So, one area a lot of parents in our community address when they are on the going green path is household cleaners, and specifically laundry detergent. Especially if they cloth diaper. We have been warned about certain ingredients for many years when it comes to our detergents. These days, there are a ton of more natural detergents on the market. Some work alright, some don’t, and some are just a not-so-green lie.
One option that works well for some families is a sapponin rich Himalayan berry referred to as soap nuts. These berries are harvested and dried to produce little nut like dried fruits you can use to wash your clothes. That’s right. These berries have a high sapponin content which provides a cleaning effect when you add a handful to your laundry load. Soap making includes the sapponification process, so using these soap nuts just skips a few steps.
Green Virgin Products is a company that has made using soap nuts even easier by creating liquid soap nut extract. Instead of putting actual dried berries in your washing machine and having to keep track of them, you can use a few squirts of liquid and enjoy the same green cleaning benefits. This can be helpful, especially in machines with shorter wash cycles that may not offer enough time for the nuts to release the sapponins effectively. Also the extraction process they use reduces the amount of tannins naturally occurring in the soap nuts. Tannins are what causes that dry feeling in your mouth after a sip of certain wines or teas. They are not bad at all, but can be more harsh on your fabrics over time.
To use Soap Nuts Liquid Detergent, just add the appropriate amount to your laundry load like any other detergent. Green Virgin suggests two pumps in an HE machine and at least three in a full water top loader. If you have hard water, I suggest more. Normally, I cannot think of any detergents that are ideal in a front loading HE machine, but a soap nut liquid is actually pretty close. It rinses clean, creates no suds, and won’t stain even if you use too much. I think Soap Nuts Liquid Detergent may even work better in an HE machine than a top loader, especially with cloth diapers.
With a truly gross laundry load, like smelly athletic wear or greasy garage clothes, I recommend a more powerful detergent. However, with a regular load, Soap Nuts Liquid works just fine. Whether it works for your cloth diapers depends on your wash routine, washing machine, water mineral content, and preference. I find that with a good pre-rinse and no buildup, Soap Nuts Liquid Detergent works fine as long as the diaper load was not too funky. I like this style of detergent for newborn diapers, but toddler diapers can require something stronger. If you hand wash a lot of things, Soap Nuts Liquid Detergent can be ideal. It is great on delicate fabrics and won’t irritate your skin. Like with many greener detergents, I say give it a try and see if it works for you.
Green Virgin Soap Nuts Liquid Detergent 120 HE loads is currently priced for $18.95 or 240 HE loads for $34.85, so it is not a bad deal if it works for you.
You can also find other soap nut products at Green Virgin.
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*I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.