I am proud to say I haven’t bought washing powder or liquid for the last 5 years at least.

No, I am not some kind of filthy hippie-type, I do wash my clothes (alright, Hubby does most of the washing, but let’s not nit-pick…) but I use soap nuts. That’s right, nuts. Well, actually, the bit you use is the outer shell from the nut of a family of trees that grow in tropical regions, and that shell contains a natural form of soap that is released into the water when it reaches about 30 degrees.

The soap produced is perfectly biodegradable, environmentally friendly, non-allergenic, and free from all those nasty things you find in industrial washing powders. In fact, you can pour it straight out into your garden if you like, and it’ll even get rid of any greenflies you may have. If you’re feeling particularly hardcore, you can boil up the used nut shells and make liquid soap from them…

Now I must admit, although I agree with a lot of eco-stuff, I’m not one for going to excessive lengths to be “green”. If something makes sense, then I’ll go with it, not because it’s green, but because it makes sense. Turning off unused lights, disposing of rubbish in the right bins, that sort of thing. Soap nuts make so much sense that after all these years of using them, I’m still amazed that they haven’t become much more popular than they are.

Aside from their eco-friendliness, they are both incredibly easy to use and most importantly in these credit crunch times, they are really cheap. A 9€ bag lasts us just over a year. As for use, you just bung a small handful of nuts into a spare sock* or the little linen bag you usually get in the packet, shove them in the drum with the washing, and use them until they go squishy. And as they wash pretty odourlessly, you can pick your own essential oil an pop a few drops onto the sock/bag to give your washing the perfume you want.

So easy a man can do it…

The only tricky bit is finding them: you can order them online, there are plenty of sites out there, just google “soap pods” or “soap nuts”, I’ll let you pick, I haven’t used any of them so I can’t recommend honestly… We get ours from Oxfam Fairtrade in Dublin, next to the Stephen’s Green shopping centre, if you must know. Try health food shops, organic supermarkets, that kind of place…

Go on, give them a try. It makes sense!

*This is where socks go. The soap-nut consortium secret agents sneak into your home and steal them so you have something to put your nuts in. Maybe.


4 thoughts on “Soapbox

  1. yes but do they really really work in removing dirt from clothes?? I’m talking kids roll around the grass kinda dirt or pour tomato ketchup down your top kinda dirt?

    1. They do indeed, at least as well as usual washing products do. You can use them with the usual stain removers and softeners too if you should so desire…

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