very clever. Would love to know the breakdown of the cost you are saving. Thank you for linking up with us at Healthy 2Day Wednesdays!

    • It all depends on the amount of soap nuts you buy and at what price. And, of course, what you spend to make your own or buy your own detergent. But it is cheap – that I can say.

  20. I used homemade soap for a year but don’t anymore. I was tired of replacing clothes because they were looking dingy or full of stains.

  21. Maybe it’s our water or with my middle school boys, crafty girls, messy baby and coaching husband our clothes are too grungy, but nothing was clean when I used Naturoli soap nuts. I wanted so badly for them to work for us, but no luck. I have tried making my own detergent using Kirk’s Castille Soap, but ended up using it to scrub toilets.

    Does well water vs city water make a difference in soap nuts?

    • I don’t think water makes a difference unless it’s super hard. There is a great FAQ page here that might be of help to you. You could also contact Naturoli if you like. Do you feel you are getting great results w/ what you are using?

      • I am getting fantastic results with what I am currently using (Norwex), but found out that it has a small amount of brighteners so I need to switch to something else. Sigh. I loved that I needed only 1/2 tsp per load and it got most stains out without pretreating.

        I need something that really cleans everything from football pants to cloth diapers and doesn’t cause my littlest one’s eczema to flare. I’m having trouble finding the “perfect” detergent. It has been awhile since using the soap nuts, maybe I could try again.

        • Hmmm…Maybe just try a little bit and see how it goes. I haven’t ever been one to go for “super clean” – just getting the job done and costing not too much. But the homemade detergent was just a big flop. Take care.

    • I used the soapnuts for awhile too. I found that my whites just would not get white and I couldn’t ever get any stains out. Our clothes just didn’t get “clean” very well. I put up with it until I used up a pound and I still use them on my delicates or anything for babies. Now I make my soap and I’m much happier with the results I get. I know we have very hard water here in Texas so maybe that makes the difference. :)

      • I’m not sure – I guess there are other things that might make a difference. Our water is borderline hard. Maybe I could try your recipe :-). I use a homemade stain remover for stains. I don’t really rely on my detergent to do that and never have.

  22. Thanks for this post. It was an attention-grabber on the Hearth & Soul Blog Hop. :) After my Etsy-sourced laundry detergent is gone, I think I’ll give soap nuts a try again. With a baby on the way, I’m all for saving some dough (and our skin!).

  23. I’ve been looking into soap nuts. I heard that they leave line-dried fabrics softer than normal detergent. Does anybody have any experience with that? I love line drying my diapers, but they end up SO crunchy when I take them down!

    • I recently read that a little white vinegar in the rinse will soften clothes. You could try that and see if your line-dried diapers are softer. The article said to use 1/4 cup vinegar but I think a half cup would be OK, too. I have used as much as 1-1/2 cups vinegar in the rinse with really dirty items.

  24. Okay, I loved this post not only because it reminded me of a post I wrote about homemade laundry detergent http://treatmetoafeast-beloved.blogspot.com/2012/01/excellent-wife.html, but also because I ended up learning about soapnuts, which I might at some later point try.
    I’m so glad I found you at the Christian Mommy Blogger Friday link-up.
    God’s peace and good to you.

  25. I’ve never heard of soap nuts in my entire loooong life.
    Thanks for the tip.
    Over from the Fence…

  26. I love this idea. Any ideas for the dishwasher?

  27. I have heard about soap nuts and wondered how effective they were. It’s great to hear you have had such good results with them.

  28. aka Why I use Soap Nuts: Affiliate Commissions

    My laundry detergent is made from homemade soap, borax, and washing soda. It works as well as any I’ve ever used, fits your conditions, and is about $0.03 a load. Don’t see the benefits of spending the extra money here.

    • Hello Al. I was going to just delete your comment, but thought I’d best reply. First of all, I am wondering if you read my post. I shared that I tried my own DIY detergent and didn’t care for it. That being said, I am glad that it works for you and I wish it did for me.

      Secondly, I would like to clarify for you and for all of my readers. I never have – and never will – recommend something just in order to get affiliate info. Yes, I make income from links to Naturoli. But honestly, I have been an affiliate with them for about 1 year and just have never posted about the soap nuts I have used for more than that amount of time. I write about things and recommend things that I make no money from, but I will not be a sell out.

      I spend a ton of time on my blog and care very much about my readers and about what I share with them and what I recommend. If you want evidence of that, read my post on Which Essential Oils are Best. I have been laboring over this post for a long time trying to sort out what to share b/c I know it is very important to people.

      The affiliate links and advertising and other ways I have to make money with my blog just help me keep it going and help me to pay for alternative care for myself and my family. It is a home business for me, but one that I take very seriously. I am saddened that you would make such an insinuation in your comment that I use soap nuts in order to get affiliate income. Please take care in the accusations that you make in the future but I do hope you come back and share in the future. I wish you had been more kind, but I welcome honest inquiries and would have been happy to tell you all this had you just asked kindly.

      Thank you again.

      • In regards to your response to Al all I have to say is “Well done, Andrea!”. I stopped here to read about these soap nuts and, I must say, I’m very intrigued. I’ll need to do my own research (not because I don’t trust you but because *I’m just that way* ;o)) I’m going to see what you have to say about essential oils as I use Young Living brand (yes, I am a distributor but it’s mainly because I want the wholesale pricing!) and I agree with you wholeheartedly about only recommending something that you use and are happy with. Love your site!

        • Thank you Diane. I so hope to have the oils post done soon. I am almost there :-). Thank you so much for the kind words. They mean so much. Oh – my name is Adrienne, so I was thrown off a bit by your comment but thank you anyway :).

  29. I’m so glad to find this information. I just discovered your blog today.

    I have chemical sensitivities, so I can’t use most laundry products. Even the dryer exhaust from next door makes me a little sick. For years, I’ve used Charlie’s Soap, which worked well enough for all our laundry and didn’t make me sick. But my dog got very old and incontinent, so I tried homemade soap (castile soap, washing soda, borax) and found it worked better on the tough stains and odors in the dog items. I add a little extra borax for the worst stains. Our water is slightly hard, and I think that makes a big difference in how difficult it is to get clothes really clean.

