Thursday, November 10, 2011

...Soap, Are You Nuts?

As I am an anti-chemical kind of girl (and I mean that in a made-in-a-factory chemical way, I do realize that chemicals are a natural bond of elements and water technically is a chemical, but you know what I mean). As such, if you haven't already noticed, I try to live without using factory-made chemicals, especially for household cleaning. Anything that has names like "Sun Fresh!" or "Lavender Fields" means "ew!" for me.

It can be a point of contention in our house, as my very patient partner grew up with his laundry neatly folded and placed in drawers; every time he'd pull out a new shirt it would smell like "Soft Linen" or something like that. He's come to associate these kinds of smells with "being clean".

But if something is clean, I argue, it wouldn't smell like anything. It would be sterile, no scent. Definitely a far cry from that bouncing bear on a stack of towels selling his "Rainforest"-scented  detergent on TV (whose products, like most, contain scents that are chemically engineered and according to studies, contain toxic materials and potential carcinogens).

Anyway, clean doesn't have a smell.

Now, to the reason I'm posting. Nuts!

Soap nuts!
Soap nuts, that is.  They're actually a fruit, but they're called nuts. The outer shell of the fruit called the soapnut contains saponin, a natural substance known for its ability to cleanse and wash. Soap nuts certainly are not new on the market; they have been used to clean all kinds of fabric for centuries, before big-name brands started pushing their scented ideas of clean on us.

Do they work? In short, yes. Though to be honest with the powerful washing machines that are commonplace in households today, we probably don't need any soap at all - hot water does magical things. But I do use soap nuts on my clothes for everyday kinds of washings, and unless something is stained it works great! For stains I use baking soda and liquid soap as a pre-wash. Combined with white vinegar as a fabric softener, my clothes come out smelling like... nothing. Just the way it should be - and for a fraction of the cost!

  • They are simply a dried fruit -- 100% totally natural AND compostable!
  • They are organically grown and are free of harsh chemicals, so they are incredibly gentle. (This makes them especially great for those with sensitive skin — including babies and those that suffer from allergies, eczema, and psoriasis).
  • They’re totally biodegradeable, so they’re better for the environment than regular detergent.
  • They’re antimicrobial, so they’re even good for septic and greywater systems.
  • They are low-sudsing -- exactly what you need for HE (or high-efficiency) washers.
Thanks for the list LaundryTree

Soap Nuts!
 You can find soap nuts in natural food stores or online. Give them a try!

Happy washing!

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