    I’ve been using the homemade stuff for dirtier items for a few months, and using up the Charlie’s on things that are easier to wash. I have few whites, and care nothing about dinginess–I use things until they fall apart whether they are stained or not. Don’t know if I’d be unhappy with the homemade stuff if I wanted bright whites.

    I was planning to stick with homemade soap long-term, but soap nuts are intriguing. I still have one dog and a cat, and there will always be tough stains to get out, so I’m concerned whether the soap nuts are good at that. If they save money over what I’m doing, I’m all for trying them.

    • I wouldn’t say the soap nuts are great at stain removal – but I use a DIY stain remover for that. I’ll have to find the recipe and share sometime :-).

  30. I have several old mesh bags for washing delicates in the washer. Would they be OK to hold the soap nuts? They are large–about a foot square.

  31. We have been using soap nuts for over a year now for our family of eight and we love them! I can never imaging making my own laundry detergent either since finding these. We moved off-grid about ten months ago and did our laundry using special plungers for quite a few months (http://www.livereadynow.com/laundry-on-the-off-grid-homestead-1/). Now we have a top-loading washer. Either way they work great!

    Since we are off-grid hot water is difficult to use for laundry so we always make soap nut “tea” rather than place the bag into the wash. We heat about 1 cup of water on the stove, remove from heat and place the bag of 5 soap nuts into it to steep for about 8 minutes. Then we pour the tea into the washer and rinse the soap nuts with cold water to remove all the saponins that were released and add that to the wash as well.

    We also have very hard water, so we always add a few drops of Shaklee basic H for a softening effect so the soap nuts are more effective. If clothes are very dirty or smelly, we also add vinegar and/or peppermint oil as we would if using regular detergent. If they need disinfecting and/or whitening we use peroxide.

    We purchase ours from GVP as well. Thank you for sharing your experience about this great product. I hope to share soon on our blog about how we use soapnuts, and am wondering if it is ok to link to this post since you have much helpful info.

  32. I appreciate your post but I do wish you would find another soap nuts brand to be an affiliate for. This company naturoli has built their reputation and brand by putting down other companies. For example, I have used Mountain Rose Herbs (the brand in the comparison photo) with no issues. The seeds don’t do anything, dont stain my clothes, and they are extremely cheap for the weight so I don’t care.

    This company naturoli is using scare tactics to make you think their products are better. They run other websites that put down other specific companies as well – which I’m pretty sure isn’t legal. The “don’t be fooled” photo is a violation of MRH trademark and against the fair trade acts since their logo and image is being used by a competitor to slander them. I would take it off your site.

    Naturoli wants you to think that other cheaper brands are not real soap nuts – they are. They may look different but they work just fine.

    I’m not trying to attack you, but I think you should be aware and not perpetuate such negative false advertising. Find another brand to be an affiliate for if you want to promote the nuts.

    • Hello Jill.

      I am really concerned about what you shared with me. I will touch base with some other folks whom I can talk with and see what they know. I for sure don’t wish to be a part of something that has this kind of problems associated with it. I am not sure that the photo is a violation of a trademark – can you please respond and tell me why? If necessary I will take it down. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Of course, if there are seeds in the MRH product then they aren’t necessarily cheaper -would you agree with that? My understanding was that there are different species of the nuts and that some won’t work as well as others.

      Thanks for the honest feedback. I hope you will take the time to respond to my questions.

  33. Hi Adrienne,
    I’m happy to clarify!
    from what I understand, it’s illegal for a competing company to use another company’s image in a manner that puts down that competitor for financial gain. In other words, if you make money from saying something bad about a direct competitor (doesn’t matter if it’s true or not) it is illegal do it.

    You can clearly see the logo from Mountain Rose Herbs on the package and the manner in which it’s presented is meant to direct you away from MRH to buy NaturOli’s brand. This photo is slander. The photo also implies that the soap nuts are not the mukorossi soap nuts, while MRH claims that the soap nuts they sell are Sapindus Mukorossi if you check their web site. Because of the wording on the photo, it is implying that MRH is not truthful about the type of soap nuts they sell. This is Libel.
    Also, the soap nuts I’ve gotten from them don’t look that way, so the photo is untruthful.
    Now – it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not – the photo and the wording is considered “commercial speech” instead of free speech which falls under a different set of laws regarding fair trade practices, so this isn’t a free speech issue.

    I’ve seen other examples of this from NaturOli elsewhere with other competing products. They run a website which I won’t give power to by posting it here, but it basically puts down every other soap nut company directly and indirectly except for Naturoli, though it’s disguised as an informative factual site. You have to really hunt for the information that the site is in fact owned and run by NaturOli but that MRH image appears on there along with images from other companies used in a derogatory manner and theres references to other images they were asked to remove – so there is a clear history of NaturOli doing this to other soap nuts companies. I personally feel this really hurts Naturoli’s credibility. Should I really believe what they say? do I really want to support a company resorting to these methods?

    After using MRH’s soap nuts I don’t really see a problem with seeds, though I agree some people might not want them. If you’re using them to make a liquid soap or other cleaning products I really don’t think it matters. They are selling 1 lb for $6 – even if 2/3 of that is the weight from seeds at the worst, that’s still way cheaper than Naturoli which costs 22.95 for 1 lb. I think the photo implies that the two brands cost the same.

    I’m also not advocating for MRH – I’m not affiliated with the company, but I don’t like it when companies aren’t fair to one another. I have no problem with other companies selling de-seeded soap nuts – and maybe they’re better or yield more loads and I’m sure some people will find the seeds incredibly annoying and maybe there’s other reasons to buy de-seeded, but I think there’s more tactful ways to promote your own products than directly putting another company down and I don’t want to support that.

    • thank you. Again I am consulting w someone else and I will continue to look into this as I have time. I am swamped but I will change things as need be. Feel free to remind me if you come back and don’t see different info.

    • I got to agree with you Jill. I have been searching long and hard for the right company.. and that site you mentioned I know which one your talking about and your totally right.. But i fell for their crap at first. Went to naturoli site and ordered 100 worth of stuff. When i received a phone call from this company and received the RUDEST customer service i have ever received from a company I was quite irritated.. and why was she rude, all over a dumb shipping address issue. So like always I emailed the company to let them know I was unhappy with her service and I received an email back right away saying they were canceling my order and refunding me ( i honestly think that woman who called runs the computers and she might of done it, or else it really was the owner) either way it was absolutely the most ridiculous thing ever. I have been researching all day to find a new safe company only to find everyone reviewing naturoli and tons of info against every other company. I am stumped what to do. I went back to that site you mentioned and that is when i realized this is obviously naturoli affiliated site even though they claim to not be about any brands. I have experienced and read nothing good about this company especially once you open your eyes and dig deeper. I plan on letting everyone know to stay away from this company… Which sucks because I thought I was gonna be telling everyone about it. Might have to look into this other company you mentioned since finding them is hard when naturoli over takes everything on the internet. thanks for your input

      • Who is being rude Megan? Naturoli or someone else? Thanks! I would love to know about the site that Naturoli is affiliated w/ despite it not being about brands. Thanks.

  34. Yay! Congrats! Your post was my #3 most clicked link in The Mommy Club last week. You are being featured on my blog today! Stop in and see your feature as well as the new weekly link up! I can’t wait to see what mommy solutions & resources you link up, next!!

    Have a great week,

  35. I have been using Soap Nuts in my HE washing machine for about a year … love them. I especially love that they don’t leave any artificial smell … my laundry just smells clean. I would and have recommended them to everyone. I even gave bags out at Christmas last year to friends and family.

  36. It seems great minds think alike when choosing a bar soap for DIY laundry soap. I also chose Kirk’s Castile for my laundry soap and I think I’m lucky as I don’t seem to have any leftover soap flavor! Though I made a powder recipe so that means no soap flavored pots. Also, I added a few drops of Eucalyptus EO in to my mixture for a bit of super light clean and fresh scent. You can check out my powder recipe here – http://www.peaceandplastic.com/2012/08/wash-it-wash-it-real-good.html.

    I’ve also made DIY Deodorant and of course baking soda shampoo! Check those out under my “homemaking” tab here – http://www.peaceandplastic.com/search/label/Experiment%20in%20Homemaking.

    Those soap nuts look pretty cool I just don’t think I could handle having to warm them – it would just give me another reason to put off laundry!

    • I’ll check out your links – thanks! I just heard from someone that the soap nuts work well just pouring warm or hot water over them from the faucet – why didn’t I think of that???!! I need to go and add that to my post!

  37. I am just wondering how well they get out stains??? have you had any experiences with food stains? blood (from cuts or scrapes) or mud/dirt?? I have a 2.5 year old and his clothes can get pretty dirty. GREAT post! I shared it with soooo many people. Thanks for this write up :)

    • I’ve heard from others that they think they clean great, but I use a DIY stain remover for bad stains. I need to pull that recipe out and share it – thanks for sharing!!!

  38. Sonia Williams says:

    I have tried these i purchased mine from living naturally a uk company. I desperately wanted these to work as my two year old has quite a bad skin condition and i think that chemicals in soap powder and fabric softener(which leaves a residue on clothes) must irritate his skin. I purchased a large tub, i used a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda and a tablespoon of white vinegar in the drawer for a natural oxy clean and i put 10/15 drops of essential oil on the bag containing the soap nuts for a slight fragrance.
    I found them geat on lightly soiled clothes but and its a big but with a two year old in the house, it didnt shift food stains,poop stains didnt go and there was still an odour after washing. I was very disappointed and i am now wondering if it was the brand i purchased or if i was doing something wrong. I wash on a 40 degree wash the majority of the time. I did soak the soiled clothes in bicarb prior to washing but still no luck.
    Does anyone have any tips as i would love to use them all the time, plus the hypo allergenic soap powder is so expensive i would be saving money with the soap nuts.

    • I’d love to hear what others think. I think you need a natural stain remover for stains. I have never had great luck w/ stain removal from just detergent. Also, if you put too many clothes in no detergent works well – that is a struggle for this “frugal” momma. Anyone else have thoughts? I wonder if the bicarb is a help or not???

  39. Hi, glad I found this post…I do all my wash by hand(my washing machine died a while ago)…would you recommend that I make the “tea” that one reader recommended? Or just use the bag?
    Also, has anyone made regular soap using the method using a crockpot to cook it? That really intrigues me too…

  40. Overnight we soak soapnuts with some other dried seeds which are good for the hair. In the morning we heat it and then when we wash our hair we add little cold water n then rub the mixture on our hand and use as shampoo. This is supposed to make hair stop falling and grow black ,thick n long. But you have to be careful about mixture going in your eyes it can be very painful. But hair turns out soft and shiny after this shampoo n squeaky clean.

  41. Whoa! So interesting. I’ve never heard of soap nuts! I’ve loved looking through your blog! I wanted to invite you to share over at my link party too! It’s hosted every Saturday and is all about ‘Your Great Idea’. Hope to see you soon! http://www.oneshetwoshe.com/2012/09/hello-weekend-50-mikarose-giveaway.html

  42. Adrienne, could you please share your homemade stain remover recipe? I am looking for a natural stain remover that works well. Thanks!

    • Hi Beth – sorry this took so long to reply. I lost comments in a sea of them :). I need to do that. Feel free to email me if you don’t see it soon. I have to dig it up :). I made waaaay too much of it when I did and haven’t needed to make it for a long time

  43. I used soap nuts for a while, the NaturOli brand, and they were OK. My husband hated the vinegar-y smell that the soap nuts leave on the clothes. I do make my own detergent (powder: mix together 1 grated bar castile soap, grated using very fine microplane grater, 1 cup borax, 1 cup wash soda), and I use vinegar in each load as the fabric softener; the clothes rinsed with vinegar do not leave such a smell. In defense of the powder detergent, it does work really well. My husband is an auto mechanic, and it gets the grease out of the clothes well if I rub some of the detergent into the stains first with a bit of water or vinegar. For a nice smell, I either line-dry, or I’ll toss a lavender-filled sock in the dryer. Works like a charm, and so CHEAP.

    • I am surprised about the vinegary smell – I find there is no smell from soap nuts. I do like the sock idea :-). I would try that DIY detergent again but my liquid one just wasn’t great. Thanks!

  44. Thanks for this information. I’ll give soap nuts a try.
    Do you have any ideas for cleaning a kitchen sink. I try baking soda and vinegar, but it doesn’t get all the marks off my white sink.

    • Everything I’ve read says you need to use bleach. I’m not a fan but have you tried it?

    • I know this is super old, but I am in love with my homemade sink cleaner. I filled a mason jar about 3/4 of the way full with baking soda, then dropped 15 drops of tea tree oil and 5 of lavender. I shook it up, poked holes in the lid with a nail and thats it. I rinse the sink, shake on the baking soda mixture, let it sit while I clean my counters, then scrub and rinse with water. It works great to get the stains out of my white sink.

  45. Karen Hankinson says:

    I stopped using detergent some time ago. I use baking soda as well as vinegar and have been very happy with results. Our clothes seem to hold up better. Colors don’t fade. I have never heard of soap nuts before, but they sound great. Love to hear about new things .

  46. Hi Adrienne,

    I just found your blog and am really enjoying your posts. I have some questions about the Soap Nuts:

    1. Since they can suds up for 5-6 washings, even in cold water, do you have to remove them before the rinse cycle so they don’t continue to suds up all the way to the end?

    2. Can you describe or compare the smell to something familiar? I’m imagining Ivory soap…

    3. Can they be contained in one of those tightly meshed bra bags, instead of a bag with a big clip on it (I would be afraid the clip would tangle up in the clothes or fall off)

    4. Do they spoil or go bad if not used for a certain amount of time? Are they perishable?

    5. Will they stain or cause discoloration to delicate materials, like lingerie or basic white underthings?

    6. Does the soap leave any kind of a residue on the washer or the washer window of the front loader, like the light soapy film you can wipe away with a finger or scratch with a fingernail?

    I have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (from taking a common anti-biotic called Levaquin, seven years ago, which also caused Fibromyalgia and Nerve Damage) and am so super-sensitive that I had to be rushed to the ER one time just for a reaction I had from an ordinary hand lotion.

    All these years I’ve been using Charlie’s Soap Laundry Detergent for my front loader, and their all-purpose cleaner that I mix in a spray bottle and use for everything else in the entire house, including the floors and windows. It is supposed to be made out of something from a coconut, and rinses away so clean you can lick the washing machine after it’s done! It also gets out blood and mud and grass and oil pretty good. I use only 1/8 cup per load, so the one gallon lasts me several months – but I live alone, so maybe that’s why.

    I wanted to compare, because Charlie’s Soap has absolutely no smell to it whatsoever, and I miss having a nice, fresh, natural, clean soapy smell to my laundry. Do the Soap Nuts have the smell I’ve been missing all these years?

    Zoletta from Chicago

    • Hi there!

      Wow – good questions.
      1. you do not need to remove them. They barely suds. Enough to wash but not enough to leave residue. It is better to remove them b/4 the rinse cycle to give them more life, but I never do since my laundry is in the basement. If you have a good tip for how to do that I am all ears!
      2. There is no smell. Just nothing.
      3. I am sure you could do that. The clip doesn’t tangle on anything though. It is possible little bits of the nuts could break off and slip through the mesh – that’s the only thing I would worry about.
      4. They are not perishable.
      5. They do not stain – never happened to me at least.
      6. No residue.
      7. I read negative things about Charlie’s on Kitchen Stewardship’s blog. They’ve added stuff she is not happy with. I am OK w/ the non-smell but I know what you mean and have thought about adding just a drop of an essential oil to my laundry. Tea tree or orange would be nice options.

      Hope that helps!

  47. I’m all about making homemade stuff! I make homemade detergent w fels naphtha …if I knew there were chemicals in it I would’ve never made it this way! Ugh bummer I think I’m going to have to give these soap nuts a try. I want to start making my own lotions and hand soaps too. I haven’t found a good dish washing detergent yet that’s homemade. They always make my dishes nasty. And I do use vinegar also still doesn’t help! I want to start making anything and everything I can home made. I’ve been following your blog for a little while now and I’m so glad I found it!!! I don’t have much time to blog myself anymore but I still enjoy all your helpful posts

  48. I love soap nuts! I use the little muslin wash bags, but ended up taking the drawstrings out because it’s hard to get them open when wet. Tried those clippy things, but they would come off in the wash – now I just use tiny rubberbands to close. I also use a drop or two of tea tree oil for loads like underwear and socks – or musty towels, etc.

  49. Have you used soap nuts for washing cloth diapers? I have boys who are smelly, dirty, and still wet their underwear and my home made detergent just doesn’t get the smell out unless I use lots of it. So I am looking into trying something new.

  50. No thanks! I make my own soap powder, using Fels Naptha (grated really fine, with my zester), washing powder and borax. It works great! I used to make it by melting everything in a pot, and it was a pain in the neck. I have an HE washing machine, and I use just 1 Tbsp. of my homemade powder per load, or more, if necessary.

    • Hi Barb. Did you ever notice the ingredients in the Fels? I wasn’t happy when I read them. The fragrance really irritates me as well. What do you think about that? I did the pot thing too and really didn’t care for it.

  51. i,m just wondering if they will get the clothes clean enough i have made homemade laundry soap for a while and really love it. i make mine in powdered form and have a cheepo 5$ mini food proceccor that i use after cutting soap into small chunks. It works wonders on getting clothes clean i have 4 kids and they can devastate clothes i’m just wondering because the web sight said it doesn’t work on stains. :/ I also don’t use felts soap i use handmade soap from a local gal that smells amazing. but i’m, truly curious about these i’ve never herd of them.

  52. While we are on the subject of laundry I was wondering if there is a good (healthier) alternative to bleach. Something to keep my whites looking white without harsh chemicals.

  53. Francesca says:

    Hi there, thanks for the info on Soapnuts. I would love to try them I just have a question. I know that the company Econuts now sterilizes their soapnuts before distribution and the reason is that the nuts were making the people working with them sick. I looked at the Naturaoli website and saw nothing about this process. I know many things are best in their raw and natural form but this company was trying that and they got sick. Can you please comment on this since I don’t know enough about it? Thanks

    • I have no idea. Maybe you could contact Naturoli and let us know? I will try to send an email.

    • Hi. Naturoli told me that they addressed this issue on their site:

      visit our informational website http://www.soapnuts.pro/. Under FAQ there is a lot of information on the sterilization question. You can refer your readers there.

      Hope that helps!

    • Hi again. I just got this from Naturoli which I think would be helpful:

      I can assure you that the soap nuts we sell come with a certificate of analysis, are USDA & EcoCert Certified Organic, have been imported from a registered Department of Agriculture exporter as well as being tested at food grade standards at an Arizona lab.

  54. I used to make my own laundry detergent, but like yours, my husband didn’t like the way his T-shirts were turning gray. So I’m back to commercial soap (Eco right now). I’ll definitely check out the soapnuts thing.

  55. My mom runs a theater company and she has to wash all of the costumes. She is wondering if using soap nuts for laundry detergent will remove strong body odor and make-up from the actors costumes? Thank you for such wonderful blogs!!

  56. Hi! I’m thinking of trying soap nuts. Here’s my question… Down here in Guatemala the machines don’t have agitators so I start the washer at night (using my homemade liquid detergent), then let it agitate for 10 minutes, turn it off, then it soaks all night and I start the machine up in the morning. It seems the clothes get cleaner this way. If I use the soap nuts, I’d heat them at night, add to my cold wash (we don’t have hot water), agitate for a bit, then let it sit overnight. Would I need to re-heat them in the morning? Thanks!! (And did you ever decide to go with a different company based on the comments about NaturOli?)

    • I’m guessing that that would work. Did I not follow up w/ more info about the negative comments? I thought I did. The info I got led me to stay where I am.

  57. Here is a question you may not have seen before! You know that show “Shark Tank”? A couple years ago (or one or three, who knows, all the years run together when you have kids!), there were people on there pitching soap nuts as their business. They said they came across an unexpected problem when they first sourced soap nuts, in that they were arriving with monkey poop on them! So they had to do expensive cleaning or whatever to them to be able to sell them. So now I am scared to try soap nuts. Thoughts?? lol thanks :)

    • Bizarre! I have never heard of this but I do know that there is no sign of poop–monkey or otherwise–on these soap nuts. Naturoli is super particular :).

  58. Susan Alexander says:

    I keep trying to use soap nuts, but I seem to be unable to get them to clean my husband’s shirts properly… I have a huge box that I WANT to use. I’ve tried all kinds of things and keep up ending back with regular detergent. Last try was soap nuts with a washing soda kicker and copious amounts of bac out on the offending shirts (mostly workout shirts). It worked for a while, but again the stink built up and by the end they were taking 2-3 washes just to not smell when I put them in the dryer. The second they got wet/sweaty at all the stink was completely overpowering.

    Anyone have these issues? Any idea how to solve them? I don’t have the time/energy to boil the soap nuts and make special detergent so for now they sit unused. :( Oh I always wash on warm/cold unless I have something really nasty (like poop) in the wash. Should I switch to hot/cold?

    • When we have stinky shirts and stuff I try to soak them in vinegar water before washing and that seems to help a lot. I think it’s the super chemically detergents that can handle it but I do not want to use them.

  59. I would love to have your homemade whole wheat bread recipe! We aren’t gluten-free and I have been on the search for a good homemade whole wheat bread recipe! :)

    • Hi there. I should post it….if I ever make it again :). If you’re desperate you can email me. But I can’t find the original right now…I’ll have to see if I can dig it up. Sigh.

  60. Nutty Mom says:

    Since the clip seems a bit of a bother, just stitch it shut with your sewing machine, and make enough for the world.

  61. I’m sorry but, I’ve been trying to use soap nuts for about 6 months now. My clothes just will not come clean with them. I’ve cleaned out my machine by running 2 vinegar rinses though it first. I tried adding bleach to my whites and baking soda to all my loads. I also did peroxide/baking soda paste on all stains before each load. This did help immensely but, soooo time consuming! I then tried baking soda and peroxide in each load along with the soap nuts. This did help but, my whites were still grey my socks looked like the hadn’t been washed at all. I know a lot of people love these. I have given them a good, fair shot. Done all the trouble shooting I could find and still they are a failure for me. I won’t make my own soap as I find it too time consuming so, back to purex it is for us.

  62. Organic Mom (Heather) says:

    I’m going to ‘share’ this on my brand new blog (that I’m VERY excited about, please lmk if you get a chance to check it out!) if that is ok. Love my soap nuts and I’ve bought them from same place as you. :)

    Thank you!

    Organic Mom (Heather)

  63. Well, you learn something new every day! I have never heard of soap nuts before. I’ve been thinking about trying homemade detergent, but haven’t yet. My daughter is allergic to tree nuts, so I’m glad to see these aren’t considered nuts.

    I’m going to have to look into this more.

  64. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I got a small box of soap nuts to try and they just aren’t working out. The first load seemed fine but since then I’ve noticed a musty odor (like old wet towels) while I’m wearing the clothes. They smell fine out of the dryer but as they heat up from my body heat the smell is released. So I’m thinking they just aren’t getting clean enough (has happened to multiple loads). I did not clean my washing machine (HE frontloader) first to remove residue so I suppose that may be part of the problem. But even after 5 uses, the nuts still look new – no greying, breaking, etc. Maybe my machine doesn’t use enough water? Or maybe I’m putting in too many clothes (I’ve tried to be mindful not to but it’s hard to tell what is “too much”). I want so much to like soap nuts as they seem easy and inexpensive but I had to go buy some Tide just to feel like my clothes were clean again (I didn’t have time to mess around with trying different things). We have a water softener so, if anything, I expected a higher soaping level but I never see any suds. I use a warm wash and cold rinse.

  65. We have been using soap nuts for about 2 years – and LOVE them. My hubby will like the idea of using a clip on the baggie, he has a terrible time finding it when he does the load, lol.
    I have a tip for how many washes to use them for that I wish I had known the first year we were using them. I too use mine upwards of 6 washings. After three or four I pull a shell out of the bag while they’re still wet and give the edge a squeeze. If there are still suds coming from it, it’s good for another wash. I have had baggies last ten loads! We do cold water washes for almost everything so I find if I HAVE to do several hot loads they don’t last for as many.

  66. I usually use vinegar in my fabric softener cup – can I still do that with soap nuts?

    Just got mine and they seem good! So much less hassle than the homemade detergent I was making!

  67. Could you let us know, is it at all possible to try a small sample packet 1st? I don’t want to purchase a huge bag if I don’t like them. Thanks.

  68. Hello, I’ve already heard of this soap nut…
    I want to stop with every thing containing chemistry, so instead of soap, I use clay on my body, but I couldn’t use it in hair or cloths… I would like to know if i can use soap nut in my hair =]

  69. I heard about these about six years ago but never got around to buying and using them until this year. Now I wonder why on earth I waited so long! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these and will never go back to anything else!
    And if you don’t believe me, read all the Amazon reviews!
    You’re right – these are amazing!
    Thanks for making it easy to share with others

  70. Erica Shaw says:

    What do you do about fabric softner?

    It may be in the comments below but I can find it :)


  71. I have several Soapberry trees on my property and I am going to use the Soapberries/Nuts for soap. Do I remove the black seed from the berry before I put it in the washer?

  72. Musicalquiltingmouse says:

    I have tried these soap nuts, because I would like to stop making my own laundry detergent, too. I gave them a really good try, but they just don’t work very well. Colors are getting dull, and they just don’t get out the dirt. Sorry, but I give them a thumbs down.

  73. Can I just say how much I LOVE your blog?! I just discovered it last night and I am hooked! And I am not one to read blogs all day, no joke. I’ve been using soap nuts for about 10 years now but never really did the research of the best company (even though I considered it). Anyway, I want you to know how much I appreciate you and how incredible I think you are. Thank you for what you do.

    I just have to tell you how I randomly came across your blog. I was searching young living diffuser reviews on google last night after my kids went to bed and google brought me to your essential oils blog posts. I started reading because I’ve been a YL distributor (mostly just for personal use, I can’t stand selling stuff, but I do love sharing my love for something, ya know?) for a few years now and my mom has been using their oils for a long time so I was already a believer. But ever since doterra came about I was really trying to figure out the deal with all that. I also have always kind of thought Gary Young a little bit off with his shady history, plus I saw him a year ago, it was my second time seeing him and he was such a demeaning jerk when I saw him the second time. The first time he was really awesome. I think he’s unhappy about all the doterra sttuff. Which I don’t blame him since the CEO of doterra worked for him for a long time. I keep getting on tangents, but basically you completely validated my feelings of sticking with YL over Doterra, but I am completely intrigued and convinced that Native American Nutritionals is the best. I am into organic also and I really like all the factors you brought up about the company. I still like YL and may still get some of their oils but I AM STOKED to get some of those other oils. I already feel really good about it. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

    P.S. have you found an essential oil diffuser that you love? Or reviewed a bunch that I could read about?

    • Hi there – thanks for writing. I should make clear that I am not happy w/ YL either. For numerous reasons, some of which I outlined in my posts. I know GY is upset about DT but it seems to me they didn’t do anything wrong in that way, but I am not aware of all of the details. Let’s just say that I am not a rep of either for various reasons. Native American has a diffuse and Mr. Dean is VERY picky about them so I think you will be very happy with it. Thanks and see you around!

      • Hi again! I meant to reply sooner. I know you aren’t happy with YL and I personally felt like what you didn’t like about them doesn’t bother me as much as what you had to say about Doterra. And I do think NAN sounds better. And I really want to check them out in Orem next time I’m in UT. That’s where they are at right? So I also wanted to ask, you mentioned that you almost chose another company but you didn’t like their skin care products? What EO company was that if you don’t mind me asking? Thanks!

  74. When using soapnuts in front loader washing machine, he approved as you say, DO YOU LEAVE THEM IN THE ENTIRE CYLCE? WHAT KEEPS THEM FROM SOAPING UP THE RINSE PROCESS?


    • This is what I have read:

      Do I have to remove the Soap Nuts from the washing machine during the rinse cycle?
      No need to remove the soap nuts from the rinse cycle. There’s no soapy residue to rinse away! The little bit of saponin left in the rinse adds softness and body to your clothes.

  75. Those of you looking for a dish soap and/or dishwasher soap can find them @ the hippy homemaker.

  76. Have you ever tried the Caldrea products? Someone mentioned them to me but they all have fragrance and I have very sensitive skin. Any thoughts?

    • If it has fragrance that’s a big no no for me.

      • My experience with soapnuts has been so-so so far. I think they are ok for clothes that are not really badly soiled or greasy. They do not remove stains and do not whiten so periodically I am using bleach/dishwashing detergent mixture to soak whites (I wish there was a more natural way to do that…)
        I tried making a liquid soap from the “nuts”, which I was able to do, but it grew mold. Any ideas how to keep it from molding would be appreciated. My goal was to be able to add essential oils for fragrance. (they say you can use the liquid for shampoo and body soap).
        One question: how do you keep track of how many loads you have washed with a batch of nuts?
        My nuts from Naturoli came with a nice little muslin drawstring bag that does not come open in the wash. Actually it is difficult to open when I need to replace the soapnuts. (not complaining, I am happy about this!)

        • I don’t care for the non whitening of any of the DIY detergents. Do you wash your whites separately?

          I do know that I like the nuts better than the diy detergent that I was using.

          Are you making a lot of the liquid? Maybe just make less and you need to make sure you are using filtered water I would think.

          With the nuts I have a little piece of paper in my cabinet (you could put it wherever–by the laundry too) where I keep a tally of how many times I’ve used them. Once I hit 6, they go in the compost.

          The soap nuts I sell are the same as Naturoli if you ever need more :).

  77. I used soap nuts for a while and really, really, really wanted to like them. But, in my house full of little kids, there are lots of little stains that get by me. I catch the big ones with stain remover, but I miss lots of little ones. And the soap nuts don’t get those out. :( I finally switched back to regular allergy-free detergent, just b/c I was tired of stained clothes! If someone has figured out a way around this, I’d love to hear! I still have a box or two of soap nuts in my bathroom!

  78. Was wondering when camping & short of water whether clothes would have to be rinsed after using soap nuts if so little residue.
    Thanks for all your info.

  79. How do you deal with stains? (oil, juice, tomato sauce, etc.)

  80. wow. this is probably the grossest thing i have read. i am frugal, cheap, and happy to admit it. but YUCK~!
    Washed clothing not only lasts longer, but for heavens sake.. its the way we present our selves tot he world.
    yuck yuck yuck. my opinion got a little more annoyed after reading the “vaccine alternative” absolute bull crap ……. i feel sorry for your family. they must smell something fierce. YIKES

    • Kim, I am puzzled by your comment. You think that soap nuts are gross? I am not saying anything about now washing clothes. You put the soap nuts in the washer and wash the clothes with them. And may I ask what the “vaccine alternative bull” is? There is a ton of information about vaccines being harmful and I am certainly not being ignorant about how they can be of benefit.

      Temple Grandin, the most famous autistic in the world, says that no studies on vaccines and autism have been done correctly. I personally don’t think they are the entire cause of autism but that they are one issue involved.

      I wonder if you are perhaps not reading my posts correctly. And no–we don’t smell something fierce. I am happy to entertain critical comments, but I would appreciate diverging viewpoints being shared in a constructive manner–not with insults. Thank you in advance.

  81. Melissa Goodwin says:

    I am currently living and working in Honduras and soap nuts (Jaboncillo) grow wild here. I collect them and use them for laundry and several other household uses. We have a child rescue ranch (currently have 2 kids as we just opened 11/13). We are looking for ways to sell the soap nuts to raise funds to grow the work. Any help with contacts for importing soap nuts would be great.

  82. This might be a silly question..but my husband, well he is a smelly man. Socks are soo stinky! I have to wash them with ex everything! Will these get the smell out also?

    • Hmm…maybe not. Have you tried soaking in baking soda in water?

    • I would take his stinky sox and do what I do with my cloth diapers. Pre soak in a bucket of water with about 1/4 c of detergent, for at least a day. What I do with the diapers, is put them in the bucket when I take them off, they stay there till I am ready to wash, so for a few days. Good luck with the stinky sox.

  83. On the site it says no need for fabric softener can you use this with white vinegar? I use the vinegar to get the musty smell out of my towels and sometimes me kiddos’ stinky socks *Phewy*.

  84. Has anyone ever tried using these in High Efficiency Washers? I ask because I live in an apartment building and I have to either use their laundry room or the laundromat down the way.

    • I use mine in an HE top loader.

      • I am new to your site……just today!! :) I truly appreciate all the time and hard work you do to research what you write about. I want to try the soap nuts, they sound intriguing!! On another note, I really was taken back by the people who commented negatively!! I guess some people feel that they have to put others down to make themselves feel better??!!! This is your blog and you have the right to write what you want. These people who are being mean can just simply not read your blog instead of being insulting!! Anyway, let me get of my soapbox!! LOL!!

  85. Just a quick note. You all can also make a soap nut laundry detergent with the soap nuts (no more pre soaking the nuts. Simply take about 16 nuts and steep them in 4 cups of boiling water. You can add up to a cup of borax to this if you like, 1/4cup epsom salt or 1/2 cup vinegar (as a natural preserver), and if you like a fragrance you can add food grade dried lavendar (or some essential oil would probably work too). Once steeped for about 2 hours, then strain into what ever container you want to keep it in. Use about a 1/4 cup of liquid per full load.

    • Need to edit this slightly. Been a little while since I made it, but just pulled up my exact recipe.
      12 -15 whole soap nuts
      8 cups (2 quarts) water
      1 Tbsp salt (to preserve liquid)
      1/4 cup Borax or washing soda (optional)
      essential oil of your choice (optional) (I use the dried lavendar puds instead and have it with the boiling step, except that I steep rather than boil everything together).

      In a large pot, add the soap nuts and the water. Over medium high heat, let it boil for 30 minutes. When it has cooled a bit, add the salt and Borax or washing soda if using. Stir to dissolve. When it has cooled completely, add the essential oils. Store in a recycled laundry detergent bottle or glass mason jar.

      You can use only 2 Tablespoons per load, but I usually use a little more.

  86. Tammie Cooley says:

    Would a zippered mesh bag work as well as the muslim?

  87. We love Soap nuts and we also get them from Green Virgin Products. We do recommend that you used cut hosiery, put the prepared soap nuts in and knot each end. That way they don’t get out and works better, you can see them. My husband was reluctant to try them, but he loves them – especially since they are so economical. I have sensitive skin and regular detergents (including hair detergents) make my skin raw.

  88. Ann Paynter says:

    just have to say i love the soapnuts i get from naturoli!!

    i use them a bit different than most people as i hate dealing with the nut bag and i want to make sure any saponin residue is out of my clothes because of my extreme sensitivities. so, i grind up a big batch of nuts into chunks that range from about 1/4″ to dust in my ninja. i make about a quart of these chunks at a time. then i use 1T of the chunks per 12oz of water and boil it very gently (they tend to love to boil over). i always do a triple batch so that i end up with 1 quart of finished “tea.” so, 3T of chunks and 36oz of purified water, simmer for about 20-40 minutes and let cool to room temp. strain into a canning jar and store in the frig. i use 2-3T of the tea for all but the biggest, dirtiest loads of laundry in my large front loader. with my last batch of nuts on the sale i got them, my loads cost less than $.03 each. gotta love that. and with soapnuts, there is no need for dryer sheets or fabric softener.

    naturoli also makes a tea that is 18x the strength of what i make. each load only needs 1/2t of the Extreme. i use this product to make my spray and mop floor cleaner and all my counter top cleaner. that cleaner also works great in the shower.

  89. Wow, I need to investigate these! I don’t mind making my laundry soap because I do a no-grate, no-cook version that only takes a few minutes to throw together. But I like the easy factor of these even more :)

  90. this is interesting but I’m concerned about how clean it would get things. We use cloth diapers you see and even with specialty “baby”detergent I have to run them in a rinse cycle, than two wash cycles and a vinegar bath once a month. do you think it would stand up to ammonia build up?

    • I never used them for cloth b/c I have heard of many who do. I do think I had one complaint about them not cleaning well enough but another blogger told me she didn’t care for how the DIY detergent did her diapers either.

  91. Christine P says:

    I just want to know what the whole wheat bread recipe is.

    I have tried Soap Nuts in the past and really couldn’t tell any difference in my laundry. Couldn’t tell it was any softer or cleaner. Maybe because we wash in cold water and I didn’t heat the nuts up first.

    • Oh my – I have to dig it up – you could email me in awhile if I haven’t gotten back to you. You really really have to heat up the nuts first or they won’t work so I would try them again :)!

  92. These did not work for us for our cloth diapers. But, they work ok for our clothing. Just my experience.

  93. I like ur soap nuts as an alternative however I just came across this laundry all they were selling at the recent greenfest in Los Angeles this weekend., they claim one ball at a cost of $45.00 will handle over 300 loads. T What are your thoughts on this as a viable alternative to detergent

  94. I don’t know where your water heater is in relation to your washing machine, but mine is right next to it. There should be a valve on it so that you can pull straight not water from it. I keep a glass pyrex measuring cup by the washer and fill it with water from the water heater and let the soap nuts soak while I load the washer. Then I put the soap nuts in and pour the hot water into the washer. It takes less time than standing there waiting for water to heat or for the hot water to get to the faucet.

  95. Amber Shipley says:

    I know this post is old, but I found it on Pinterest and various links from your blog led me here. This sounds like a great idea, but I wonder about fabric softener. Not just for it’s intended purpose, but I’ve noticed that it’s where most of the scent in our laundry comes from. I was wondering about making my own using essential oils or something, because I really like the scent of our current brand of detergent and softener.

  96. Katrina Dorn says:

    I now use a liquid made from soapberries (am I allowed to say the brand name?) it’s $16 when on sale at Abe’s Market online and about 80 loads. So 20c./load – nuts make more sense, but I’m preparing for a life of sailing, and need everything as small and concentrated as it can be. Too bad I can’t concentrate vinegar :). I made DIY laundry detergent ONCE. Hated it. Similar ingredients to my MYO dishwasher soap, which I LOVE. BTW – saw your vinegar rinse aid post – I don’t think you even need the cup, I just splash some in. Thanks for sharing what you learn. I research so much and love when someone else has done the work for me and blogged it – I’m hesitant to take time away from parenting and researching in order to do something like this, and I really appreciate you doing it!

    • Thanks so much for your oh so kind words! I don’t mind your sharing the brand names – links get on my nerves depending on the purpose – if it’s folks trying to get links to their site, etc, then that’s not OK :).

      It is hard to balance the time – trying to make it work! My boys do help w/ it so that way they are learning too.

  97. I ran across your blog as i was researching essential oils. Thanks, by the way, for your research. As i was browsing other topics on your site, i came across this post. I had to stop and leave a comment. I grew up in India and remember my mother using soap nuts to shampoo our hair. The way she did this – the hulls were separated from the nuts (you can crack them open using a mortar and pestle and peel the hull off), soaked in hot water for a half hour and the juice was extracted by squeezing it out through her fingers. She used this in our hair like shampoo. If the juice got in our eyes, it stung, so I remember keeping my eyes shut tight. The juice also tastes bitter, but our hair was clean and shiny after, so worth it. I didn’t know I could find soap nuts here in the US, so thank you for posting!

  98. Christi says:

    You realize the reason he castile soap didn’t work well is because castile is olive oil soap with a cleansing propery of 0. Most people make laundry soap with coconut oil which has cleansing property of 67.

    • Could you please share where you got this information? I just searched a bunch on the internet and didn’t turn up anything. Thanks!

  99. Christi says:

    Sure! I make soap and every oil/fat will have it’s own properties it will bring to your soap. Olive oil while having 0 for cleansing property, offers very mild and conditioning elements to soap. Soapcalc.net can give you an explanation of properties of soaps and their calculator will give you the ranges for every oil/fat. I’m just sayin, don’t write off the homemade laundry soaps. Zote soap uses coconut oil, you can get it un-dyed, and has a light citronella scent for a suggestion, or better yet, try making your own-it’s kinda fun.

  100. Christi says:

    I want to clarify: ALL soap will be cleansing, but HOW cleansing will determine each soap’s properties. A gentle facial soap will not have the cleansing power you’d need to get stains out of clothes.